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Fighting blind: why US Army Divisions Need a Dedicated Reconnaissance and Security Force

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Technical Report

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Since the Army reorganized into modular Brigade Combat Teams, US Army divisions have not had a dedicated reconnaissance and security force. This study answers the questions do US Army divisions need a dedicated reconnaissance and security force and if so how should it be organized, equipped, and trained This study uses history, trends in warfare, and current US Army doctrine to answer the research questions. This monograph finds that divisions need a dedicated division cavalry squadron. Left without a dedicated reconnaissance and security force divisions in World War I, such as 1st Division created scout detachments and requested observation airplanes to aid in reconnaissance and security tasks. For the rest of the 20th century the US Army experimented with the right organization, equipment and training for reconnaissance and security but every division had a dedicated reconnaissance and security force. By the 2003 invasion of Iraq, 3d Infantry Division employed a division cavalry squadron that integrated ground and air capabilities to great effect. Trends in warfare and technology show reconnaissance and security tasks will remain essential as the enemy attempts to remain hidden from US strengths in firepower. Recent combat in Ukraine highlight the lethality of the modern battlefield. The enemy of the future will continue to disperse across the battlefield and will use complex terrain such as megacities to conceal its location and preserve its combat power. Current US Army doctrine describes the need for reconnaissance and security forces in the deep area to shape the division close fight. This study recommends that the Army should organize, equip, and train a dedicated reconnaissance and security force based on the tasks zone reconnaissance, reconnaissance in force and guard.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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