Article: The US Army is preparing to fight in Europe, but can it even get there?

ThunderHorse

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We talk about a conventional fight in Europe. I'm unsure our allies have what it takes to ship heavy equipment overseas in their SeaLift fleets. What we do have are thousands of ships that can be brought into service to do heavy lift. Doctrinally speaking I think we've screwed up a bit by moving Armored brigades around by plane to forward stocks as we've downsized our overall component numbers and European force. We've started to forward supply more Armored vehicles in Germany for the rotational brigade. But that's a brigade, when we used to have an entire Corps (+) stationed in Germany alone.

Will it be a good allied fight? The state of the German Army is as such that their readiness has them on the back foot right now. Luftwaffe can't keep planes in the Air...so Russia is coming to France baby, and although the French train a decent amount their Army has been downsized to under 100k active.

Granted the Russian Army's size is nowhere near what it was, I just think their readiness is far greater than our allies on the edges of Eastern Europe.
 

CQB

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Is there any mention of a traffic jam of civvi vehicles heading west to escape conflict, hindering troop movements heading east? An old as the hills argument; look at the Third Prussian Corps at Waterloo, it can be done but WTF.
 

DA SWO

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The ANC is historically a communist entity. They're in bed with China (the strategic Beijing Agreement) and have denounced opposition as US-led imperialism. And, IMV, corrupt as hell. What could possibly go wrong? I suspect there is much discontent brewing down there.

What would the US do in a blow-up? Hard to say. Socialists or communists or not, any significant support of anti-ANC factions would instantly be labeled racist. At this juncture, we are so sensitive to the slightest hints of racial inequality in this country...no matter how ridiculous they may be. You will recall that we condemned Rhodesia even though, just like us, it was engaged in a struggle against communist-backed forces. They, however, just happened to be predominantly black at a time when we were experiencing widespread racial violence.

A democratic US administration might materially or financially lend support to the government. A republican administration would probably stay out of it to spare itself the misery. I don't think either party would lend military aid.
Democrats would have to certify the government as one that follows Human Rights. The recent anti-white declarations would be hard to hide.
Democrats would take a beating at the polls if they openly supplied the government.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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We have the strongest Navy in the world, as in nobody even comes close. The combination of the world's Naval forces don't come close to ours. There are two nations with a super carrier, Russia isn't one of them, and we have 11? We don't just dominate the seas, we literally control them...

We could mass a couple armor division in Europe within month's and nobody could stop us. Light BCT's within hours, with enough indirect and anti armor to allow the heavy shit to show up. We would dominate the air space and most likely use a contracted air war before putting boots on the ground.

Russia just ain't that stupid, they may fuck with a NATO member or do some limited conflict stuff, but as soon as we started moving battle groups and staging planes, they would retract their forces so fast it would be stupid. Anything we do to Russia militarily would be punitive in nature.

China the bigger threat? lol, they barely have a Navy, can't forward deploy their forces and are regionally locked...
 

Kakashi66223

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@Devildoc I've never been a big fan of base realignment idea. I honestly believe it was just to see if we could do it. It did force the US Army to be more expeditionary, but looking back to WW2 the U.S. forces in Europe had a staging collection (UK) area prior deploying to the actual battlefield where sealift would bring those assets to a more forward AO. I'm guessing it is not broke why fix it.

(To all readers)
Speaking of which. I have a correction, I said Rangers can be ANYWHERE in 24, it's actually 18. Although in under 24 hours a MEF could be monkey stomping a threat, it's all relative to the fact the somewhere, somebody in 24hours, is gonna be hating life.

The article is about present capabilities, and yes, it is a hard to swallow pill. But it also hints it was future capabilities, the writer limits the readers scope by not including allied shipping and possible airlift to forward staging areas as a viable option . Also Europe and the UK have Armor why do we have to depend on US Armor until it is forward deployed.

