Leadership: Warfare Will Never Be The Same

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June 1, 2007: Two years before September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army began a massive reorganization. The war on terror didn't slow down this series of reforms and transformations. The army is still in the process of forming new combat brigades, and reorganizing combat support forces to make all this work. One of the major changes is a consolidation of MOS's (Military Occupational Specialties), with 200 of these job categories being turned into 150. Most of the MOS consolidation is in the technical fields, which is where most of the proliferation has occurred over the past few decades.

The army reorganization is increasing the number of combat brigades from 33 to 43, without increasing the size of the army. To do this, some 40,000 troops were transferred from support jobs, to combat brigades. On top of all this, Congress wants the army to increase its size by about ten percent. That will mean another four or five combat brigades.

The reforms, planned in the late 1990s, have themselves been reformed by the knowledge gained, in the last few years, during combat operations. The goals are still to do more with the same number of troops, a transformation that has also been going on in the civilian world. But the army usually has to estimate what impact reforms will have on combat performance. However, there's a lot less uncertainty with the current round of reforms, because there is a war going on, to show what works, and what doesn't. This is a confluence of rapid technical change and wartime urgency. The last time this happened was during World War II, a period of rapid development of new technologies, particularly in aircraft and electronics. This produced new weapons types (electronic warfare, jet fighters, nuclear weapons) that are still standard gear. The current transformation is introducing personal electronics for troops, robots and "smart" weapons. Warfare will never be the same because of what is happening here.

 


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