Thursday, July 30, 2020

Is it time to rotate the 173rd Airborne to the Pacific?

Consider this a modest proposal.

Should we rotate the 173rd Airborne to the Pacific?  I personally think it makes sense.  The Missile Marines are going to be concentrating on the sea battle and is gearing up to focus on that mission set. 

That leaves the Army as the sole remaining general purpose ground force we have.

That means we have a huge gap in capabilities in the Pacific.  While the 25th can add a credible medium to light punch (in the form of their Stryker and Light Fighters) we're still lacking a rapid deployment ground force.

I think the 173rd could fill that role admirably.

But what about the possibility of fighting in contested space (the latest buzz word in the Pentagon)?

Doable.  Hard but doable.  But before you shitcan the idea consider this.  The Missile Marines are talking about operating slow moving small amphibs in contested space, using MV-22s to move troops ashore, landing HIMARS/anti-ship missile vehicles to engage ships at sea, setting up FARPs and moving heavy cargo/fuel/munitions ashore in CH-53Ks...ALL WHILE OPERATING IN CONTESTED SPACE!

If that can be done (I don't think it can but let's play the game) then surely a C-17 with escorts can zoom in at 500 knots, slow to drop paratroopers and then zoom out at 500 knots.

It can't be any worse than what the Missile Marines are planning can it?

I hear what you're saying now.  What about heavy equipment?  The same way you got in paratroopers is the same way you get in C-17 transported equipment.  We might need to develop new ways of air dropping but it can be done.

The sad truth?

With the arrival of the Missile Marines the United States of America is down to only 1 (ONE!) means of forcible entry.

Airborne forces are now the ONLY credible means of entering denied space. The Apache raid in Desert Storm 2 pretty much put a nail in the coffin of air assaults being viable in my mind.  The current Commandant of the Missile Marines put a nail in amphibious assault.

That leaves the US Army and it's Airborne Forces as our end all be all for forcible entry.

Time to strengthen the capability.

Hope the Army Chief Of Staff is listening!

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