A U.S. Army aerial reconnaissance support team successfully assisting warfighters in Iraq is expanding its reach to protect ground forces in Afghanistan. Comprising members of the active and reserve forces, as well as a sizeable number of defense contractors, the task force currently is using technological elements of the future modular force in a cavalry role to assist U.S. theater commanders and their subordinates in Iraq. Some of the capabilities already have been moved into Afghanistan, and during the next 12 months a similar task force will be in place to improve the sensor-to-shooter cycle and provide intelligence while conducting operations.
The U.S Air Force is coming out of the sky to counter some serious threats on the ground. Working with its land-based counterparts, the service rapidly implemented a process to evaluate technologies valuable for defeating certain explosive devices in an attempt to stop the weapons from harming more troops and civilians in the Middle East. The goal of the work is to detect explosives on bodies before the carriers come close enough to other people to damage life or limb.
Iraq’s technological telecommunications leap into the 21st century has left the country short on experts available to work in traditional communications areas. The success of reconstruction efforts in the country demonstrates that citizens are hungry to embrace mobile communications devices. But ushering a nation with little to no technology toward state-of-the-art telecommunications also revealed that introducing modern communications is about more than just raising a few cell towers and sticking cell phones in citizens’ hands. It can be a misstep that winds up costing the United States millions of dollars.
The Stryker is a rarity in the military world—an item that satisfies the top commanders and warfighters seeing action in battle. While support from the top does not always translate into success on the ground, in the case of the Stryker the troops in combat, including those using it for communications missions, are basically as pleased with the vehicle as are the planners and decision makers in the United States. The numbers and uses of Strykers show no signs of decreasing as the vehicles mark half a decade in theater, and the U.S. Army is adding additional capabilities to the next round that is expected to deploy even as the eight-wheeled automotives see daily action now. A few changes could enhance the value of this vehicle to signal troops, but overall the reviews from those using the vehicle in combat are positive.