@CQB this reminds me of the beginning of The Walking Dead, there is no traffic jams going towards Atlanta GA(?).
 

Teufel

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Yes sir, hard agree. Nobody can predict the future.

My doubts about the likelihood of direct combat between US and Russian troops rest on the risks involved, not just to those two countries but to Europe and the world. MAD is still on the table even with reduced nuclear stockpiles. Everybody has too much to lose in the event of escalation...which, given precedent, is almost a given.

I agree with @SpitfireV re PRC, India and Pakistan as a possible flashpoint and the potential for dangerous encounters with China at sea or virtually anywhere.

As far as sealift capabilities, @AWP summed it up for me.
We destroyed a company of Russian mercenaries in Syria earlier this year. No one intended to go to war before Archduke Ferdinand died either but it happens. Russia invaded Ukraine and Georgia without batting an eye. What would happen if they tried it again and we were in their way? I don’t think they would intentionally attack one of our units but war is chaotic and tactical commanders can inadvertently make strategic decisions.

Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources | Reuters
 

Gunz

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We destroyed a company of Russian mercenaries in Syria earlier this year. No one intended to go to war before Archduke Ferdinand died either but it happens. Russia invaded Ukraine and Georgia without batting an eye. What would happen if they tried it again and we were in their way? I don’t think they would intentionally attack one of our units but war is chaotic and tactical commanders can inadvertently make strategic decisions.

Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources | Reuters
It could happen, absolutely. Hey, sir, I would never presume to try to argue military matters with an officer of your experience and education. Or someone so adept at meme warfare. 😉
 

Teufel

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It could happen, absolutely. Hey, sir, I would never presume to try to argue military matters with an officer of your experience and education. Or someone so adept at meme warfare. 😉
I’m not saying that we will go to war. Only that it is possible.
 

Teufel

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We have the strongest Navy in the world, as in nobody even comes close. The combination of the world's Naval forces don't come close to ours. There are two nations with a super carrier, Russia isn't one of them, and we have 11? We don't just dominate the seas, we literally control them...

We could mass a couple armor division in Europe within month's and nobody could stop us. Light BCT's within hours, with enough indirect and anti armor to allow the heavy shit to show up. We would dominate the air space and most likely use a contracted air war before putting boots on the ground.

Russia just ain't that stupid, they may fuck with a NATO member or do some limited conflict stuff, but as soon as we started moving battle groups and staging planes, they would retract their forces so fast it would be stupid. Anything we do to Russia militarily would be punitive in nature.

China the bigger threat? lol, they barely have a Navy, can't forward deploy their forces and are regionally locked...
You sound like a French General lauding the effectiveness of the Maginot line in 1939. China and Russia have been shaping their doctrine and military forces to indirectly contest the American way of war. No one is going to go toe to toe with a Carrier Battle Group, but I don’t know how well we would fare against a fleet of small boats that are bristling with over the horizon anti-ship ballistic cruise missiles.

China is clearly the bigger threat. They are our biggest trading partner and almost everyone of our government, military, and civilian supply chains are linked in some way to China. We just found out that China may be implanting circuit boards with malware at their factories. Who knows how widespread that is and what information they have stolen with those microchip implants. If the reports are true of course. Bloomberg - Are you a robot?

They are also using their economic power to buy influence around the world and rebalance the global political system in their favor. This has already happened in South East Asia and is occurring in Europe, Africa, and South America. They can easily pull the economic and diplomatic levers of their national power to increase their global influence and gradually, or suddenly, reduce our own.

China is also feverishly researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing. The first nation that develops those capabilities will dominate the next generation of military technology. Right now they are rapidly outpacing us as their entire industry supports their objectives, while our innovators thumb their noses at the military on “moral grounds” and jump in bed with the Chinese. A quantum computer will quickly neutralize the most sophisticated encryption and I’m afraid that all of our critical infrasructure and information systems will be laid bare if we aren’t the first to the finish line. Our critical infrastructure, of course, is already notoriously undefended. The United States has always enjoyed the protection of two vast oceans to keep our enemies at arms length. The internet, however, will permit our adversaries to quickly invade our information networks and bring any war directly to the home front. How will we fare if one of our adversaries destroys our financial sector with a SOF raid, missile strike, or a cyberattack?

