That Stryker article surfaces again

High-tech Stryker brigades fighting the old way, on foot

The Knight Ridder article mentioned previously here and here surfaced again in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Here are the three titles used:

  • Army’s most modern high-tech forces discover hard lesson
  • U.S. plan in Mosul adjusts to violence
  • High-tech Stryker brigades fighting the old way, on foot [the latest]

    I found this via Reason Express, which has an entry entitled Boots Are Made for Marching that includes:

    Not that anyone outside the pay of the Bush administration doubts it, but from Mosul comes the most clearly articulated case yet for more troops for Iraq. There, 5,000 U.S. troops are trying to do the job once done by 20,000 and are struggling to keep a lid on the insurgency in the city.

    More telling still is that the Mosul garrison is composed of the Stryker brigade, the one of the Pentagon’s newly transformed units named for the swift armored car the unit deploys.

    and ends with

    The catch, of course, is that the U.S. does not have any more boots to send to Mosul, a fact the men of the Stryker brigade there are all too aware of.

    Since anyone who read the article they link knows that an additional 7,000 Army troops are already there, I utilized their feedback link to submit the following:

    This is incorrect. In fact, that Knight Ridder article you link to notes that the Army has been sending more troops to Mosul recently and now has 7,000 non-Stryker soldiers in the city.

    As Fallujah was cleared, violence in Mosul picked up. It was perpetrated largely by insurgents unlike those previously encountered in Mosul. This indicates that at least some of the recent increase is due to displaced fighters from other areas moving into more lightly-held areas, not because the Army too few troops were present in a tougher region.

    Yes, more boots were needed. And they were sent. Don’t make it sound like the overstretched Army has left the Stryker brigade out to dry.

    For the reasoning behind what I say, see the two previous posts on this article.



  1. The ‘stryker brigades’ are mechanized INFANTRY. They’re supposed to fight OUTside of their vehicles. They are NOT the only forces in Mosul, and where would you suggest we garrison the rest of the troops we’re supposed to reinforce Mosul with? There’s enough troops in Mosul right now, it’s more a matter of finding and pinning the enemy so that you can destroy them. Cowards are always good at hiding, and they’re always good at attacking you when your back is turned. There is no way to make a strongpoint so well defended that it cannot be attacked. There is always a way, and it’s usually found. These soldiers are doing a tough job, but they’ve got all of ‘big green’ behind them. There’s enough boots on the ground, but we need to look to the future and realize that the army and marine corps need to be expanded. The readiness standard of the army is to be able to fight two wars at once. In my opinion we haven’t met that standard since 1994. Politicians have cut too deeply to provide a balanced budget to make themselves look good. Now we have to pay for it with the lives of our soldiers. If we have debt problems, let’s call in our markers. France owes us how many trillion? Let’s see, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the list goes on. I say we level the playing field. We spend how much each year on protecting S. Korea, let’s start charging them. They can pay for the forces to protect their own country. I think the ROKs can probably take care of themselves just fine, as long as they don’t get overwhelmed by enemy numbers. They’re training is top notch, and so is their equipment. Well, there’s my rant. Go to work.

  2. Actually, Chad, I’m a little miffed. I meant to include the fact that the Stryker brigades are DESIGNED to fight ‘the old way, on foot’ as you point out. Dang it. I would send a follow-up to that website, but they won’t respond to the first note, so what’s the point? As for expanding the number of combat troops in the military, I agree that we need more. The previous post notes that there is a request in the budget proposal for three additional combat brigades in the Army. It’s a start. If it goes through. Expect to hear a lot of ‘draft!’ rhetoric, though. Thanks for pointing out what I missed.

  3. Actually, Murdoc, the 3 ‘extra’ brigades is a re-organization of current troop formations. I don’t understand why, but everybody thinks it means more troops, when it just means smaller, more easily deployed, troop formations. Basically, the theory is this, instead of divisions (8 full-time, plus guard and reserves) we’ll break it into brigades (33, which sounds much better than 8) It’s not more full-time troops, it’s just making smaller, handier units. We need roughly 50-80 of these brigades, not just a re-organization with the same troop levels.

  4. Chad: You’re right. I misunderstood the article I read. It was one in my post where I lost all my commentary (in this case maybe that’s just as well, though): At first, I took the article to mean that in addition to three ‘additional’ brigades due to the reorganization (going from 33 to 36), three more totally NEW brigades were asked for (going to 39). But upon re-reading the article I see (though it’s not as clear as I think it should be) that it’s just asking for three more ‘additional’ brigades in the reorganization plan. This is good, but not all that’s needed. I was all hopeful that they were trying to quietly get that through, and a little miffed that the media wasn’t reporting it since they seemed to love John Kerry’s calls to increase the size of the military despite his claim that he wouldn’t use them for anything. (I also was fine with the media ignoring it, since they’d use headlines DRAFT??? and JUST LIKE WHAT HITLER DID.) Now I see that they’re just moving along with the reorg plan, which will turn the 33 brigades into 44. I thought this was going to get us to 47, and if we did two or three new brigades a year for a few years, we’d reach the levels that seem necessary to me (55ish or so, plus additional Marines and beefed up MP and Civil Affairs units. More regular Army–60+ brigades–if the Reserves and NG have the recruiting and retainment problems I think they’re going to over the next few years). To be totally clear, I’m all for the reorg plan. While I don’t want to totally abandon our capability to fight a mechanized, modern foe (China, for instance), we simply don’t need so many artillery, AT, and AA units. There’s a lot of ‘fat’, and rather than trimming it let’s give them rifles. If we’re going to be heavy on support-types (which is fine with me) let’s at least put them directly with the deployable units instead of accumulating them under a divisional umbrella. This is a good thing all around as far as I can tell from my desk, but we need MORE TROOPS in addition to straightening up the organization we already have. Everything I read indicates that regular Army recruiting has no issues whatsoever, and retention is fine. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for straightening me out.

  5. Murdoc: I’ve got the insider’s viewpoint, so it’s usually pretty easy to pick this stuff out. Most of the ‘support units’ in Iraq have been doing ‘force protection’ duty anyway, either in convoys, or around the bases they live on. We need to hold up the theory of ‘all soldiers are a rifleman/woman first, and their specialty second’ or we are going to have problems. That means a huge change in the training of our ‘support units’ (which is already underway in the NG and Reserves). We also need better equipment for all branches of the service. I mean individual equipment, not billion dollar airplanes. Yeah, we need a few of them too, but I’ve got to say I can’t see the need for 300 in the next ten years. Let’s cut the fat, enlarge the arms that will do most of the fighting in a war on terrorism, keep our ‘battlefield’ capabilities, and get the airborne the planes and vehicles it needs to be able to take the fight anywhere in the world in 24 hours. I still say we need an anti-tank/fighting vehicle for the airborne with the gun from the A-10 in the turret. ;)