The Army is looking at placing more short-range air-defense capabilities in brigade combat teams (BCT).Since all Generals are politicians first and warriors second, or third, maybe fourth and more realistically fifth, we can assume that this seemingly powerful statement doesn't tell the whole story.
For more than two decades, the Army has neglected the short-range threat and focused instead on missiles, said Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi, commanding general of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was part of a panel discussion, Feb. 11, at a day-long Association of the U.S. Army-sponsored Hot Topics forum on Air and Missile Defense.
Desert Storm, 25 years ago, brought the Patriot missile defense systems into prominence, Rossi said.
"As we made Patriot better and we focused on it, in essence the Air Defense community migrated to what became a point-defense branch, a missile defense branch," Rossi said.
NO 'A' IN MISSILE DEFENSE?
"We took the 'A' out of Air and Missile Defense in many ways," he said. "We didn't think we really needed to focus on it."
SHORAD or Short-Range Air Defense battalions were deactivated. "We took all short-range air defense out of the architecture as we focused on missile defense," Rossi said, adding "that's caught up to us."
Now the proliferation of small, unmanned aircraft is forcing commanders to reassess the need for SHORAD capabilities to combat low-altitude threats.
"We've got to find a game changer," Rossi said, alluding to the need to find more affordable and lethal air-defense systems.
"We have to change the scenario or change the equation so it's more costly to attack than to defend," he said. "We've got to build to the future."
Come to your own conclusions, but I'm hoping that the USMC is monitoring the Army's work.
Side note: Does the use of sidewinder missiles to shoot down mortars and artillery shells seem like overkill/wasteful/inefficient?