Saturday, 31 July 2004

Researchers, Manufacturers Search for Better Body Armor

National Defense Magazine
Plenty of current & future body armour ideas discussed, extending protection to the limbs besides the vital organs is a good move.

Israeli Defense Forces Trying to Perfect Urban Combat Tactics, Techniques

National Defense Magazine
Quite lax rules of engagement being used in the Israeli context, for example, breaching through walls of civilian houses, not very comprehensive in terms of winning the "hearts & minds" of the Palestinian people, not very much useful in the global "media-savvy" context we live in nowadays, however, the other tactics are worth studying. opswarfare has always felt that operations other than war should use the Israeli-Palestine and Northern Ireland campaigns as important lessons to learn.
Israeli Defense Forces Trying to Perfect Urban Combat Tactics, Techniques

by Roxana Tiron

Israel Defense Forces have been working to perfect their urban warfare tactics, in an effort to eliminate militant cells in the disputed zones of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The goal is to gradually shift from a defensive to an offensive posture, said Col. Boaz Cohen, a military envoy to the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.

On the offensive, the Isreali military hunts down potential suicide bombers and their handlers before they launch their operations, said Cohen.

“We realized that we cannot deal with the reality of suicide bombers,” he said. “Through the years, we realized that there is no real [suicide bomber] profile.”

Taking the fight to the terrorist cells is the only acceptable solution, he added. Previously, Israeli intelligence experts thought that suicide bombers were young, disadvantaged and poor. Now, they have realized that there is no clearly defined profile, Cohen said.

An offensive posture creates significant challenges for Israeli soldiers, who must be prepared to identify a terrorist cell and launch an attack without killing innocent civilians, said Cohen.

That is not an easy task, particularly in the old cities that often resemble labyrinths—they have narrow streets and are densely populated. Long-range weapons are not effective in these confined areas. In most cases, weapons are fired at ranges in the tens of meters, said Cohen.

In an offensive operation that may include multiple locations, an IDF brigade-level unit stages a mounted attack to encircle suspected areas that harbor terrorists. Soldiers start attacking from different flanks, to break the resistance, said Cohen.

Israelis are known for their swarming tactic, or “planned unpredictability,” according to Yagil Henkin, a military historian. Instead of using conventional tactics, such as taking the outskirts of a town first, they systematically attack from many directions. Swarming techniques, however, can create coordination nightmares.

When they operate in small tactical units, soldiers typically focus on a single target. They enter neighborhoods in civilian armored vehicles, rapidly penetrate the area and isolate the target. Once that is accomplished the heavier, “noisier” forces come in, said Cohen.

“The first challenge is to encircle the target or the objective, and then start acting when you have all your forces with you,” Cohen said. “We call it a surgical operation, trying not to affect the civilian population. ... We move through houses, through walls. We have breaching equipment,” he said. “Although we are causing some damage, we are saving lives.”

Israeli soldiers blast holes in the walls between houses, so they can avoid moving in the streets, Cohen said.

IDF planners are known for using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the operations in real time.

Despite the IDF’s refined tactics, the enemy they face is tough to break. “It is not a question of using all your military power,” he said. “We have more military power than any terror organization that we are fighting.”

The conundrum is how to keep civilians separated from the terrorists, he said, a problem that U.S. soldiers also face in Iraq. “Capturing those terrorists sometimes does not break resistance,” he said. Soldiers have to avoid killing civilians who blend with the terrorists, by mistake or sometimes willingly to distract and trick the soldiers.

U.S. forces in Iraq employed some of the same tactics the Israeli military uses. They set up impromptu checkpoints, kept militants on the defensive with frequent arrest raids and encircled villages.

Navy Downsizing Could Weaken Marine Corps Expeditionary Posture

National Defense Magazine
A sad sight, as budgets & politics weaken one of the most important assets of the US military, the amphibious ships that can launch air, sea, & beach landing attacks from almost anywhere.
Navy Downsizing Could Weaken Marine Corps Expeditionary Posture

by Roxana Tiron

As the U.S. Navy’s investments and planning point towards a shrinking fleet, it remains unclear how the downsizing will affect the Marine Corps and its ability to carry out expeditionary warfare missions.

Cutbacks in the number of amphibious ships, particularly, are of great concern to the Marine Corps, whose requirement for sealift assets is based on the need to transport 2.5 Marine expeditionary brigades. A MEB is an air-ground task force comprising 15,000 Marines.

Although no decisions have been announced yet, the Navy is expected to move away from its original goal of deploying 12 expeditionary strike groups and consider dropping the number to eight or 10. The ESGs are the service’s new operational concept that augments traditional amphibious ready groups with cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

Amphibious ships are the central piece of the traditional deployment posture of the Marine Corps. An amphibious ready group typically includes an LHA or LHD big-deck amphibious assault ship, one or two LPD amphibious transport dock ships and sometimes an LSD dock landing ship. An amphibious ready group often deploys with a carrier battle group.

If the number of ESGs is reduced, it would be almost certain that the Navy would scale back the 12-ship San Antonio class of new LPD amphibious transport dock ships.

Proponents of the cutbacks argue that the Marine Corps could fulfill its lift requirements with fewer ships, because future planned vessels are far more capable and roomier than the current platforms. They point to the future replacement of the LHA, the LHA-R, and the future maritime pre-positioning cargo ship, the MPF-F, as examples of future ships that will dramatically enhance the Marine Corps’ expeditionary capabilities.

Neither the LHA-R nor the MPF-F, however, will be available for many years. Both programs remain in the concept development phase, and funds have yet to be allocated for construction.

Even though the Navy claims that capabilities are more important than numbers, the Corps still needs to know that it will have a certain number of hulls available to deploy its forces, Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus, the service’s deputy commandant for programs and resources, told reporters.

“If you don’t own the beach, there’s no other way to get there,” he said. “They’re asking for Marines and amphibious forces to go to the fight.”

Magnus recognizes that new ships such as the LPD-17 amphibious transport dock, are “a hell more capable than ships that are out there right now. If we think the better ships will allow us to use less force, then we’ll continue to buy LPD-17s and large deck amphibs, and just retire some of the older ships sooner.”

But trimming the number of ARGs could have significant implications for the Marine Corps, given that even the current 12 cannot accommodate 2.5 MEBs, noted retired Marine Maj. Gen. William Whitlow, a former director of naval expeditionary warfare.

“If we can’t get our forces to the objective area expeditiously and in sufficient quantity to win, then we are relegated to a long, protracted attrition type of conflict,” he told National Defense.

Beyond the sealift capability, the Marines need the infrastructure, offered by amphibious ships, to sustain prolonged operations, Whitlow said.

“The Navy is building less and the Marines are sitting by,” he said.

Another trend in the Marine Corps is the increasing reliance on air support. That is why the LHA-R is expected to carry more aircraft than any other amphibious assault ship.

The Marines agreed to give up the well deck in the LHA-R design to make room for 23 Joint Strike Fighters, 28 MV-22 Ospreys, or a combination of aircraft. Giving up the well deck means no air-cushion landing craft or amphibious assault vehicles can be launched from the ship.

“Not having the well deck basically gives you more volume for the major mission equipment,” said Arnie Moore, chief engineer with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. The company is working on the design of the LHA-R.

“It’s a long, very large space, and it’s not subdivided into a number of smaller spaces,” he said. “I believe that they’re going to have a lot of capability there to support the air wing that they don’t currently have now.”

Without a well deck, the LHA-R will have to join other vessels for amphibious assaults, according to the Navy. The LHA-R is meant to replace the existing four LHAs in the fleet.

Nevertheless, insiders say the Marine Corps will not want more than two ships without a well deck. The first LHA-R could just be an intermediate step towards a new class of ships.

“The LHA-R should be capable of handling legacy air assets and future ones that are different size and weight,” said Whitlow. “It should have the ability to switch out modules to convert into a command and control ship. It should not be a single-purpose ship.”

An aviation-only capable ship would be “very short sighted,” Whitlow added. Any future ship should be built “from the keel up to be able to adapt to a myriad of capabilities.”

That also should be the case with the MPF-F, intended to replace the current fleet of 18 pre-positioning cargo vessels. The Navy and the Marine Corps have not settled yet on a design.

Options could range from a ship comparable to the current Bob Hope class, to a much larger ship, or a family of dissimilar ships.

But if the program does not get under way next year, the Navy will not be able to have the MPF-F by 2010, when it would be needed, according to Whitlow. “That is a charade,” he said.

Marines are “not astute at watching” the discrepancy between rhetoric and action when it comes to shipbuilding, said Whitlow. “They trust the Navy.”

Even though recent conflicts validated the need for more sealift and support vessels, the Navy continues to wrongly focus its investments on destroyers and submarines, said Whitlow.

