Mon, 18 Oct 2004 18:03:08 GMT

The Army Is in Worse Shape than I Thought.

The Blackhorse Regiment is being sent to Iraq. This means that the army is in much more trouble than I had thought. And it drives Phil Carter–who knows whereof he speaks–beyond shrillness:

INTEL DUMP – : The Los Angeles Times provides a long report in Sunday's paper on the deployment of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, dubbed “Blackhorse” for the stallion on its shoulder patch, to Iraq for a year of combat duty. The regiment has long served as as the opposing force, or “OPFOR”, for units from other installations coming to train at the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Now, with the Army stretched to practically its breaking point over the Iraq and Afghanistan missions, the Army has turned to the Blackhorse regiment for help.

For years, The Box has been a stage for the Army's elite “opposition force” ? soldiers expert at assuming the roles of enemy fighters, be they the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents. Their mission is to toughen new soldiers with elaborate simulations ? staging sniper fire, riots, suicide car bombings and potentially dangerous culture clashes.

Staging such scenes has long been the work of the fabled 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, or Black Horse Regiment. But starting next month, the 3,500-member unit will begin shipping out to Iraq from the Ft. Irwin National Training Center, near Barstow. Deployments are nothing new in the Army, of course, but there is a special sense of urgency about dispatching the Black Horse to tackle situations that it has trained roughly 500,000 soldiers to handle since 1994. Now the bombs and bullets they encounter will be all too real.

“No one ever thought the Black Horse would be taken out of the National Training Center; they are just too valuable here,” said Maj. John Clearwater. “But the Army is stretched too thin, and Iraq is a big mission.”

The article misses the most important point: deploying the OPFOR is like eating your seed corn. This unit is responsible for training other units and raising their level of expertise and combat readiness. The 11th ACR is being replaced by a National Guard unit. That's like replacing the Dodgers with a high school baseball team. Sure, they can both play baseball and wear the uniform ? but one is a whole lot more proficient and experienced at its job. The OPFOR has a reputation as a tough enemy, and that's a good thing because it forces units training at the NTC to become better themselves. By replacing this unit with National Guard troops, the Army has hurt its ability to produce good units for Iraq in the future. Suffice to say, National Guard and active units that go through Fort Irwin aren't going to get the same tough experience they would have with the Blackhorse regiment as OPFOR ? and that means they'll be less ready for combat when they get to Iraq. This is a desperation measure, and I think the Army will come to regret it.

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog]

So, let's take the group with the great expertise (they have been doing it since 1994) in training our soldiers to fight terrorists and send them to fight. Well, we have a National Guard unit. Seems like this is a 'pennywise and pound foolish' sort of game. [A Man with a Ph.D. – Richard Gayle's Weblog]

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this is bad news….

This entry was posted in General.