Adaptable Fires in Support of Full Spectrum Operations

By Halverson, David D.; Hite, Steven L. | Army, July 2011 | Go to article overview

Adaptable Fires in Support of Full Spectrum Operations


Halverson, David D., Hite, Steven L., Army


Operational adaptability of the fires force relies on educating and developing Army and fires leaders alike to be capable of understanding situations in depth, to critically assess situations, and to adapt actions to seize and retain the initiative in support of full spectrum operations by employing offensive and defensive fires. Fires provide a warfighting function through field artillery and air defense artillery capabilities. Over the last couple of years, the Fires Center of Excellence (FCoE), Fort Sill, OkIa., has conducted a comprehensive review of the fires warfighting function as it applies to the current and future operational environment.

The U.S. Army Functional Concept (AFC) for Fires, Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-4, takes into account the lessons learned over more than nine years of combat operations and recognizes that the future operating environment will continue to be characterized by complexity and uncertainty. While determining the required capabilities for fires forces confronting future adversaries, the Army recognized that potential adversaries will have access to a wide range of capabilities to counter or interrupt U.S. advantages in communications, surveillance, long-range fires, armor protection and mobility.

There should be little doubt that the Army, in concert with its joint and coalition partners, will continue to conduct full spectrum operations in populated areas. If the security situation permits, intergovernmental, interagency, nongovernmental and private organizations will interact with military forces in stability operations. Complexity and uncertainty will reside throughout the land, air and space domains. Cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum will continue to become more crowded and contested as technology becomes more affordable and available. Just as in today's operating environment, future adversaries may have reputable "day jobs" but may conduct insurgent activities using cheap technology to terrorize the population or attack our forces.

The AFC for Fires builds upon the ideas presented in The Army Capstone Concept (ACC) and The Army Operating Concept (AOC). Both the ACC and AOC present broad capabilities that the Army will require between 2016 and 2028. Future Army forces will conduct operations as part of the joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war and succeed in a wide range of contingencies in the future operating environment. The AFC for Fires emphasizes the need for operationally adaptable fires and focuses on developing a versatile set of capabilities that future Army forces will employ with increased discrimination to defeat a wide range of threats.

The realities of constrained resources will recfuire Army forces to closely integrate with all joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational partners to achieve unity of effort. This demands that all partners share an understanding of the process, roles and responsibilities, objectives, and transparency to improve decision making and effectiveness. The AFC for Fires focuses on five components for the solution to address the challenges to Army fires: expanding the fires warfighting function; employing versatile fires capabilities; identiiying, locating, targeting and engaging threats with increased discrimination; integrating joint, Army and multinational capabilities; and distributing fires capabilities for decentralized operations. The other warfighting functional concepts are nested with the AFC for Fires, and all six support the ACC and AOC within the Army Concept Framework.

Expand the Fires Warfighting Function

Having just observed the historic 100th anniversary of the establishment of the School of Fire (now the U.S. Army Field Artillery School) at Fort Sill, we are proud to have both the Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery Schools and Centers colocated there. An expanded fires warfighting function incorporates mdirect fires (field artillery and mortars), air and missile defense (AMD), joint fires and electronic attack capabilities as fires. …

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