The Navy should recognize there is a limited role for cruiser destroyers with anti-aircraft capabilities, or for a $4 billion submarine program—the advanced SEAL delivery vehicle— to transport the Navy Sea, Air and Land teams, he said. That is a “pretty expensive platform, and the SEALs can get there in other ways,” he said.

Should the U.S. military have to reposition forces to handle another contingency, it would have to take “huge risks,” in the absence of sufficient sealift.

Without enough amphibious ships to carry and sustain three MEBs, the service will lose its ability to gain unencumbered access to the battlefield, said Whitlow. Under the worst-case scenario, he noted, if there are insufficient ships, the Marine Corps may have to consider downsizing its own force.

Urban Camouflage

Urban Camouflage
Interesting idea of reversible combat uniforms for day & night in urban warfare.

Monday, 26 July 2004

The Harrier II, opswarfare feels, is an under-rated aircraft. Its versatility in operating from almost anywhere is a major plus in close air support [CAS] missions. So it is rather sad that it may be withdrawn from RAF service, due to shrinking budgets and expensive replacement programmes. Good close air support platforms like the Harrier and A-10A Thunderbolt II are going to be replaced by multi-role fighters like the JSF which are not likely to do CAS that well.

Popular Science | When Is a UCAV Not a UCAV?

Popular Science | When Is a UCAV Not a UCAV?
A critical article listing the potential cost overruns of UCAVs, which would negate one of the main requirements of a UCAV, being cheap enough to be expendable for high risk targets. Nice title, a play on "The revolution will not be televised"
When Is a UCAV Not a UCAV?
The Pentagon's plan for a
low-cost, modest vehicle is bloated beyond recognition.
By Bill Sweetman
Posted 05.20.2003 at 12:20 pm

Pilots often volunteer for the most difficult missions, but the Pentagon continues to press ahead with its plan to build an unmanned combat air vehicle, or UCAV, that could fly without risking a pilot's life. A simple plan, but it's become increasingly ambitious-though a proven, simple UCAV model exists: Predator.

Originally built for recon, the Cessna-size Predator was fitted with Hellfire missiles in 2001 and has since carried out successful strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq. The Air Force is testing a bigger version, the MQ-9 Predator B, which carries 3,000 pounds of smart weapons (up from about 400 pounds) and whose 50,000-foot cruise altitu
de puts it beyond reach of the most common threats-guns and shoulder-fired missiles. A Predator B costs $8 million; the Pentagon's planned UCAV has an anticipated price tag of at least $25 million.

That inflation means the Pentagon has lost sight of its goal, warns DARPA's first UCAV program manager, Michael Francis, who's now at Lockheed Martin. The UCAV as originally conceived, he says, "was designed to get us out of the death spiral"—the term for the trend in which each generation of military airplanes costs more and is built in smaller numbers than the one that came before it. If a next-gen UCAV costs three times as much as the current model, one has to wonder whether the military can afford such disposability.

Unmanned combat aircraft not only save lives; they don't sleep and so can focus on a task indefinitely. But lacking a human brain—what one pilot calls "the five-pound shoulder-mounted computer"—they can't be trusted to tell a Scud from a school bus without the help of an operator on the ground. If the radio link is lost, UCAVs go dumb. Given such limitations, how elaborate should unmanned combat aircraft be? The original 1999-era UCAV, the X-45A, was to cost around $10 million and carry 1,500 pounds of bombs. But the military is now mulling the X-45C, an F-16-size craft that would carry 2 tons of bombs. Plans revealed in March call for the Air Force to have 36 such combat-ready UCAVs by 2010. Pentagon officials insist the beefed-up specs are needed: Their new UCAV will be stealthy, which the Predator is not, twice as swift as Predator, and have greater range and endurance. Says UCAV program manager Col. Earl Wyatt: "If we can do the same thing as everyone else, the answer will be, thank you, no, I've already got it."

Indian Air Force - UAV Operations in the Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force - UAV Operations in the Indian Air Force
Informative website showing operations of Israeli-made Searcher II UAVs in the Indian Air Force.

In the tracks of the Predator: combat UAV programs are gathering speed

In the tracks of the Predator: combat UAV programs are gathering speed
The next generation of manned-strike aircraft are most likely to be accompanied by unmanned combat aerial vehicles [UCAV]. They will be utilised for high value targets like command centres, plus dangerous missions like suppression of enemy air defences[SEAD].
Non-Subscriber Extract

In the tracks of the Predator: combat UAV programs are gathering speed


The term "unmanned combat air vehicle" (UCAV) was coined less than a decade ago, but armed, unmanned aircraft are in service and the subject of major programs worldwide. The biggest single effort, the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) managed by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is budgeted at more than US$4 billion over the next five years. DARPA is also developing the ambitious Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR) for the US Army. The French government is pushing the formation of a Dassault-led UCAV project, named Neuron, and Dassault has formally joined forces with Saab and EADS to fly a demonstrator by 2009.

At the same time, the pioneering MQ-1 Predator remains in combat use, and is being followed by the larger, much more heavily armed MQ-9 Predator B. Other UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) - including the US Navy's (USN's) Fire Scout and the Army's forthcoming Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) vehicle - are being developed to carry weapons.

The majority of these UCAV programs place heavy emphasis on network-centric warfare (NCW). J-UCAS is the Pentagon's flagship NCW program and the UCAR is intended to be accessible to any communications node on the battlefield. Sweden's SHARC (Swedish Highly Advanced Research Configuration) UCAV demonstrator has already flown simulated missions controlled via a commercial-type Internet link, experience which will be transferred into the Neuron program.

Under the J-UCAS program, the two original X-45A demonstrators built by Boeing are continuing their flight tests. In mid-April, one of the X-45As became the first purpose-built UCAV to release a precision-guided weapon, launching an inert GPS (Global Positioning System)-inertial Small Smart Bomb and hitting a ground target at the USN's China Lake research facility. The human operator confirmed the identification of the target and authorized the UCAV to arm and release the weapon, but the X-45A maneuvered on to the target, opened its weapon bay and dropped the bomb autonomously with the operator in a supervisory role. The aircraft was operating at 35,000ft and Mach 0.67 (M0.67), and the weapon hit the target.

Next, the X-45As will prepare for two-ship operations with a series of tests involving one X-45A and the program's T-33 surrogate aircraft, which carries X-45A navigation and communications systems together with an observer and a safety pilot. This will pave the way for tests of coordinated tactics with two unmanned vehicles.

The X-45A represents the original concept of the UCAV as a small aircraft, stealthy by virtue of its size as well as its shape, and inexpensive enough to be 'attritable': losing the aircraft would be like the loss of a Predator today, not a major event. The UCAV would also be stored until required for a live exercise or combat operations, and would be airlifted into the theater of operations in its storage container.

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End of non-subscriber extract

Friday, 23 July 2004

Foreign Military Studies Office Publications - "Soft Log" and Concrete Canyons: Russian Urban Combat Logistics in Grozny

Foreign Military Studies Office Publications - "Soft Log" and Concrete Canyons: Russian Urban Combat Logistics in Grozny
Logistics may be assumed to be easier for urban areas, but not so, as seen in this paper.


“Soft Log” and Concrete Canyons: Russian Urban Combat Logistics in Grozny

by Mr. Lester W. Grau
and Mr. Timothy L. Thomas
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

This paper appeared in the October 1999 issue of Marine Corps Gazette

...logistics make up as much as nine tenths of the business of war, and ...the mathematical problems involved in calculating the movements and supply of armies are...not unworthy of a Leibnitz or a Newton.

Martin Van Creveld1

Although logistics is a major concern of warfare, comparatively little has been written about logistics when compared to writings about the tactical and strategic aspects of various wars. As a subset, very little has been written about logistical support of urban combat. One historic precept of urban combat logistics is that ammunition expenditure increases dramatically when fighting in cities. Recent Russian experience in fighting for the Chechen capital city of Grozny in January/February 1995 demonstrated that ammunition resupply was not the only problem. Demands on maintenance, supply, transport and medical support surpassed the capabilities of TO&E logistics units. Logistics demands were further increased by the requirement to provide humanitarian relief during the course of the fighting..

Russian tactics, techniques and operational concepts for urban combat were based on their broad experience in the Great Patriotic War [World War II]. There were three underlying assumptions that shaped the Soviet/Russian concept of future urban combat. First, urban combat would be fought in nearly "empty" foreign cities where the bulk of the local civilian populace had left. Second, that the enemy force in the city would be a conventional military force. Third, that the army would have a period of conventional combat to fully develop procedures and identify problems before it began that most-difficult mission-- fighting in a city. None of these assumptions proved correct in the fighting in Grozny. The civilians had no place to go and did not expect such extreme fighting, so they sat tight while the fighting engulfed the city. The Russian Army, as the sole government representative, was expected to provide food, shelter, clean water, sewage, electricity, and medical treatment to the civilians (who were citizens of the Russian Federation). The Russian TO&E combat service support units were barely able to sustain the Russian Army, let alone the large civilian populace, due to the increased demands of urban combat. It was beyond their capability and the civilians suffered. Eventually, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) helped restore these facilities.

