Sunday, November 15, 2015
Armor Up! What would boots on the ground (if we really want to win) look like against ISIS...
Consider this an open thread...
The question. What would boots on the ground in a joint operation against ISIS look like if we're serious about crushing them once and for all?
Paralus brought this forward by stating that he believes France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the rest of the European Airborne units along with the 173rd Airborne (US) along with airpower would be enough to win.
I'm not so sure.
ISIS is fully motorized if not mechanized now. They have captured main battle tanks, howitzers, tons of MRAPS and HUMVEES. Additionally they've demonstrated the ability to knock down a couple of airplanes which indicates that they have a few MANPADS lying around.
My thoughts? We're talking about anywhere form 20-50K fighters. That's approximately 2 divisions. It won't take a "Desert Storm" type effort but considering how small everyone has allowed their armed forces to get, it'll still take a max effort by the Western alliance.
We would need the 4th and 1st ID from the US Army. I think a Heavy Brigade Combat Team would be necessary in this fight. Paratroopers and SOCOM are no longer relevant. They're too light and its obvious that the effects that they bring just aren't good enough. To ensure success we'd need whatever the Europeans could give us and probably toss in a Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Is it overkill? Oh yeah. Will it lessen allied casualties? Definitely. Would it stomp a mud hole in ISIS? Without a doubt.
So what do we need to guard against? The nation building nonsense. The military tears stuff up....and everyone forgets the lessons of the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after world war 2. We provided administrators but the of those countries did the heavy lifting. The same should apply here. We go, we fuck shit up and then we leave.
Rinse and repeat as necessary. Being serious, if they take advantage of the upcoming summit meeting to grow a spine and the word is given on 1 Dec to go then I would imagine that it would take 3 or 4 months to ready the force. Another month to get it into theater (max effort ... no messing around) and then a campaign that should last about 60 days. The UN sends in peacekeepers---the handoff would take an additional month (hopefully planners are assembling it during the time that the force is getting ready to deploy) and then another month to get everyone home (politicians love to give speeches before the troops). We can kill ISIS before the next President takes office...we just lack the will...and the guts.