Why an Army: A Case for Heavy Forces
Four M1A1 Abrams tanks assigned to the 3d Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, line up on the firing line at a qualifying range at Fort Irwin, CA (Photo: SPC B. Hutto )  



Colonel Richard D. Creed Jr.
United States Army
U.S. Army War College Class of 2011

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



The U.S. Army heavy conventional ground capability that crushed Iraqi forces in 1991 and 2003 no longer exists, and the assumption that the U.S. Army can dominate high intensity ground combat operations for the foreseeable future is questionable. The balance of U.S. Army combat brigades shifted significantly from favoring a heavy force to favoring a lighter force over the past decade.

This U.S. Army War College student author argues:
--- Further reduction of HBCTs based upon assumptions that there are no enemies willing to challenge alleged U.S. conventional warfare supremacy, or that if some arise, precision long range fires would neutralize them, is a mistake.
--- Recent examples of hybrid warfare prove beyond any reasonable doubt the worth and utility of a robust, scalable heavy combined arms capability.
--- With few leaders trained for combined arms maneuver over distance remaining in battalions and brigades, heavy brigade combat teams lack the expertise to dominate combined arms maneuver, and there may be too few of them to deter would be conventional adversaries.
--- The Army could not rebuild a trained heavy conventional capability quickly enough to be relevant against a newly emerging threat once the current residual capability is gone.

He concludes that protecting and recapitalizing the current heavy force structure is essential to full spectrum preparedness of the U.S. Army over the next decade.

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