January 1995. Russian troops and tanks make an assault river crossing over the Sunzha River in the city of Grozny.
Russian troops and tanks make an assault river crossing over the Sunzha River in the city of Grozny

Russian urban war-fighting concepts were designed for fighting against another conventional army. The Chechen opposition were primarily guerrillas and irregulars backed by a small, fledgling regular force. The Chechens conducted a mobile "occasional" defense. They would hold one strong point one day and another on the next. The only exception was the Presidential Palace in the middle of the city which they defended continually. Therefore, the Russian Army would stockpile supplies and munitions for projected attacks, but the attacks would frequently fall on empty buildings (or worse, buildings full of civilians). The enemy had moved, sometimes to the rear of the advancing Russian Army. This made it very difficult to direct combat service support to the critical sector in time. The Russian Army wanted to fight a linear battle, but the Chechen opposition made them fight a nonlinear battle. The Russian logistics units were unprepared for this.

The Russian Army began the fight in the capital city of Grozny-a modern city of 490,000 people mostly living in concrete and brick high-rise apartment buildings (an area over 100 square miles). The city is served by a major rail line, airfield and is on a major highway net. Intercity movement relied on buses, trams, and private automobiles. Large factories and chemical plants competed with the oil industry for labor. A major oil and gas pipeline passes through the city. It is a difficult place for any army to begin a campaign.

Establishing the Theater Logistics Structure

The conscript-based Russian Army that entered the break-away Republic of Chechnya in December 1994 was not prepared for the fight. There was not a single combat-ready division in the entire Russian force structure. Their deployed force was a composite grouping of various units that were rapidly cobbled together. The logistics units were equally in bad shape and were hurriedly assembled for the effort.2 To further complicate logistics support, the ground campaign against the city of Grozny was mounted on three separate axes-from the west, northwest and east.3 (Map) The fight for the city lasted one month and clean-up operations took another month. The city was left in ruins.


Still, the Russian military planners and transportation personnel did an excellent job in assembling the composite force from all over Russia. Almost all the force and supplies initially traveled on rail or aircraft. Since Chechnya is part of Russia, the logistics build-up was founded on the existing logistics infrastructure of the North Caucasus Military District. The majority of the logistics support facilities and units were positioned near the Mozdok garrison. Mozdok has a good railhead and airfield and is located some 110 kilometers from Grozny. The Russian rear services built a tent city with some 3,000 heated tents, 114 mess halls, shower and bath units and vehicle wash points. The rear services also brought a shower and laundry train forward to Mozdok.4 Long-haul was by rail and air and soon depots, supply dumps and supply points were established at Mozdok extending toward Grozny. Three truck LOCs were established-one per main axis. Vehicle refueling points with rest stops containing mess tents and heating tents were set up along the LOCs.5 Trucks were essential to move supplies from the airfield and railhead forward toward Grozny.

Food Service

The fighting for Grozny began on New Years's Eve 1994. Chechnya is mountainous and the winters are cold and snowy. The planners decided to provide 150% of the normal ration to each soldier. This would exceed 5000 calories and included a daily 300 grams [10.5 ounces] of meat, 50 grams [1.75 ounces] of heavy cream and 30 grams [1.05 ounces] of cheese. Field bakeries were established on each of the main axes at Mozdok, Vladikavkaz and Kizlyar. Later, when the north Grozny airfield was captured, the Russians positioned three field bakeries there-with a daily capacity of eighteen tons of bread.6 There should have been plenty of food for every soldier.

However, the Russians had trouble delivering rations to the forward fighting positions. Meals were prepared on the KP-125 and KP-130 mess trailers. These are very serviceable cooking units which are hauled by the ZIL-130 or GAZ-66 trucks. However, when the ground around Grozny thawed, these trucks could not haul their mess trailers through the soupy mud. Then, the only way to haul the mess trailers forward was behind fuel or water trucks. Fuel trucks could not enter the city, since a single bullet might set the entire vehicle ablaze, so mess trailers often got no further than the outskirts of the city. Therefore, the food had to be ladled into mermite-type containers, which were then loaded into armored personnel carriers for transport into the city.7 This absence of "hard log" transportation was a constant problem.

Cold breakfast before combat.
Cold breakfast before combat

Often the troops at the forward positions had to eat dry rations.8 These dry rations did not provide the minimum daily required amount of calories or vitamins.9 Often, the troops that needed the extra calories the most were not even getting the minimum daily requirement. Thus, the initial plan to provide 5,000 calories per day went widely astray, primarily due to inadequate transport.10

High-demand Items:

Besides small arms ammunition, front-line infantry used copious amounts of hand grenades, smoke grenades, smoke pots, demolition charges, flame thrower rounds, RPG-7 rounds and single-shot disposable antitank grenade launchers. Tear gas grenades were often required at certain points on the battlefield and had to be pushed forward. The front line infantry also had an immediate need for quantities of grappling hooks and ropes, light-weight ladders and night vision equipment. Many of these items were delivered by emergency airlift to Mozdok. Where there was a shortage of night-vision equipment, the Russians used mounted and dismounted searchlights to illuminate the battlefield and dazzle the Chechen opposition.11

Mortars produced the most casualties on both sides and HE and smoke mortar ammunition was always in demand. Artillery was also used, often in a direct fire role. One-fifth of the artillery ammunition fired was smoke or white phosphorous-consequently these were high-demand items. Smoke screened infantry movement and white phosphorus smoke had the additional advantage (or disadvantage) of being lethal, capable of penetrating existing protective mask filters and not being banned by any international conventions.12

One of the most effective Russian weapons in city fighting was the venerable ZSU 23-4--a lightly-armored self-propelled antiaircraft gun whose four 23mm barrels spat out up to 3,200 rounds per minute. The elevation and deflection of the system, as with its modern equivalent, the 2S6, provided an excellent counter-gunner weapon for city fighting. However, keeping the ZSU 23-4 and the 2S6 in 23mm and 30mm ammunition was a constant problem.13

Clean drinking water was a high-demand item, but delivery of clean water forward often proved too difficult. Individual water treatment panticides took too long to work. Fighting is thirsty work and soldiers drank what was available. Viral hepatitis and cholera were the result.14

POL was critical as the Russians used over 200,000 tons of POL during the battle for Grozny. Captured POL stocks proved very useful to the Russian ground forces. A major problem was moving the POL stocks up close to the units in contact.15

Transportation Support

Primary heavy-lift long-haul into the theater was on rail. Railroad troops had to restore 260 kilometers of track, clear mines from another 70 kilometers, repair switches and restore electric power to electric rail lines. Trains had to be protected as they came under mortar, artillery and sniper fire.16

Air transport played a significant role in the long-haul of men and supplies. High demand items were almost always shipped by air. Practically the entire Russian Military Transport Aviation (VTA), plus some commercial aviation was involved in supporting the effort.

In theater, truck transport was essential. During the short preparation period (11-30 December 1994), 2,850 long-haul trucks supported the ground forces. Of these 90 had serious break-downs and 83 were written off as non-economically repairable. During the battle for Grozny, the long-haul truck requirement for ground forces increased to 6,700 trucks.17 Controlling all this traffic was a problem. The Russians had forgotten about their Afghanistan experience where the Soviet 40th Army had a traffic control brigade assigned to control convoys. Consequently, the Russians had to assemble an ad hoc traffic control brigade at the same time that they were conducting a major operation.18 Traffic control is just one example of where the lack of adequate time in the preparation phase can cripple the entire effort. Getting logistics in place and ready takes time. Political leaders did not give that time to the Russian Army.

Writing a letter home during the fighting in Grozny.
Writing a letter home during the fighting in Grozny

The fighting in Grozny highlighted several problems. Supply trucks were soft-skinned, not rugged enough and could not be exposed to urban combat. One of the major problems supplying forward forces was that trucks could only go forward to a certain point. Then all the cargo had to be trans-loaded onto BTRs, MTLBs or other armored vehicles. The armored vehicles were not designed primarily for carrying cargo and had to make several trips to haul a single truck's load. This meant that the combat commander lost the use of many, if not most of his armored combat vehicles for combat. They were busy hauling ammunition, food and water or serving as ambulances. There was a chronic need for an armored supply vehicle which could move right up to the forces in contact.19

Connected with this problem was the lack of load carrying racks on the outside of Russian armored vehicles. Tents, sleeping bags, kit bags, squad stoves and the like were carried in the supply trucks. The trucks could not get forward and there was no place to carry soldiers' gear on or in the armored vehicles. As a result, combatants had to do without individual gear for days at a time.

