ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
In 2003 the Army began converting to a modular force initiating the most far reaching transformation of the Armys operational forces since World War II. Modularity established the Brigade Combat Team structure that included a cavalry squadron. This marked the first time that an organic reconnaissance element existed at the brigade echelon. The modularization of the Army began simultaneously as the insurgency in Iraq rose in the aftermath of the US invasion in early 2003. Operation Iraqi Freedom was to be the proving ground for the Brigade Combat Team and the new cavalry force. This thesis is a study on the employment of brigade cavalry squadrons during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The study utilizes 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment as a case study to highlight the evolution of the role of cavalry through the squadrons role as a division cavalry squadron during Operation Desert Storm through three different campaigns during Operation Iraqi Freedom as both a division cavalry squadron and brigade cavalry squadron. Utilizing cavalry doctrine, an analysis of the modularity process, and the operations conducted in Iraq this thesis will show the shift in the role of cavalry from a reconnaissance and security force to a reconnaissance force. Analyzing the employment of brigade cavalry during Operation Iraqi Freedom contributes to the history of the cavalry and identifies lessons learned for the doctrine, organization, and use of brigade cavalry in the future.