China and Russia both know that they will lose if they go face to face with us in a global confrontation. They will do their best to ensure that any conflicts stay below the threshold of declared war. I don’t think we fare well in that kind of power competition. You say that the Russians will run scared from our BCTs and Carrier Battle Groups. What will we do if they do not, and threaten to deploy tactical nukes if we don’t back away? I’m really not sure what we would do in a scenario like that. No one is trying to destroy America. They are trying to become regional hegemons, and this normally means they will have to erode American power before they can do so.
 

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You sound like a French General lauding the effectiveness of the Maginot line in 1939. China and Russia have been shaping their doctrine and military forces to indirectly contest the American way of war. No one is going to go toe to toe with a Carrier Battle Group, but I don’t know how well we would fare against a fleet of small boats that are bristling with over the horizon anti-ship ballistic cruise missiles.

China is clearly the bigger threat. They are our biggest trading partner and almost everyone of our government, military, and civilian supply chains are linked in some way to China. We just found out that China may be implanting circuit boards with malware at their factories. Who knows how widespread that is and what information they have stolen with those microchip implants. If the reports are true of course. Bloomberg - Are you a robot?

They are also using their economic power to buy influence around the world and rebalance the global political system in their favor. This has already happened in South East Asia and is occurring in Europe, Africa, and South America. They can easily pull the economic and diplomatic levers of their national power to increase their global influence and gradually, or suddenly, reduce our own.

China is also feverishly researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing. The first nation that develops those capabilities will dominate the next generation of military technology. Right now they are rapidly outpacing us as their entire industry supports their objectives, while our innovators thumb their noses at the military on “moral grounds” and jump in bed with the Chinese. A quantum computer will quickly neutralize the most sophisticated encryption and I’m afraid that all of our critical infrasructure and information systems will be laid bare if we aren’t the first to the finish line. Our critical infrastructure, of course, is already notoriously undefended. The United States has always enjoyed the protection of two vast oceans to keep our enemies at arms length. The internet, however, will permit our adversaries to quickly invade our information networks and bring any war directly to the home front. How will we fare if one of our adversaries destroys our financial sector with a SOF raid, missile strike, or a cyberattack?

China and Russia both know that they will lose if they go face to face with us in a global confrontation. They will do their best to ensure that any conflicts stay below the threshold of declared war. I don’t think we fare well in that kind of power competition. You say that the Russians will run scared from our BCTs and Carrier Battle Groups. What will we do if they do not, and threaten to deploy tactical nukes if we don’t back away? I’m really not sure what we would do in a scenario like that. No one is trying to destroy America. They are trying to become regional hegemons, and this normally means they will have to erode American power before they can do so.
Good points on all and I don't disagree, however, China's economy is heavily based upon 1) the safety of their shipping, which is guaranteed by our Navy, and 2) stable currency, which is guaranteed by our currency (the world reserve currency).

They don't have a forward deployable Navy to protect their shipping. They are trying to assert that by building ports and militarizing islands in the South China sea, but their trade capability is dependent on a global consumption econmey. I mean even if they could control the south China sea, who are they selling too in the region? China's currency is not stable enough to conduct pure trade without the USD valuation attached.

In essence, China would commit economic suicide if they tried to fully become a regional power without our consent, which they may very well get, but at that point they have to compete with the Japanese for regional dominance if we retract our trade protection from the region. I'm not sure China as a whole is stable enough, to withstand the economic restrictions of a trade and commerce conflict with the United States. How will they handle recession, internal conflicts, regional conflicts, etc. But I'm no expert, but I definitely don't see China as a true threat to our power or our stability. Maybe in 25 years, but not currently.

