Defense News, 31. October 2005

Quick Response

Your article "U.S. Army Drops C-130 Requirement for FCS" (Defense News, Sept. 26, 2005) concludes that such a decision could weaken future U.S. capabilities to project potent military force anywhere in the world within 96 hours. This objective is one of the lessons from the Balkans and Kuwait.

The article also mentions that no present technology seems to allow lighter vehicles to survive roadside bombs as we know them from Iraq. Focusing on the asymmetric, post-conflict situation in Iraq, there are good reasons for demanding heavily armed and armored vehicles.

But is it not a point that this scenario is not the only one?

Wouldn't the future world be a safer place if the U.S. Army had the ability to project brigade-size formations that could act swiftly during crises and secure if not nations, then borders (the Balkans 1991, Kosovo 1999), capitals (Afghanistan after 9/11, Liberia 2004), and weapons of mass destruction-sites in future failing states (Pakistan? Iran? Libya?) - as well as stop genocide (Rwanda 1994) or function as a potent trip-wire for a potential later deployment of more heavy forces (Kuwait 1991)?

If Stryker brigades and their future equivalents, including EU-led battle groups, supported by state-of-the-art technology from the air, are not an option, how will the world be able to respond to such crises? Apart from the theoretical large-scale wars, future wars are likely to be small and decided on the ability to quickly contain the core problem.

Could it not be that a continued focus on a light but fast response, including a posture based more on the actual situation in areas of operation and less on force protection, in itself minimizes the need for a heavy response?

Maj. Nicolas Teodors Veicherts
Dept. of Conflict & Security Studies, Danish Institute for International Studies,

Strandgade, Copenhagen