Thursday, September 16, 2010

Modularity decreased reconnaissance forces? Uh, no.

This week, Spencer has been covering Unified Quest at Danger Room. It seems that one of the participants, who is a field-grade officer, lamented that modularity left brigade combat teams with too few reconnaissance forces. Well I'm flummoxed.

Modularity increased reconnaissance forces at the brigade level threefold. And that's for all three types of brigade combat teams. Prior to modularity, a brigade owned one Brigade Reconnaissance Troop. One. Now a Brigade Combat Team has a Reconnaissance Squadron. A squadron has three cavalry troops. So now they have three organic troops when they used to have one. I do not understand how a field grade could think that modularity went "too far" or that cavalry assets were lost in the process when the opposite is the reality.

The only way in which modularity went too far with regard to cavalry was getting rid of the Division Cavalry Squadron, which was the most robust organization ever to dominate a battlefield. But that aside, since we are talking about brigades and not divisions here, do any of you feel that modularity screwed brigades out of reconnaissance assets in some way that I'm not seeing? Or is Spencer's source incorrect?


  1. Well, how often in OIF/OEF have RSTA squadrons actually performed a RSTA role like some division cav squadrons did in the early years of OIF, and how often have they just been used as small infantry battalions because BCTs didn't have a third one?

    And (I'm asking, I have no idea) is a RSTA squadron as good at RSTA tasks as an old BRT was?

  2. I last served in OIF with a cav squadron in 2005 and I would say just as well as the old BRTs. We did plenty of security and reconnaissance missions (by security I mean the cav definition). But yes, they are often used as another Combined Arms Battalion. And no, there aren't many people left in the Army who know how to execute a moving flank guard. In spite of that, I think most of the skills are there still.

  3. There's a general decline of scouting in favour of mere surveillance.

    Anyone who thinks reconnaissance = scouting (or = cavalry) will inevitable see a decline of recce in many Western armies, including the U.S. Army.

  4. I'd suggest that any ground commander in Iraq/A'stan (MOS non-specific) should probably spend 60-70% of his time on reconnaissance. Most of one's efforts are focused towards trying to get past the intelligence/information gap.

    As to modularity, Gunslinger's right IMO. I thought that my scouts were much better trained in recon AFTER our deployment than before. They had the opportunity to employ the skills learned in Ranger, RSLC, NTC, JRTC, etc in actual combat and different terrains and environments.