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Stryker Brigades Doubled in QDR

January 29, 2010
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The number of Stryker combat vehicles get a boost, according to the recent Draft Report of the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Here’s Greg Grant at Military.com:

The draft QDR calls for nearly doubling the number of Stryker brigades while trimming the number of heavy brigade combat teams. The Army currently has seven Stryker BCTs, six active and one reserve. The draft QDR calls for up to 13 Stryker BCTs.

Commanders lauded their performance in Iraq where the eight wheeled vehicle’s mobility and smooth ride were a big plus. In Afghanistan, however, the 5th SBCT, the first Stryker brigade to see combat there, has suffered heavy losses to IEDs, the Taliban insurgent’s force multiplier.

Grant also mentioned Robert Scales criticism of the Stryker in a recent article, but failed to give a counter-view, as from Sean D. Naylor writing in the Army Times:

When 1-17 got to the Arghandab, the insurgents were lying in wait in the green zone, armed with homemade bombs similar to those that have killed thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This came as a shock to 1-17 commander Lt. Col. Jonathan Neumann, who hadn’t anticipated being drawn into a fight in such constrictive terrain, where the troops learned quickly that they needed to dismount from their Strykers and patrol on foot.

“What we didn’t understand is really where the enemy was making his push against Kandahar city,” he said. “We did expect more of an open desert fight.”

The IEDs also came as a huge surprise to Neumann and most of his soldiers, who said they’d been told to expect that the major threat would come from direct fire. This, despite the fact that during the first six months of 2009, as the brigade was training up, more than twice as many U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan died from IED strikes than were killed in gunfights.

As the casualties from IEDs began to rise, so did the troops’ anger with what they viewed as their leaders’ failure to prepare them for the threat.

Naturally, you see vehicles blowing up you think there must be something wrong with the vehicle. But as Naylor’s more in depth reporting proves, there’s more to the story. The right training is very important in COIN warfare. Get it wrong and you are lost. The Army’s bold move to double the number of wheeled brigades tells me they still have confidence in the Stryker.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael permalink
    January 30, 2010 5:00 am

    Tango six,
    So what would you then suggest,bearing in mind the current recce vehicles need replacing.
    If the updated version of the CV 9035 is unfit for purpose in your opinion,then a lot of European country’s seem to be making the same mistake as the U.K..
    So are all these military and defence procurement people inept as well.

  2. January 29, 2010 6:40 pm

    Then you’re not aware of how well that vehicle is performing in Afghanistan. The CV90 is not only a competitor for the UK contract but is being looked at by the Canadians as a Close Combat Vehicle.

    Its a winner because unlike the Stryker it mobile across the terrain in that country, has formidable firepower and is capable of even carry a dismount section. In other words its everything the Stryker isn’t.

  3. January 29, 2010 6:32 pm

    Hello,

    if anything deserves to get axed in the next British defence review it is the F.R.E.S. Scout/CV90.
    That procurement is strategically,tactically,doctrinally,politically and economically and unsound.
    For the sake of the army I sincerely hope this is never ordered.

    Buying a twenty yearold flat bottomed vehicle with hull penetrating torsion bar suspension shows that the British army has learnt nothing at all from the last nine years of combat operations.
    Buying a bespoke to role reconnaissance vehicle in small quantities demonstrates that they are intent on yet again making the same procurement mistakes the British forces have been making for decades.

    tangosix.

  4. January 29, 2010 5:52 pm

    So true Michael…and a great point. In that UK contest I’m a big fan of the CV90…

  5. Michael permalink
    January 29, 2010 5:50 pm

    Even the poor old bancrupt U.K. has put the wheeled version of FRES on the back burner and has made a priority of acquiring the tracked version first.
    More expensive but also more effective for the wars we are now fighting, isn’t that the normal theme.
    A decision on which of two vehicles can be expected before May and contracts signed.

  6. January 29, 2010 5:49 pm

    oh and Mike, please erase this message and consider changing back the discussion format…its un-natural.

  7. January 29, 2010 5:48 pm

    The point about IED’s is that while the Stryker is ok, it doesn’t have the necessary protection to defeat them.

    Ever wonder why we needed to develop a M-ATV? It would have been to the Army’s benefit to simply deploy Stryker Brigades to Afghanistan if it had the inherent mobility and protection to get the job done. It doesn’t and the one unit that has been deployed there got savaged.

    No fight here, its just that the Stryker is being morphed into something it was never intended to be…the next gen Army ground combat vehicle (remember it was labeled as ‘interim’). It doesn’t meet standards…that’s my point.

  8. Chuck Hill permalink
    January 29, 2010 4:31 pm

    Last I heard they had IEDs in Iraq too. Not to expect IEDs, you would had to have your head in the sand (or somewhere else) for a very long time.

  9. January 29, 2010 4:01 pm

    I totally disagree with your assessment on two fronts. First the rebuttal was in the context of describing leadership failings. Those guys were getting plastered and the leadership did not respond adequately. There being rerouted to Afghanistan from Iraq had nothing to do with it. Second, like Scales stated the Stryker is just not cut out for anything except flat terrain. Every one of our allies has re-learned the lesson of a wheeled force. It just doesn’t work.

    Lastly this is evidence to me that the QDR wasn’t a serious document. Even if they had killed the EFV (which I am a proponent of) it would have shown a seriousness that this lacks.

    The Stryker concept was and is an idea that real life doesn’t support. Styker brigades might do well a maintaining order in a reasonably maintained population center but it doesn’t stand up to warfare in remote areas. If it did then you’d see more Stryker brigades in Afghanistan.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 29, 2010 3:47 pm

    Wilber, that is correct:

    “The battalion had spent much of the previous two years training for combat, but preparing for the wrong theater — until February, when it got orders for Afghanistan, 1-17 was scheduled to deploy to Iraq.”

  11. wilber permalink
    January 29, 2010 1:41 pm

    this being the brigade that was trained for iraq and shifted to afghanistan correct?

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