Rearming and refueling combat vehicles was particularly difficult. It usually had to be done at night. Rearming and refueling on site meant that lots of soldiers carried fuel cans and ammunition boxes forward-a long, arduous and hazardous process. Withdrawing vehicles, particularly tanks, to rearm and refuel is also difficult.20 Forward-deployed troops did not always get the word that their supporting armor was being withdrawn only for rearming and refueling, sometimes misinterpreting a withdrawal of tanks as part of a general withdrawal.


Maintenance requirements exceeded expected maintenance norms for conventional combat during the two-month urban fight.21 Armored vehicle maintenance was especially critical and unit maintenance officers tried to keep control of their vehicles and repair as many vehicles as possible at regiment or brigade level. Still, during the two-month fight, forward support maintenance repaired some 217 armored vehicles, depot maintenance repaired some 404 armored vehicles and 225 vehicles were written off as being non-repairable. Thus some 846 of 2,221 armored vehicles involved in the fight (38%) were out of action for some period of time-although not simultaneously.22 Combined with the armored vehicles detailed for supply runs and medical evacuations, some combat commanders were lucky to have 40% of their armored vehicles present for combat.

In order to meet increased maintenance demands, the Russians formed three separate maintenance battalions and two maintenance detachments in addition to the deployed TO&E units.23 The Russians established collection and repair points on each axis. In the west, the rear point was in Vladikavkaz while the forward was located near the trains of an airborne division. In the north, the rear point was in Mozdok while the forward was with the trains of a motorized rifle brigade. In the east, the Russians established three forward collection and repair points-with the trains of a motorized rifle division, an airborne regiment and a motorized rifle regiment.24 During the month of January 1995, forward support and depot maintenance repaired 1,286 vehicles and returned them to their units. These included 404 armored vehicles, 789 wheeled vehicles and 75 artillery pieces. Maintenance personnel evacuated another 259 damaged armored vehicles from Grozny during January fighting. Due to the complexity of fire control systems, automatic reloading systems, electric systems and communications systems, 26% of some types of armored vehicles had to be repaired by factory representatives.25

Combat damage and equipment failure was not the only maintenance problem. Money was not available to repair many vehicles prior to the war and so 646 "hanger queens" were shipped into the theater. All these 646 vehicles ( 338 wheeled vehicles, 217 armored vehicles and 41 artillery pieces) had to be repaired prior to the initiation of combat. Maintenance demands exceeded norms to such a degree that 573 tons of armored vehicle spare parts and accessories, 605 tons of wheeled vehicle spare parts and accessories and 60 tons of artillery spare parts and accessories had to be brought into theater to supplement the on-hand repair parts.26 As a result of its poor performance and high fuel consumption during the fighting in Grozny, the Russian high command canceled production of the gas-turbine engine for the T-80 tank.27

Medical Support

Russian Army care of the wounded was usually well planned and executed once the patient reached the battalion aid station. Three weeks prior to the Russian incursion, the Russian Army established and trained special emergency medical treatment detachments in each military district. Four of these detachments deployed to Chechnya to support the maneuver units and supplement their TO&E medical units.28

The Russians utilized their normal conventional war evacuation system and usually employed ground medical evacuation as the quickest and safest form of evacuation. Each maneuver company was reinforced with a physician's assistant and each maneuver battalion had a medical doctor plus the ambulance section. Surgeons, anesthetists and additional nurses manned the regimental medical post.29 Wounded were normally evacuated to the regimental medical post by make-shift armored ambulances (BTR-80), since the Chechens fired on the soft-sided ambulances. Forward medical stations and hospitals needed to be dug in or deployed in basements as the Chechens also shelled these. Patients requiring more extensive medical care were evacuated by MEDEVAC helicopter and MEDEVAC aircraft.30 Forward air evacuation was not used much, particularly after the Chechens shot down several MEDEVAC helicopters. The fighting in Grozny proved the need for a specially-designed armored ambulance.31

Evacuation the wounded.
Evacuation the wounded

City fighting produced a different percentage of casualty types. Red Cross statistics for limited conflicts usually reflect 23% wounded from mines, 26% from bullets, 46% from shrapnel, 2% from burns and 3% miscellaneous. In the city fighting of Grozny, however, there was a higher percentage of burns and the majority of wounds were caused by mortar fire. The majority of those who were killed or died from wounds were hit in the head and chest by sniper fire (particularly among the civilians who did not have flak jackets and helmets). Whereas the normal ratio of wounded to killed is 3:1 or 4:1, this was reversed in the Grozny city fighting where three were killed for every wounded. [This ratio is probably skewed and reflects that many of the wounded could not be reached and given first aid in time. The actual initial ratio was probably closer to 2:1 wounded to killed.] Snipers presented a problem for medical evacuation and frequently the wounded could not be evacuated until night fall.32

The Russian Army record in disease prevention was nowhere near as impressive as their handling of the wounded. Russian soldiers frequently lacked clean drinking water, clean clothing, hot rations and washing facilities. Personnel suffered from viral hepatitis, cholera, shigellosis, enterocolitis, diptheria, malignant anthrax and plague. One combat brigade had 240 simultaneous cases of viral hepatitis. Since Russian field units were down to 60% strength or less at this time, a brigade would be lucky to muster 1,500 personnel. Over 15% of this one brigade was down with hepatitis. The brigade was combat ineffective due to disease and contaminated water was the main culprit. Bacilli from the human intestinal tract were present in 60 to 80% of dishwater tested. Some 4% of the sick worked in food handling or water distribution.33

Russian civillian, wounded in a mortar attack, is evacuated from a jelly factory.
Russian civillian, wounded in a mortar attack, is evacuated from a jelly factory

Psychiatric casualties are higher in urban combat. Most of the fighting in Chechnya was in cities (first in Grozny and then a succession of smaller cities and finally towns). A Russian military psychiatrist conducted a survey of 1,312 soldiers during the combat.34 Soldiers surveyed were still capable of performing combat functions. The survey found that 28% were healthy and the other 72% had some type of psychological disorder (46% exhibited depression; a weak, apathetic or retarded motor state; or simple insomnia). Other disorders in the 46% included a lack of motivation, high anxiety, neuro-emotional stress, tiredness, and hypochondriacal fixation or panic attacks. The other 26% exhibited psychotic reactions such as high anxiety or aggressiveness, and a deterioration of moral values or interpersonal relations, excitement or acute depression. About 40% of the soldiers screened demonstrated a lack of neuro-psychological stability. The longer a soldier was stationed in the war zone, the more radical the change in his neuro-psychological condition. The percentage of troops with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) was higher than in Afghanistan-reflecting the impact of urban combat.35

The Russians noted that they should have rotated units frequently to allow the soldiers to bathe, sleep, train and readjust. This would have required much larger reserves than were available and would create an additional logistics load. The Russians recommended that future urban combat include more psychiatric support-including professionals who would work forward in the units.36

Prisoners and Detainees

Separating combatant from non-combatant was a difficult problem for the Russian armed forces. They began by simply examining suspects for bruises in the pocket of the shoulder to see if they had fired a weapon and looking for powder or burn marks on suspects' forearms and shirt cuffs. By the second month, the Russian internal troops resorted to a simpler method-rounding up most Chechen males and putting them in "filtration" camps. The camps were designed to identify and separate those Chechens who had possibly fought against the Russians from peaceful civilians. Prisoner gathering and maintaining filtration camps, run by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), required a considerable amount of vehicles, food, POL, water and security support-much of which apparently came from Ministry of Defense assets. The Russians were not prepared to handle the mass of prisoners. As a consequence, the prisoner situation was so disordered that the International Red Cross had difficulty locating camps and found it impossible to trace individual prisoners.37

Handing Off Support to Government and Non-Government Agencies

The Russian Armed Forces could not simultaneously fight and restore food delivery, sewers, water processing, public health and public services in the city. This task was eventually handled by the Ministry of Emergency Situations-EMERCOM. EMERCOM is the successor to the Soviet Union's civil defense organization. It is a rough equivalent to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency-FEMA.

EMERCOM managed to do a great deal to restore vital services to Grozny. The EMERCOM technical directorate dispatched their epidemic prevention service which monitored/inspected food supplies; performed bacteriological testing on the sick; conducted disinfection, disinfestation and rat control in the city; educated the public on health issues; and restored Chechnya's epidemiological and health centers. They also set up water distribution points at three hospitals; equipped three bathing facilities for patients and medical personnel; removed fallen debris and regular garbage; put three hospital cafeterias back in order; delivered medical and equipment and drugs; provided all hospitals with a fully-equipped ambulance; restored a maternity center; and provided 190 oil heaters.

EMERCOM technical services further restored more than 50 kilometers of high-voltage power lines; restored three heat and power plants; and set up eight diesel electric stations and repaired another. They restored 5331 meters of gas lines; delivered gas to 34 high-rise apartment buildings and 21 private buildings; and restored a gas distribution point in the center of Grozny. They set up a field bakery and delivered bread-making ingredients.

