Facing Uncertainty: The Role of the M1 Abrams Tank in the U.S. Army of 2015-2025
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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The future of the M1 Abrams tank is uncertain. With current fiscal constraints and the requirement for expeditionary maneuver, the U.S. Army is under pressure to demonstrate the need for its main battle tank. The purpose of this thesis is to inform the future role of the M1 Abrams tank by analyzing hybrid threat trends, understanding U.S. Army force structure challenges, and determining the relevancy of combined arms maneuver in the future operating environment. The thesis analyzes the Israeli Defense Force and its employment of the Merkava tank during Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge to develop insights and lessons learned. Drawing from these lessons, the thesis argues that the capabilities of the main battle tank are more critical and relevant in a hybrid environment than was seen in the past thirteen years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The thesis concludes that the role of the M1 Abrams tank in the U.S. Army of 2015-2025 is to provide a mobile and survivable precision firepower platform to execute effective combined arms operations against a sophisticated hybrid threat with anti-tank guided missile capabilities in order to seize and hold terrain, mass discretionary fires, and destroy the enemy threat.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Combat Vehicles