Observations on the IBCT/and the FBCB2
Saeli, Jeffrey A., Infantry
This article is based upon a study I conducted at Fort Lewis concerning the Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) and the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) information system. My principal duties as a data collector included observation of and commentary on the doctrine and tactics of the IBCT, and observation and commentary on the efficacy and integration of the FBCB2.
I draw my conclusions from direct observation of the IBCT and the FBCB2, and discussions with leaders and operators from the battalion commander down to the soldier level. In addition, my military experience and civilian education, viewed as a whole, provide me with a solid background against which to evaluate the incorporation of advanced information systems into a military force at the battalion/brigade level and below.
I agree with the senior Army leadership concerning the need for a major force revision in light of emerging geopolitical realities-global American military dominance, the emergence of asymmetric threats, the absence of a regional conventional threat capable of force projection, continued democratization of the globe, an established global economy, an established global media presence, and the United States' contemporary role as an overseas political leader.
We need a significantly restructured force, tailored to meet emerging threats, and comprising the elements of deployability, lethality, restraint, and an ability-and willingnessto execute diverse and extended operations in environments ranging from "peacekeeping" and similar operations other than war (OOTW) to major theater war (MTW). The IBCT is the nascent expression of this realization, and integrating of such a force into the larger, contemporary Army is the goal of the ongoing effort at Fort Lewis.
With this goal in mind, we must realize that mission requirements of the IBCT must be carefully focused. Fielding a successful, effective force with a definitive mission essential task list (METL) requires changes to both doctrine and modified tables of organization and equipment (MTOEs). Concurrent with the development of this force is the effort to integrate an advanced information system. Either task would be difficult alone; attempting them together requires close analysis of each competing effort, and of the synergistic effect of simultaneous development.
Capabilities, Limitations, and Emerging Concepts
The IBCT accepts risk through decreased survivability by a reduction in armor protection and firepower in its proposed principal weapons platform, the light armored vehicle (LAV) with a 105mm main gun. This risk is mitigated by doctrinal recognition of a need to augment the IBCT with more robust, conventional armored forces at the high end of the conflict spectrum mitigates. Other mitigating factors are the situational awareness provided by the FBCB2 as an integrated command and control platform for the collection and dissemination of intelligence, the rapid identification of and reaction to enemy threats, and the enhanced integration of supporting forces at all levels.
Capabilities. The IBCT and FBCB2 provide the commander with a robust force structure, well equipped to meet a variety of threats. Company commanders have significant assets under their direct control: sniper teams equipped with both .50 caliber and 7.62mm rifles, multiple-caliber mortar systems (120mm, 81mm, and 60mm), mounted infantry platoons made up of robust rifle squads and weapons squads, integrated sharpshooters and designated Javelin gunners, and a mobile gun system platoon.
This "arms room" concept allows the commander to select force levels and weapons appropriate to the mission, and also to task organize his individual platoons and provide them with enough firepower to operate independently in a diverse and extended environment. The FBCB2 provides the command and control necessary for individual platoons to conduct …
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Publication information: Article title: Observations on the IBCT/and the FBCB2. Contributors: Saeli, Jeffrey A. - Author. Magazine title: Infantry. Volume: 90. Issue: 2 Publication date: May-August 2000. Page number: 27+. © Infantry Magazine Nov/Dec 1996. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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