Finally, EMERCOM cleared mines from five water pumping and purification stations; performed engineer and medical reconnaissance of water sources; set up water collection stations on the Sunzha River; provided emergency repair to water and sewage systems, and restored 21 damaged segments on major waterlines on eleven streets. EMERCOM also inspected and tested Grozny's radioactive and chemical sites; testing fifteen dangerous inter-agency sites and exchanged NBC information with the Interior Ministry.38

Beginning in January 1995, EMERCOM assisted U.N. agency assessment efforts to help displaced persons. As a result, the UN issued a "Flash Appeal" for immediate assistance in February. The appeal requested 25.1 million dollars for shelter, water, sanitation, food, health, community services, distressed children and support.39 Expected donors included the U.N. High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Migration Organization (IOM). Although all the requested aid was not given, these organizations eventually aided some 220,000 people (200,000 from Chechnya, and the rest from North Ossetia plus some from Georgia). Further, The International Red Cross distributed some 250,000 food packages monthly, established a soup kitchen in Grozny, reopened a hospital in Grozny and opened a "contact service" where people could apply to reestablish contact with lost relatives and friends.40


The Russian Army was poorly prepared for combat in Grozny. It muddled through and even improved somewhat over time. However, the lessons learned from its combat are not limited to the Russian Army, but apply to any modern, mechanized force fighting a determined enemy in a city. The logistics lessons also apply. Urban combat will demand increased amounts of ammunition and special equipment, yet a major problem will be getting the supplies forward to where they are needed. There is a need for a rugged, armored supply/medical evacuation vehicle and a better way of rearming and refueling combat vehicles in the forward area.

There are no empty cities and the ground commander should conduct contingency planning in case he must care for the needs of the civilian population and restore critical services. The military commander may become the defacto city manager and should be prepared to keep the civilian populace alive and healthy, should this be required. To limit the time spent in this area, the commander should learn to work effectively with other government and non-government agencies. This means that a higher percentage of combat service support personnel may be needed before combat begins. Rail and air transport are critical to the logistics effort. Port and rail rehabilitation units may need to be among the first units into an urban theater.

Currently, logistics units in many armies are insufficiently staffed and equipped for urban combat. Urban combat greatly stresses ammunition, water, food and POL resupply. Maintenance demands greatly increase during urban combat. Vehicle evacuation/obstacle clearance will be an essential engineer/maintenance task. Factory representatives will need to accompany the force, additional maintenance units are needed and additional spare parts will need to be on hand prior to the initiation of combat. An aggressive screening program is required to keep "hanger queens" out of the theater.

Medical support will also require reinforcement and preventative medicine will play a major role in preserving the force as water-borne diseases are very dangerous to the well-being of the force. Mortar wounds, burns and psychiatric trauma increase dramatically in urban combat.

None of these are exclusively Russian problems and observations. Actually, the Russian logistics services performed reasonably well considering the monumental handicaps they had to overcome. The extensive logistics system designed in the Soviet era was no longer in place and the Russian Army did not have a viable replacement. Logisticians had just over a two-week build-up phase with no logistics rehearsals. [The Soviet Army conducted six major exercises to prepare for the invasion of Prague in 1968. Logistics rehearsals were an essential element of these exercises.41] The political masters gave the commanders no time to develop the theater, although there was no military reason to hurry. The logistics units were often composite units cobbled together on site. There were few habitual relationships among the participating staffs. Equipment was often broken on arrival. The logisticians were supporting a battle for which the planning norms were outdated. They were faced with the challenge of caring for a large civilian populace while other Government and non-Government agencies, which could help deal with this problem, were slow to arrive. Yet, Russian logisticians adapted to their shortcomings and provided adequate support under very trying circumstances. Other armies would be wise to study the difficulties they encountered and adjust accordingly.

Friday, 16 July 2004

Realistic training environment part of 53rd Inf. Brigade's CPX

Florida Guardsman Online - Realistic training environment part of 53rd Inf. Brigade's CPX
Realistic training for a unit preparing to leave for actual operations.
It ‘adds a little emphasis’ to this year's annual training, says commander

By Jon Myatt

Department of Military Affairs

CAMP BLANDING JTC (May 20) -- Outwardly, Camp Blanding looks like most U. S. Army installations in the United States. But after the 10-minute drive from the main cantonment area downrange to the 53rd Infantry Brigade's tactical operations center, you would have trouble identifying the location of this "battlefield."

It is a serene setting and, except for the sound of power generators humming in the background, would be hard to notice if passing by. Tucked into a small grove of trees off a dirt road, away from the hustle and bustle of the main post, is the brigade's tactical operations center, or "TOC." Camouflaged and secured behind a network of trenches and bull-dozed embankments, encircled by concertina wire and guarded by soldiers, the "TOC" is the hub of activity around which the whole military operation functions. It is almost identical to similar headquarters in Afghanistan and Iraq, or for that matter, anywhere the US Army operates in the world.

It is obvious to the observer that something is happening here. Soldiers travelling to and away from the complex have a sense of purpose. There is seriousness and a sense of urgency in their actions. To the uninitiated, it would be difficult to tell that this was only a training exercise.

But today, it is an exercise.

Realism, combined with a healthy dose of combat experience and the impending deployment of the brigade combat team to Afghanistan next year, is adding "a little more emphasis" and urgency to this year's annual training, according to Col. John Perryman, the brigade's commander.

Perryman, a second generation Florida Guardsman, exudes confidence in his soldiers and the upcoming mission to southwest Asia. While he attributes some of his feelings to the transformation of the Army Guard he has seen in his 27 years career as a soldier and leader, the primary reason he says his soldiers are ready is caused by current events.

"The training guidance we received from the Adjutant General and other (senior commands) has validated the things we've been doing in the past year and it adds realism to the exercise, of course," he says. But what "really adds realism and a little more emphasis to the soldier is because, by the calendar, what we're doing out here with blanks and lasers, in 15 months, we'll be going down range and doing with real bullets."

The danger of improvised explosive devices, vulnerability during convoys, and other threats to his soldiers in an operation of this magnitude is not lost on them, he says.

"Protecting the force is always at the top of the list of priorities, we can't accomplish any mission without protecting the personnel and resources to do it with, so our ability to sustain our combat operations is critical," Perryman said. "It’s priority one, and everything we do emanates from there."

And the brigade is fortunate in that regard, he says, having so many combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Roughly 1,500 of them, members of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the 124th Infantry, are members of his brigade, though he has brought only about 100 of them to the field for this training exercise. They are an example of the professionalism of the force, he explained, since they are all volunteers who wanted to bring their personal experience to the exercise and to help those leaders and soldiers for whom next year's operation in Afghanistan will be their first overseas deployment.

This week the brigade had a two-fold purpose, he said. "For the staffs, we’ve focused the CPX (command post exercise) on the synchronization of all the battlefield information systems -- the flow of information and analysis of information. For the units in the field, their focus has been on force protection measures -- convoy operations, local security, and force protection -- those tasks that they'll have to be proficient in when they deploy to Afghanistan next year."

With extensive news media coverage of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past two years, many of the brigade's soldiers expected to be called up to participate, he said.

"For some time we've sort of anticipated that we might get a mission to Afghanistan," Perryman said. "All of our training focus and much of the work our staff is doing is geared toward those tasks and our priorities that are based on the lessons learned from theater operations and the experience of our three battalions that just returned.

"I've got no doubt at all that the soldiers of this brigade can accomplish the mission," he said. "They're trained, they're motivated – it’s really been encouraging to me as I've gone around and talked to the troops -- they are overwhelmingly looking forward to getting engaged with it.

"While there's obviously some apprehension, as one would expect, I think the soldiers are pretty charged up about it," he said.

From the looks of things in this operations center on Camp Blanding, Col. Perryman is right on the mark. It is a Saturday night and his brigade is training.

As the springtime sun slowly sinks into the horizon, 1,500 soldiers are training for their mission in the Global War on Terror. For the rest of us…we can hug our children, we can plan for the future, we can sleep well tonight.

Realistic Training for Power Projection

Commentary: Realistic Training for Power Projection
More news & info on realistic training.

Commentary: Realistic Training for Power Projection

by Colonel Gary C. Howard, USAR, and Major Gregory K. Johnson, USAR

In the last decade, the U.S. military has transitioned from a forward-deployed force to one based on power projection from the continental United States. This change in strategy has put a premium on our ability to move soldiers and equipment quickly and to provide training to prepare them for deployment.
Deployment Simulations

The National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, is the Army's premier training center for brigade- and battalion-sized units. For both Active Army and Reserve component units, moving the rotating units to the NTC has become a major driver of reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSO&I) training and other transportation operations. By combining sealift emergency deployment readiness exercises (SEDREs) with support of NTC rotations, the Army can manage its training dollars and get better quality training.

