M109A6 "Paladin" self-propelled howitzer.
The Hongkong Asia Times Online website published an article entitled "the United States Army is trying to adapt to war digitization" in June 11th, saying that the change in war digitization is amazing for the United States Army. In view of its self-evident relationship with the dominant position in the land war, it must effectively make use of the socio political factors that are difficult to understand by other operations command. In view of the increased participation of digital media, the challenge remains essentially difficult. The task of the army is to maintain the balance of power on the ground while integrating different fields.
The article holds that the opportunity created by Trump's election has brought the army the funds to modernize reform, but it can not help the army only by means of funds. It is heading for another wrong start in a dangerous security environment. Army Secretary Mark Espe revealed that the army plans to optimize its combat readiness by 2022, when it intends to incorporate the new generation of combat systems into its own system. This is doomed to fail, for the following reasons:
The article points out that the problem is very serious: by 2022, large-scale defense construction will end, and the new funds used in the defense combat system will no longer exist as a priority of the Congress. Financially, defence spending will stabilize after 2018, and trillions of dollars will continue to eat into the federal budget. The global cross border capital inflows will continue to increase the value of the dollar, making the payment of debt higher and further worsening the shortage of government subsidies and social security funds. This means that the modernization plan of the army will not become a reality in the near future, and that the enemy of the United States will not be as restrictive as the US Army will be in the future.
The article said that the past military construction plan rarely lasted more than 5 years, however, the army's new procurement platform's timetable needs a longer time range. The effort to reinvigorate the army seems to be restarting its path of failure.
How can this be solved? This means buying new equipment when the opportunity is still there and buying it quickly. It also means that the army leadership must admit a simple cruel fact: none of the 10 new weapons programs of the The Pentagon came from the army. The air force is working on new intercontinental ballistic missiles, new tankers, bombers and fighter planes, while the army can only upgrade the existing combat system.
The article believes that the leadership of the army admits there is a lack of capability in artillery, rotorcraft, air defense and future combat vehicles. The solution is to speed up the procurement of new operational systems, because the failure of modernization in the past indicates that the basic operational methods of the army have not changed. To put it plainly, all that the army needs is a gradual approach to the new platform. It is easy to accept and admit, but it is difficult to implement.
The army should continue to improve its "Paladin" type of self-propelled grenade in order to continue its dominance in close range fighting, while deploying more powerful precision strike forces and improving its existing air defense capabilities, the article said. This means that the "Army Tactical Missile System" (ATACMS) will be put into the battlefield immediately. This will affect the gradual innovation method seen in the development and deployment of the patriot and Sade system. All of the above two platforms have operational capability. What is needed now is recognition of the gradual progress made by the progressive approach. This means abandoning the over complicated effort in developing and deploying traditional platforms. Mobility, speed and adaptability are important for ground troops.
The article points out that the army leadership must choose between the "Apache", the "Black Hawk" or the new reconnaissance helicopters that replace "the base" of the rotorcraft. The biggest shortfall of the army in this respect is still the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, but it can fill this gap by communicating with the Marine Corps. It does not need to repeat the failed "joint multipurpose helicopter" (JMR) or the larger plan such as the "future vertical takeoff and landing aircraft" (FVL).
As for armored vehicles, the army cannot overcome the technical constraints imposed by trade-offs between defensive, maneuverability and firepower, the article said. In the absence of major breakthroughs, the US Army needs to adjust the existing platform for the innovation of "Abrams" main battle tanks and "Bradley" infantry chariots.
What does the army do in a limited period of time? It needs to be prioritized. This means continuing to develop ultra high speed projectiles and automatic driving vehicles while implementing the transformation of communication networks. If the grass-roots officers and men need to adapt to the battlefield, the leadership should also adapt. Defense construction is a gift, but it will not last. Modernization means winning the victory on the basis of existing conditions, and constantly innovating itself.
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