Russia on the other hand, I completely agree with you. There is that possibility they would go full in. At that point it's a nuclear war and everyone is fucked. I don't see Russia taking that leap just to secure their regional power. Most likely they would wait for a global economic recession and attempt to secure the regional countries through trade agreements. Essentially as we retract our trade, they will look to fill the void, country on board will be left alone militarily, countries who are not on board will probably see low level conflicts, state sponsored "revolutions", etc... Shit we have seen them do the last decade or so. Russia, is more threatening to us, because of our commitments to NATO and assured defense policy.

As for the AI stuff and next gen warfare, that stuff is so far out of my knowledgeable lane that I can't even begin to comment. Ok have to do some reading...
 

Teufel

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Good points on all and I don't disagree, however, China's economy is heavily based upon 1) the safety of their shipping, which is guaranteed by our Navy, and 2) stable currency, which is guaranteed by our currency (the world reserve currency).

They don't have a forward deployable Navy to protect their shipping. They are trying to assert that by building ports and militarizing islands in the South China sea, but their trade capability is dependent on a global consumption econmey. I mean even if they could control the south China sea, who are they selling too in the region? China's currency is not stable enough to conduct pure trade without the USD valuation attached.

In essence, China would commit economic suicide if they tried to fully become a regional power without our consent, which they may very well get, but at that point they have to compete with the Japanese for regional dominance if we retract our trade protection from the region. I'm not sure China as a whole is stable enough, to withstand the economic restrictions of a trade and commerce conflict with the United States. How will they handle recession, internal conflicts, regional conflicts, etc. But I'm no expert, but I definitely don't see China as a true threat to our power or our stability. Maybe in 25 years, but not currently.

Russia on the other hand, I completely agree with you. There is that possibility they would go full in. At that point it's a nuclear war and everyone is fucked. I don't see Russia taking that leap just to secure their regional power. Most likely they would wait for a global economic recession and attempt to secure the regional countries through trade agreements. Essentially as we retract our trade, they will look to fill the void, country on board will be left alone militarily, countries who are not on board will probably see low level conflicts, state sponsored "revolutions", etc... Shit we have seen them do the last decade or so. Russia, is more threatening to us, because of our commitments to NATO and assured defense policy.

As for the AI stuff and next gen warfare, that stuff is so far out of my knowledgeable lane that I can't even begin to comment. Ok have to do some reading...
Belt and Road Initiative - Wikipedia

Notice how much of the belt and road initiative goes over land. Again, we could quickly gain sea control by choking off the South China Sea in a protracted global conflict with China. They will do everything in their power to keep any conflict below this level. This is by far the more dangerous adversary. China does has serious domestic issues that will always be their critical vulnerability. Sometimes, it helps to wag the dog and distract your impoverished population with an external threat, imaginary or otherwise. Anyway, China is playing the long game. We fight wars in 6 month increments. They are planning out the next century.

Russia would love to break up NATO by invading one of the Baltic States and invalidating the power of an article 5 declaration.
 

Blizzard

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Pfft. If it gets to that point and we go back door...grab a couple ferry boats and shuttle everyone across the Bering in a few hours, then sweep East to West. Problem solved. ;-) :p
 

ThunderHorse

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Good points on all and I don't disagree, however, China's economy is heavily based upon 1) the safety of their shipping, which is guaranteed by our Navy, and 2) stable currency, which is guaranteed by our currency (the world reserve currency).

They don't have a forward deployable Navy to protect their shipping. They are trying to assert that by building ports and militarizing islands in the South China sea, but their trade capability is dependent on a global consumption econmey. I mean even if they could control the south China sea, who are they selling too in the region? China's currency is not stable enough to conduct pure trade without the USD valuation attached.