Seaport of debarkation operations, previously carried out notionally in the desert, now are conducted by transportation soldiers at sites in southern California. Pierside discharges at Port Hueneme and San Diego and in-stream discharges and logistics over the shore operations on the beaches at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton have added realism to the training. The Pacific Ocean also provides challenging sailing conditions, with routine sea states of 2 and 3 (wave heights of 2½ to 3 feet).

In September 2000, Exercise Turbo Patriot included the first successful joint logistics-over-the-shore (JLOTS) exercise conducted on the west coast in over 7 years. Over 1,100 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines replicated the deployment of a U.S. force into a degraded port by moving equipment of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, over the beach at Camp Pendleton. The 7th Transportation Group (Composite) from Fort Eustis, Virginia, supervised the discharge from the USNS Seay, a large, medium-speed, roll-on-roll-off ship, onto Army Reserve landing craft, utility, 2000-class vessels and Navy barge ferries. Army Reserve M915 trucks and M872 trailers completed the move to the NTC. The operation also involved container discharge operations from the SS Grand Canyon State, a T-class auxiliary crane ship. The Navy's Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 simulated a fuel delivery from ship to shore. Water, instead of fuel, was delivered over the beach from the SS Chesapeake, a Maritime Pre-positioning Program tanker anchored a few miles offshore. Each of these operations used the latest Army and Navy equipment to add realism to the training.

Operation Native Atlas, held at Camp Pendleton in April, built on Exercise Turbo Patriot with an in-stream discharge of a slice of the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) from Fort Stewart, Georgia. Future exercises likely will add more elements of RSO&I, such as downloading equipment from an Army pre-positioning ship.
Power Projection Simulation

Supporting the units that rotate to the NTC has provided soldiers with outstanding training during the RSO&I phases of a deployment. We believe that similar training synergies exist for the upload phases of SEDRE and NTC rotations. The fact that the commanding general of the Army Forces Command has directed the Army to increase the number of SEDREs from two to four per year in fiscal year 2003 doubles the possible training opportunities next year. The upload phases of SEDRE and NTC rotations could provide excellent mission-essential training for 1,000 soldiers or more.

Training could occur both at the fort and at the port. At the fort, deployment support brigades already help combat units prepare for movement. Cargo transfer companies could load and tie down the equipment on railcars and truck trailers. Line-hauling a portion of the equipment to the port would provide excellent training for motor transport battalions, truck companies, trailer transfer points, and movement control and maintenance support units. Operations at the port would provide training for transportation terminal brigades, port security companies, and cargo documentation detachments.

In particular, we believe it is imperative that regular SEDREs test the ports on the west coast. Critical units deploy through west coast ports. For example, the 1st Corps and interim brigade combat teams (IBCTs) deploy from Fort Lewis, Washington, through Seattle, and the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment and Army National Guard enhanced brigades deploy from Fort Carson, Colorado, through Oakland, California. In spite of those facts, the upload phase of a SEDRE has not been exercised at a west coast port in years.

We also recommend that retrograde missions from NTC rotations be examined for training value. The retrograde phase offers large-scale load-ups especially well suited for training transportation terminal brigades and deployment support brigades. Currently, the equipment is transported back to home stations commercially. Of course, only a few years ago, the equipment was hauled by commercial transportation to the notional seaport of debarkation in the desert as well.

Combining SEDREs with NTC rotations has enhanced the training benefits greatly to both warfighters and support organizations while maximizing training dollars. It is critical that we continue to look for ways to enhance Active Army and Reserve component unit readiness by getting the most out of existing facilities and funded training. We believe this concept can be expanded to provide similar high-quality training to a variety of Active Army and Reserve component combat and combat service support units on the power-
projection half of the equation.

Colonel Gary C. Howard, USAR, commands the 1397th Transportation Terminal Brigade at Mare Island, California. His Army Reserve career has encompassed 10 units in 4 states. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College. He has a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University and is a senior scientific editor for an independent biomedical research institute that is affiliated with the University of California.

Major Gregory K. Johnson, USAR, is the S3 of the 1397th Terminal Transportation Brigade at Mare Island, California. He has held significant positions in Army National Guard and Army Reserve units in Pennsylvania and California. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College. He has a B.S. degree in civil engineering from Bucknell University and an M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a real estate executive in Seattle, Washington.

Realistic Training vs. Magic Bullets

FBI Publications- Law Enforcement Bulletin - February 1997 issue - Realistic Training vs. Magic Bullets
A interesting FBI article that argues the same point as the realistic training article by opswarfare.
Controlling Subjects: Realistic Training vs. Magic Bullets
By Samuel D. Faulkner, M.A. and Larry P. Danaher

Mr. Faulkner is an instructor at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Lieutenant Danaher serves with the Lafayette, Indiana, Police Department.

Police administrators should stress realistic training over "magic bullets" to control subjects. Researchers once monitored the behavior of a group of young school children. When placed in a large field with no boundaries, the children tended to huddle together and play in close proximity. When the researchers conducted similar sessions with the same type of children in a fenced-in area, the children played in a much more relaxed manner, using the entire area inside of the boundaries.

In some ways, the law en-forcement community behaves like the children in the open field. Society tasks the police with maintaining order and controlling resistive behavior without providing them the benefit of clear-cut parameters from which to operate. As a result, the police routinely engage in a search for direction and guidance. Unsure of where they should be, they group together around a common area of accepted practices. Nowhere is the search for boundaries more intense than in questions on the proper use of force.

However, a journey started in the wrong direction rarely ends in success. In its search for the perfect nonlethal means to control resistive subjects, the law enforcement community often finds itself embarking on the wrong course, looking for easy answers that do not exist. After nearly a quarter-century of concerted effort in this area, only one thing seems clear: No magic bullet exists that will control every subject in every situation.

Rather than wait in false hope for the next sure-fire solution, law enforcement administrators may consider approaching the problem from a different angle. Training should incorporate what many officers have already learned the hard way. No device or physical maneuver guarantees 100 percent success when confronting subjects. Therefore, training should provide officers with various methods to address combative subjects and surprise assaults. It then should prepare officers to be flexible in their responses to confrontations.


The earliest training efforts focused on teaching officers physical maneuvers that would allow them to control subjects. Over the years, physical response has evolved-in name at least-from hand-to-hand combat to unarmed self-defense to defensive tactics, and most recently, to subject control.

Martial artists taught the first defense classes. While proficient in their craft, these instructors possessed no clear concept of escalating force. This is understandable enough-offensive moves in the martial arts are performed for one of three reasons: to kill, maim, or cripple. In the majority of situations where officers confront resistive subjects, such a response is not acceptable. Departments that could not secure the services of a karate or judo instructor often hired former boxers or wrestlers to conduct physical encounter training. Like their counterparts in the martial arts, these instructors may have possessed a great deal of proficiency in their fields, but their training had little in common with the mission of the police.


Perhaps inevitably, the shortcomings of such physical training led to the development of a more advanced array of devices designed to assist officers in controlling subjects. In 1971, responding to the burgeoning growth in this market, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a report entitled "Non-lethal Weapons for Law Enforcement: Research Needs and Priorities."1 Researchers examined all types of less-than-lethal weapons and found none that fully satisfied their criteria. The report went on to cite the development of electrical or chemical weapons as the greatest short-term priority to augment traditional police weapons.

However, the report cautioned that prior to the introduction of such devices into police arsenals, research should be conducted into the "potentially hazardous physiological effects they might have on human body systems and sensitive areas."2 The report also called for refining and improving the nightstick and developing sublethal ammunition for police shotguns. In short, the DOJ report provided suggestions for meeting the changing needs of the police but confirmed that nothing then on the market satisfied those needs. Twenty-five years later-despite many heralded advancements-no device has emerged that meets all of these needs all of the time.


Three years after publication of the DOJ report on nonlethal weapons, a text titled Patrol Administration featured a write-up on a new device available to law enforcement officers. The notice proclaimed mace as a breakthrough into "a new era in police weaponry."3 In the ensuing years, mace would be billed as a humane, yet effective, alternative to police weapons such as the nightstick and the service revolver. While some manufacturers claimed that mace reduced assaults on police officers by as much as 50 percent and lowered complaints of police brutality by 80 percent, time and experience proved these claims to be wildly exaggerated.

In 1988, a paper titled "Use-of-Force Tactics and Nonlethal Weapons" discussed the strengths and weaknesses of chemical agents, including mace.4 On the positive side, the paper cited these devices as being inexpensive and requiring little officer training or physical contact with subjects. At the same time, researchers identified the following shortcomings:

--Chemical agents might not be effective on mentally disturbed individuals or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol --Some individuals become more combative when sprayed --A potentially dangerous lag time exists between application and effect --Individuals with preexisting respiratory conditions may suffer serious medical problems --Sprays can seriously irritate the eyes --Subtle changes in wind direction may place officers in jeopardy --Sprays may cause discom-fort or harm to innocent bystanders.

