Thursday, November 10, 2011

Army, ADA, and AirSea Battle

Galrahn has been discussing AirSea Battle for quite awhile, specifically focusing on the absence of any Army contribution to the overall public discussion.  It is quite sad that the Army has not publicly engaged on the AirSea discussion.  Only this month has the AUSA come out with a rebuttal to the Navy and Air Force's public discussions.

One big reason Big Army is not contributing to this AirSea concept is because of internal Army politics. Specifically the decline of Air Defense Artillery. It is quite paradoxical that, while Ballistic Missile Defense has taken on greater strategic significance, Army itself is institutionally moving away from ADA in general.

ADA is composed of two components, HIMAD and SHORAD. For much of the 90s, the active officer corps was split 50/50: 10 Battalion of HIMAD and 10 Battalion of SHORAD. Right after OIF1, though, Big Army saw that there was no low-altitude threat at all, so it moved decisively to eliminate the SHORAD formation. I think right now there's only 10 Stinger/Avenger batteries providing a residual capability, which is a 75% cut.

You'd probably say it's long overdue, but the key is that the loss of 30%+ of total ADA corps means that many fewer O4s and O5s writing papers to Parameters and other professional journals. Sure, we have several ADA generals at the Pentagon, including the current G-8, but where do you think the generals' talking points come from? It's those O4s and O5s.

The BMD mission has slightly increased the HIMAD side of the house, but it did not make a dent against the SHORAD loss. The unit manning the GMD missile field is a Guard unit (Colorado/Alaska Guard), whose officers do not worry about professional journals. Ambitious officers transfer to other hot fields to make their stars.

ADA probably will never attain the reverence of the Soviet PVO branch, but its preoccupation with self-preservation means that Big Army has little brainpower thinking about AirSea. Horror upon horrors, but sometimes I wonder if we should have folded ADA into the USAF like the Europeans have...