Army Advice

By Kate Brannen / September 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

While the Army briefs the Pentagon and Congress on its new modernization plans (now that FCS is no more), defense analysts around town are offering their advice on how the Army should prepare for the future.

Last month, Center for American Progress' Lawrence Korb and retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Yakovac discussed Army modernization at a Center for National Policy event. And CSBA's Todd Harrison gave a presentation on the funding challenges the Army faces.

Now, in a new paper, the Heritage Foundation's Mackenzie Eaglen chimes in.

She employs the buzzwords of the day: full spectrum and hybrid threats. She writes that for the Army to maintain "full-spectrum capabilities in an operating environment of hybrid threats," it will need to develop more dual-use and multirole platforms. The future force will likely consist of legacy and modern vehicles and equipment operating together, she writes, advising Army leaders to keep this in mind as they plan for the future.

Eaglen advises the Army to better articulate to Congress the future scenarios where medium-weight combat vehicles will prevail. She says this will also help "identify the specific capabilities needed for the revamped Army manned ground vehicle program."

She offers two possible future scenarios -- both Army interventions to prevent the invasion of a country. She describes the Army intervening in a Caucasus country and an intervention to stop a tank invasion in the Andean region of South America, describing both as potential hybrid conflicts.

"Many other contingencies are certainly possible, although the central question is to answer where Army modernization meets operational requirements in the Pentagon's concept of operations," writes Eaglen.

In her vision of hybrid conflict, "Army leaders should continue investing in land stealth, sophisticated active defense systems, an electro-optical countermeasures system and a fire-control system with a radar and laser range finder."

And, Eaglen writes, "many of the Future Combat Systems' elements should be preserved if not further refined first. "