In essence, China would commit economic suicide if they tried to fully become a regional power without our consent, which they may very well get, but at that point they have to compete with the Japanese for regional dominance if we retract our trade protection from the region. I'm not sure China as a whole is stable enough, to withstand the economic restrictions of a trade and commerce conflict with the United States. How will they handle recession, internal conflicts, regional conflicts, etc. But I'm no expert, but I definitely don't see China as a true threat to our power or our stability. Maybe in 25 years, but not currently.

Russia on the other hand, I completely agree with you. There is that possibility they would go full in. At that point it's a nuclear war and everyone is fucked. I don't see Russia taking that leap just to secure their regional power. Most likely they would wait for a global economic recession and attempt to secure the regional countries through trade agreements. Essentially as we retract our trade, they will look to fill the void, country on board will be left alone militarily, countries who are not on board will probably see low level conflicts, state sponsored "revolutions", etc... Shit we have seen them do the last decade or so. Russia, is more threatening to us, because of our commitments to NATO and assured defense policy.

As for the AI stuff and next gen warfare, that stuff is so far out of my knowledgeable lane that I can't even begin to comment. Ok have to do some reading...
In regards to the Chinese Navy not being forward deployable? They've been going on expeditionary tours all over the world as they've deployed troops to protect their interests. They're building carriers and developing their maritime air wing. It's not about today or five years from now, it's about 10-20 years from now. A lot of Chinese tech is reverse engineered, some shit, some not. The reality is they do have some great engineers that have gone to Western universities for decades so that they can learn this shit. They will have a full blue water Navy shortly. Have you looked at our fleet? It's pretty small, yes we have 11-carriers, doesn't mean we have 11. Currently we have 10 that can go to sea, with the USS Washington in dry dock for a three year refit. Which I find crazy, then you have the others which are in various stages of deployment or maintenance.

Awhile ago the rule was: 1/3 Navy is at sea, 1/3 is preparing to go to sea, the last 1/3 is in refit.
 

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I come to this thread to add my two cents, and @Teufel Already mentioned the Russian "mercs" that attacked us in Syria, China and Russia using other than outright military attacks to weaken us, and even the belt road? Hell, that's all I had to throw out there lol.
 

Teufel

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Which issues do you have in mind?
Public unrest sparked by government corruption, extreme economic gaps between social classes, an unhappy rising middle class, an aging population with a shrinking national birth rate, ethnic strife; especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, labor strikes, and a rapidly growing debt/GDP imbalance. China spends more on domestic security than they do on external defense.

China's Domestic Security Spending: An Analysis of Available Data - Jamestown
 

SpitfireV

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Public unrest sparked by government corruption, extreme economic gaps between social classes, an unhappy rising middle class, an aging population with a shrinking national birth rate, ethnic strife; especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, labor strikes, and a rapidly growing debt/GDP imbalance. China spends more on domestic security than they do on external defense.

China's Domestic Security Spending: An Analysis of Available Data - Jamestown
I'm pretty well acquainted with China and their culture so I was interested what your perspective was. Hope you didn't think it was an ambush!

I would tend to agree but I think the ethnic issues aren't as much of a problem without support of a foreign state- and that comes back to the massive spending on internal security IMO. Corruption I don't think is an issue at all- it's the Chinese way of doing things, it has been for 1000s of years. Many Chinese grumble about it but at the end of the day they accept it as a fact of life and get on with living. Combine that with Xi's "anti-corruption" drive that is a mixture of both legitimate anti corruption and the clearing out of opponents and it creates a perception within China at least that the problem is being tackled.

I'd probably add in there an artificially strengthened RMB too.
 

Teufel

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I think the Chinese are worried that ethnically dissimilar provinces, like Xijiang; Tibet; yanbian; and Inner Mongolia,may strike for their independence one day.
 

Gunz

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I’m not saying that we will go to war. Only that it is possible.
We're just looking at it from different perspectives. As a serving professional you have to consider strategic contingencies anywhere in the world. I'm like a guy trying to bet on a horse race.
 
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