These deficiencies led to several court cases initiated against departments by individuals who claimed serious or permanent harm after being sprayed with mace.5 The search for the perfect device to control subjects continued.


In many ways, electric tasers represented a sharp departure from tear gas, mace, and other chemical-based agents used by law enforcement-if for no other reason than that wind direction does not alter the effectiveness of the taser. A paper published in 1991 titled "Nonlethal Weapons vs. Conventional Police Tactics: The Los Angeles Police Department Experience" made a strong case for the taser, stating that field tests proved the device could "immediately incapacitate" even violent suspects under the influence of mind-altering drugs.6 The author asserted that speculation that the taser can induce a heart attack or cause burns is "based upon the human fear of electricity." Still, the author cited seven cases in which suspects died after being exposed to the taser.7

While medical authorities believe that the device contributed to only one of the deaths, the taser has fallen out of use in many departments for various reasons, including the potential for accidental death. Another reason departments cite for discontinuing use of tasers-or for not authorizing their use at all-is the close proximity required between officer and subject for the effective application of the weapon.

When applied, tasers often leave burn marks on subjects and are not, in fact, effective in many situations. The Rodney King incident represents perhaps the most widely witnessed failure of any tool used to control a single subject. King could not be subdued immediately, despite repeated taser applications and baton blows. Police officers across America could relate similar, but less publicized, incidents.

Nonlethal Projectiles

A tragic incident on August 28, 1992, shattered the myth of the nonlethal projectile. When deputies from the Prince George's County, Maryland, Sheriff's Department attempted to serve psychiatric evaluation papers to a 61-year-old woman, they were chased out by the woman who wielded a large butcher knife. The deputies obtained judicial authorization for a forced entry and returned to the woman's home an hour later. When the woman again came at the deputies with a knife, they fired one rubber, supposedly nonlethal, projectile. After being struck in the abdomen, the woman retreated to her living room and collapsed. Doctors pronounced her dead at a hospital a short time later.

By every indicator, the deputies responded to a very threatening situation with restraint and acted in accordance with their department's guidelines. Still, the incident ended in tragedy. In a statement released after the incident, the department seemed to confirm what a growing number of officers knew: "The perfect weapon does not exist." Non-lethal projectiles "...can be lethal under certain circumstances."8

Pepper Spray

During the past several years, aerosol agents made a strong return to the market. Unlike mace, the newest products on the block-most notably pepper spray (oleoresin capsicum)-are organically, rather than chemically, based. However, the claims coming from various sources had a familiar ring. These natural, organic products would control everyone but injure no one. Facing rising crime rates and reduced public funding, the law enforcement community quickly embraced pepper spray as a low-cost method to control subjects.

Many departments placed such belief in the product that they allowed officers to use the device at the first sign of resistance. In some jurisdic-tions, subjects did not have to indicate a threat of harm toward officers or others but could be sprayed if verbally uncooperative. Unfortunately, as the use of pepper spray increased, so, too, grew the list of injuries reported and the number of cases in which the aerosol agent failed to subdue offenders. On July 11, 1993, an officer from the Concord, North Carolina, Police Department sprayed a 24-year-old male charged with disorderly conduct. After being sprayed, the subject complained of respiratory difficulty and then collapsed. Officers drove the man to the police station where he was found to be unresponsive. He was pronounced dead a short time later. After the autopsy, the medical examiner issued the following statement: "In my opinion, the cause of death in this case is asphyxia due to bronchospasm precipitated by inhalation of pepper spray."9

Just 3 months later, a 34-year-old man died of cardiac arrest after officers subdued him with pepper spray. In January 1994, a 37-year-old man being committed for psychiatric care by his family became violent. When police officers arrived, they chose to use pepper spray to subdue the subject rather than using more aggressive control measures. The subject died a short time later at an area hospital.10

As a result of these incidents, many departments collected cans of pepper spray and banned use of the product that they had so optimistically distributed to their officers just a short time earlier. Such a reaction may cross the line into overreaction. There is nothing necessarily wrong with pepper spray; nor was its use in these three incidents necessarily inappropriate. The problem lies in the fact that departments bought the product under false assumptions and allowed it to be used under unrealistic expectations.


The "new and improved" approach is not limited to suppliers of law enforcement products. Training companies often get into the act, claiming that their techniques are better than those of their competitors. As with claims made by product manufacturers, police administrators should be prepared to separate fact from fiction in assessing the value of different training techniques.

Joint Locks

Joint locks have a long history in the martial arts but a somewhat less than sparkling track record in American law enforcement. As practiced in the martial arts, a joint lock is used to disable an opponent's limb.11

In many law enforcement training academies, experts in the martial arts teach cadets and experienced officers the various moves involving joint locks. The theory holds that by using the stimulus of pain in just the right amount, law enforcement officers can alter resistive behavior without causing injury to subjects. This principle gave birth to the "pain compliance" techniques practiced today by many law enforcement agencies.

Problems arise, however, when the original purpose of the joint lock maneuver is expanded beyond its limited capabilities. For instance, when a subject's resistance level and pain threshold are altered by drugs or alcohol or if an officer's commitment level is low, pain compliance techniques often do not produce the desired effect.

Officers who receive minimal training in these techniques in a highly controlled environment hit the streets and soon encounter adversaries who are larger, stronger, younger, and more aggressive than they are. As a result, these officers may be forced to use additional pressure when the moves that worked well in training fail to control subjects in street situations. Ironically, officers could end up in the courtroom when injuries occur despite their efforts to respond at a low force level.

Pressure Points

Like any device or physical maneuver, pressure points-the controlled application of pressure to a specific area of the head-should not be considered the final word on subject control. But pressure points have been used for thousands of years in the martial arts. They also have developed a very successful track record in many American law enforcement agencies.

Recently, however, the use of pressure points has come under attack.12 Most of the charges against pressure points focus on dubious claims concerning the potential for injury to the area of the jaw called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).13

While the possibility for such injury does exist, the likelihood is remote at best. Damage to the TMJ is usually caused by some type of injury to or malfunction of the joint itself, which is located in front of the ear.14 As pressure point maneuvers are taught in departments across the country,15 finger placement is well away from the TMJ. Moreover, pressure is applied in a direction away from the joint, which minimizes the risk of injury.

The issues surrounding pressure points and the recent criticisms leveled against them are not brought up to malign legitimate expressions of concern over the effectiveness of a specific technique. Rather, these issues are presented with a note of caution to law enforcement administrators.

Word of Caution

The police traditionally harbor a healthy sense of skepticism toward changes in accepted practices. This skepticism is generally beneficial and acts to shield law enforcement from ill-conceived or politically driven vacillations. However, administrators also should refrain from forsaking time-proven techniques simply because they hear or read something negative about them. Administrators always should consider the source and search for independent supporting documentation before making a decision.


Law enforcement administrators must learn from the past. An important lesson can be drawn from the search for the perfect means to control subjects. Realistic training that actually prepares officers for the types of encounters they will experience on the streets should be valued over the latest device or maneuver to hit the market.

Three Categories of Assault

In an article in Psychology of Science titled "Cerebral Self Defense," the author divides assaults into three psychological categories: the consent assault, the suspicion assault, and the surprise assault.16 While the training that law enforcement officers receive should prepare them primarily for the third category, the surprise assault, offi-cers should be aware of all three types. The consent assault is the easiest for the mind to process because the victim actually allows the assault to occur. Police officers see this type of assault routinely when responding to domestic disturbance calls. When a female abuse victim declines to press charges against the spouse or boyfriend who has just beaten her, she-for whatever reason-accepts, or consents to, the assault.

In the second type of assault, the suspicion assault, the brain has prior warning of impending danger. Therefore, while the individual may not know precisely what will happen, the brain actively prepares the body for some type of response. When an officer working crowd control learns that a person is carrying a firearm, the officer automatically prepares mentally and physically for a range of responses. If confrontation erupts, the officer will be in a better position to respond correctly.

The third type of confrontation, the surprise assault, is by far the most difficult to which officers respond. This form of assault shocks both the brain and the body. Because the victim has no time to prepare, the body's reactions are basically of a survival nature. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers encounter surprise assaults on a regular basis. Even worse, the training that most officers receive does not provide them with an adequate psychological-physical defense mechanism. This often leads to the failure of de-fensive techniques in actual encounters.

Preparing for Surprises

Of course, it is impossible to be totally prepared for a surprise assault, but proper training can condition officers to reduce stress levels during an assault so that they can respond from a position of control rather than from one of surprise. It is well understood within the law enforcement training community that fine motor skills diminish as stress levels increase.17

The loss of fine motor skills thereby reduces proficiency in defensive tactics that require grabbing, pivoting, completing a series of steps to a technique, or deciding proper amounts of pressure to apply. As adrenaline activates the body's survival mechanisms, an individual loses sensitivity in the hands and feet. Therefore, techniques that seem simple in a training environment may be nearly impossible to execute in a street encounter when officers experience heightened stress levels.

