AUSA stands firm in the belief that an effective landpower force is an essential part of a balanced and complementary set of military capabilities necessary to guarantee the national security interests of the United States. The Army is not standing still in the midst of rapid changes in the security environment and military technology. As always, the Army must transform to meet today’s challenges while simultaneously preparing for the future.
The four issues highlighted here represent some of the Army’s most critical efforts to adapt itself to the 21st century security environment, where it will operate as a member of the joint warfighting team. These diverse efforts are all focused on one goal: meeting challenges to America’s security at home and abroad. More effective Special Operations, manned and unmanned aviation systems, missile defense and theater transport capabilities will provide the nation a wider range of options to meet both today’s threats and those in the years ahead.
- Forward presence and "boots on the ground" still count. U.S. Army Special Operations troops are fighting on the forefront of the war on terrorism. Before a conflict, their work with regional forces improves wartime coordination through their efforts to build relationships with key allies in strategic locations. During a conflict, their small unit size, low profile and stealthy techniques allow them to gain access to remote and hostile areas where U.S. interests are at risk. Army Special Operations forces and aviation assets are playing a critical role in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The U.S. Army provides more than 60 percent of the total Special Operations force.
- Despite the rapid advances in unmanned platforms, a mix of manned and unmanned aviation platforms will create a more capable and flexible combat network than is provided by UAVs alone. Keeping a man in the loop will ensure that the Army gets the most out of all of its aviation platforms. Manned aviation provides the critical decisionmaking component for battlefield dominance.
- The proliferation of missile and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technology demands an aggressive effort to meet this threat. The U.S. Army’s ground-based midcourse missile defense program is a critical part of a comprehensive homeland defense system. The next step on this path is development of the "Block 04" testing infrastructure that will allow for challenging and realistic evaluation of this vital part of the missile defense system of the next decade.
- The Theater Support Vessel will be a critical capability for the future Army. Its combination of speed, capacity and shallow draft will allow the Army to deploy and sustain combat forces in a much more flexible manner than is possible today in many regions of the world. The TSV’s ability to rapidly transport combat-ready troops and equipment to a wide range of austere locations will make it a highly valuable asset to theater commanders.
Key Issues Relevant to The U.S. Army's Strategic Imperatives - Volume II
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