Stryker Brigades Doubled in QDR
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.
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.