However, most training sessions seldom, if ever, address surprise assault encounters. Today's trainers should strive to teach techniques that better prepare officers to respond to such situations. Defensive maneuvers should be based on gross motor skills that use large muscle groups and follow natural patterns, so that the ability of the officer to execute the moves will not deteriorate as arousal levels increase. Because the first reaction of the body in a surprise assault is to get away from the threat, the best response to teach officers may be momentary disengagement followed by controlled reengagement. While this may violate some long-held training paradigms, such an approach may be more realistic than expecting a startled officer to immediately control a subject on initial contact.


Criminals will not adapt to the needs of law enforcement training; law enforcement training must adapt to the realities that officers face on the streets. The concept of controlling violent subjects without any risk of injury is not only unrealistic, but it has proven to be unsuccessful. However, while it may not be possible for law enforcement officers to eliminate risk, they can act to manage it.

The perfect tool for controlling subjects does not exist and probably will not be discovered in the foreseeable future. Until that day, officers should be trained to rely on their own abilities with the aid of equipment-rather than relying on the equipment itself-to control resistive subjects.

If police administrators rely on the testimonials of equipment and training companies to dictate which tools and techniques are appropriate, then the law enforcement profession faces a dark future. If, however, administrators promote reality-based training that corresponds to the types of situations officers encounter, agencies will enhance the safety of offi-cers and the communities they serve. Reshaping the paradigms within which law enforcement responds to resistive subjects is like placing a fence around the playground. It offers boundaries and guidelines that will benefit all.

Realistic training through paintball

USAFE News Story
Another news story related to realistic training, this one involves the use of paintballs.

By Senior Airman Kenya Shiloh
39th Wing Public Affairs

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (USAFENS) -- Members 39th Security Forces Squadron here are taking their tactical training to a whole new level. Instead of traditional classroom training, they’ve decided to make their training a little more realistic – by using paintballs and inviting their Turkish counterparts to join them for a little “friendly” competition.

The object of this type of training is similar to a normal paintball game. Each team’s objective is to capture the other team’s ammunition; however they run scenarios and tactics they would use during a normal exercise or in a wartime environment.

Turkish and U.S. security forces work along side each other on a daily basis, but this is the first time they’ve had the opportunity train together.

“When the Turkish air force plays with us, we integrate the troops. We usually put two airmen with one Turkish military member on one team and one airman and two Turkish members together on another team,” Staff Sgt. Geoff Dunkelberger, 39th Security Forces Squadron section flight chief, said. “The training helps the U.S. and Turkish forces better understand each other’s tactics and training and improves our overall relationship with the Turkish air force.”

Dunkelberger said their first integrated exercise went very well. He said the TuAF caught on to the object of the game pretty quickly and were tough opponents.

“There was one TuAF member who took out a whole team on his own and captured their ammo. So the next time we go out with them to train. I think a few of our security forces members will be gunning for him to try and beat him. It’s just good, clean competition.”

Paintball is not the only training they receive while they’re out on the obstacle course. During a previous training session, each unit had the opportunity to show their “hardware” with a weapons demonstration, which gave each member a better understanding of when, how and why the other unit uses a particular weapon.

So far, the feedback from security forces and Turkish air force members has been positive. One security forces member said the training was more hands-on and it showed him how important it was to take cover and use the tactics he’s been taught.

“This training is more intense and realistic because when you get shot with a paintball it actually hurts; plus, we were able to use the tactics we were taught and apply them to the scenarios we ran here,” said Senior Airman Happyvalley Patu, a 39th SFS security forces patrolman. “Normally we simulate everything we’re supposed to do, or we use MILES gear. So this is a drastic, yet positive change from what we’re used to doing.”

Military-issued laser engagement system (MILES) gear is more like playing laser tag, when a person is hit, their gear starts buzzing but their not really affected by it, however, with paintball, if a person is hit they can see it as well as feel it.

“When using this type of equipment, you actually have paint balls flying past your head,” Dunkelberger said. “This is as close to bullets as we’re going to get and it teaches members to practice cover, concealment and fire control measures.”

For now, the training is scheduled for at least once a quarter and averages about eight hours at a time. Usually there are at least three flights that compete against each other, except when the Turkish air force joins the training.

“The more we know about each other, our tactics and our weapons usage, the more consistent we are and the better our working relationship with the host nation will be,” Dunkelberger said.

Lt. Col. Gary Essary, 39th SFS commander, brought the paint ball training idea to the attention of the security forces training section.

“The colonel said they did something like this at his last base because it was as close to realistic combat training as we’re going to get,” said Dunkelberger. “We did some research on this and found that many security forces squadrons throughout the Air Force are incorporating this type of training into their curriculums.”

Joint [artillery & close air support] live firing exercise

Fort Sill Joint Close Air Support exercise

Related to the recent discussion on realistic training, a news article about joint live firing exercises, with field artillery and close air support.

opswarfare finds that safety is paramount, but soldiers need to experience operating near artillery and close air support during training instead of facing it for the first time during actual combat.

Live bombs to drop for more realistic training

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Marcia Triggs/Army News Service
Photos by Spc. Matt Meadows/the Cannoneer

WASHINGTON (TRADOC News Service, May 5, 2004) – The home to field artillery, Fort Sill, Okla., is re-instituting Joint live-fire in an exercise this week involving troops from across the country, and is starting a new Joint Fires Course scheduled to debut this fall.

For the first time in about nine years, III Corps Artillery at Fort Sill is hosting a Joint close-air-support live-fire exercise. Soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., parachuted in to open the exercise. Navy F-18 Hornets and Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons will be used to drop ordnance, including the Navy’s MK-83, a 1,000-pound bomb.

“We want to show that we can realistically coordinate and provide fire in support of Joint operations safely,” said Capt. Albert Huang, the operations officer for 212th Field Artillery Brigade.

The exercise, which continues through May 7, will also integrate multiple-launch rocket systems, cannon fires and troops from Fort Hood, Texas, and the Marine Corps, Huang said.

There needs to be interdependence among the different services, said Col. John Haithcock, head of the Joint and Combined Integration Directorate at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center, Fort Sill.

Artillery, the greatest killer on the battlefield, can’t do it alone, Haithcock said. Air and naval gunfire can’t do it all, he added. At any time or place, a person on the ground needs to be able to call for fire and get whatever resources he needs – a ship, artillery or a plane, he said.

In March, Fort Sill also began training on how to employ Joint fires through live exercises at its officer basic course -- training that was suspended after resources were cut and an officer was killed in 1996 by a misguided 500-pound bomb, Haithcock said.

“Close-air-support training was pushed down to the units, but what we found was some units were very good at it and others were not as good,” Haithcock said. “We’ve realized over the years that we need to provide training here at the schoolhouse.”

Haithcock acknowledged that some of the procedures that occurred in 1996 were done incorrectly. Several safety measures have been implemented so that the Joint close-air-support exercise doesn’t turn tragic.

Huang said that a couple of the measures include using trained, experienced observers and pilots during live drops. Air Force forward observers will guide in aircraft to ensure that pilots have properly identified the targets, and the Army and Marine Corps observers will call in the artillery, he added. Also, revisions were made to the airspace coordinates to make sure artillery isn’t fired at the same time aircraft is flying over, said Huang.

Repetition on how to employ Joint fires leads to enemy deaths, not friendly ones, Haithcock said, adding that a Joint Fires Course is being designed. A three-week pilot course is scheduled to begin in September or October, he said.

“What we found is that we grow and train our fire supporters at brigade levels and below, and they understand how the Army works,” Haithcock said. “However, they don’t get the training at upper-echelon headquarters, which are Joint environments.”

Haithcock said the course will eventually be shortened to two weeks. The curriculum will include an introduction on Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force doctrine; and rules of engagement, to include international law. Other courses will be Joint and combined targeting, time-sensitive targeting and air-support requests, and at the end is a command-post exercise.

The course is open to senior enlisted, sergeants first class and above, and officers, captain through colonel. Any service member from any career branch can attend the course if they are going to be assigned to a fire-support job in a Joint environment; this course isn’t just for field artillerymen, Haithcock said.

Depending on concepts that are being worked under the Future Combat System, there may not be a need for as many field artillerymen at the company level, Haithcock said.

“We’re looking at improving the technology of individual Soldier equipment and combat platforms,” Haithcock said. “So if we can provide the individual Soldier the ability to engage a target, then you can probably reduce the number of forward observers on the battlefield.”

The Global Information Grid, a network that connects Soldiers with platforms and command-and-control systems, is another factor on whether advanced equipment will be able to replace artillerymen.

“We will always need artillerymen because they do more than just call for fires,” Haithcock said. “They will have to do the planning and execution and have the expertise to figure out how to support maneuver commander’s plan.”

(Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Michael Lavigne from Soldiers Radio and Television contributed to this article.)