A victory in Ukraine will require a maneuver division

There are some who criticize her Ukraine that he is slow to win, and others who question whether they can win at all. The conflict appears to have sunk into a stalemate – a battle of attrition along World War I lines that is heavy on fire but low on maneuver. Given that many Ukrainians have been trained by NATO allies, why is this?

One answer is that we have not provided the Ukrainians with enough maneuvering equipment.

To fight this war, Ukraine must be able to shoot, move and communicate. Despite ammunition shortages, NATO is giving Ukraine the ability to fire, even if shells and rockets are constantly needed. spending rates. Starlink has provided Ukraine with the possibility of communication. What is missing is a sufficient amount of protected mobility, also known as combined arms maneuver.

The US Army has such formations: armored divisions consisting of three to four tank and infantry fighting vehicle maneuver brigades, an artillery brigade, a logistics support brigade, and another brigade of other forces such as engineers, signal, and air defense.

This amount of equipment would take many years to produce and make available to Ukraine — time that Ukrainians are paying for with the blood of their soldiers and citizens. And even if Congress appropriates it financing which the president requested, industrial base issues means he still wouldn’t get there in time. The solution then is to transfer this equipment from the US military today and then buy new equipment for the military over the next several years.

In more specific terms, the Army would have to move a division’s worth of equipment to Ukraine. This would not only help Ukraine break through Russian defense lines, but also help modernize the US military, create industrial depth and increase Army readiness in the near future by ensuring 100% manning of the service’s existing units.

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The equipment value of a department is not some arbitrary number. It is directly related to the current size of the Army, which is struggling to maintain its structure because it is in the middle of one of its worst recruiting crises. The lack of soldiers in Army units it is so bad that the service must rightfully cut the structure of special operations forces. But those cuts are just the beginning, as the Army’s active duty end strength has been reduced by about 7 percent in recent years, dropping from about 485,000 personnel in fiscal 2020 to about 452,000 today.

Transferring this equipment would help modernize the Army. Many of his weapons are decades old and must eventually be replaced modern editions the Abrams tank and the Bradley fighting vehicle as well as the new armored multi-purpose vehicle. Due to the current budgetary pressures on the Army, it would not be able to afford this necessary equipment modernization on its own. By transferring weapons and equipment to Ukraine, the military would receive more modern weapons in return.

The transfer of that equipment would then provide industrial depth, reinforcing a lesson the Army and other services must learn from Ukraine: We may not be able to rearm during war. The shipment of these weapons and countless others through the Pentagon’s steady stream of aid packages forced the Army to rapidly increase its own capacity to produce the tools of war.

Take, for example, 155 mm artillery shells. Without the war in Ukraine, there would be little impetus for the military to increase production of shells 14,000 shells per month within the last year to 28,000 shells a month today and to 57,000 shells per month by next spring — and even beyond that, to 100,000 artillery shells per month by 2025.

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That’s a staggering increase, and moving even more equipment to Ukraine would reinforce that lesson among Army leaders to expand production of other essential equipment.

Finally, the Army has to cut its unit numbers or it will hollow — a phrase that appeared in the late 1970s to denote an army that exists in name only. Having too much structure and not enough soldiers is the fastest way to a hollow army. Therefore, disposing of a division’s equipment today makes the Army more ready. When and if recruitment is restored, new replacement equipment will begin to arrive.

In short, for the sake of the future of the Army and its future success Ukrainian counterattack, the Army will have to move a division’s worth of weapons and equipment to Ukraine. It would be a small price to pay in the long run to help the Ukrainians defeat one of our top adversaries and modernize the Army in the process.

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. John Ferrari is a non-resident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. Ferrari previously served as director of program analysis and evaluation for the Army.

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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