Trained, adaptable, flexible forces = victory in Iraq: Lieutenant General W. Scott Wallace CG of V Corps in Iraq during OIF.
A Great soldiers, great leaders--a great team came together in the desert. The Army's training system allowed us to come together as a team in relatively short order.
Q How would you characterize the enemy on the OIF battlefield?
A That is a tough question--the enemy was not a homogenous force. In the south, we dealt with Iraqi irregulars who we didn't think were going to fight but did. Multiple sources had indicated they were going to abandon their equipment or surrender without much of a fight.
These irregulars actually were a combination of paramilitary organizations in the southern part of Iraq: the Saddam Fedayeen, Al Kuts, Ba'ath Party militia and others, including some foreign fighters we knew were there. We thought they were there to control the population and deny us use of the populated areas when, in fact, they attacked our formations out of those populated areas. In particular, they caused concerns about our lines of communications [LOCs], which were relatively extended at the time. So we had to adapt to that enemy tactic.
And then as we got closer to Baghdad, we dealt with the remnants of the Republican Guards with more organized formations and coordinated attacks. In Baghdad, itself, we faced forces that appeared to be paramilitary but were probably Special Republican Guards and others who were the inner defense of Baghdad.
It was sometimes hard to differentiate among the groups because they were all shooting at us with the same weapons--AK-47s and RPGs [rocket propelled grenades]. Most of them were dressed in civilian clothes. In some cases, they armed civilians and, upon threat of death, forced the civilians to fight with them, just to increase their numbers. Sometimes the enemy came at our armored formations in SUVs [sports utility vehicles] that had weapons mounted on them or in cars with bombs--both suicidal attacks.
Our young soldiers were incredibly brave, incredibly heroic. They showed great endurance and great ferocity when they needed to ... and tremendous compassion when it was called for.
The enemy force was very mixed from south to north, and the dynamics of the fight changed, depending on whom we were fighting. Our soldiers handled it all magnificently. They adapted to the changing enemy and terrain conditions--some conditions changing multiple times in a 24-hour period.
Q V Corps lessons learned states, "Every fight was a movement-to-contact." What was the impact on your distributed battlefield?
A Every fight was a movement-to-contact at the platoon through battalion levels, perhaps at the brigade level, largely because the enemy was so indescribable, so very difficult to template. Our traditional shaping operations against a conventional enemy just didn't work against this enemy.
For example, it was hard to determine how he was defending in the cities. In Baghdad, with a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] looking down, a guy with an AK-47 wearing a polo shirt and pair of blue jeans looks like a civilian--but he could be the enemy.
The fact is that when our young soldiers were in contact with the enemy, they were developing the situation at the same time they were fighting and adapting to the battlefield conditions continually.
And everybody was in the fight, whether you were a truck driver or a POL [petroleum, oil and lubricant] handler or an infantryman. There was no truly secure rear area. Periodically, artillerymen found themselves in direct fire contact. Some combat supporters showed up ready to support but not ready to fight. That's a training issue we've got to deal with. Regardless of branch, soldiers must be able to use their assigned weapons, both individually and collectively.
Q What was your Commander's Intent for Fires? How did you employ your fires--both joint and landbased?
A My Commander's Intent for Fire was to kill as many bad guys as we could as often as we could so they weren't effective when we got in direct fire contact. Generally, we targeted the enemy's artillery to preclude him from massing fires.
The enemy was fighting a "positional defense." Most of his defensive preparations were in and around Baghdad, and it didn't appear he had the wherewithal to do a lot of repositioning. We reasoned that our direct fire and joint fires team would be effective against his positional defense.
The only way the enemy really could hurt us was if we slowed down and he massed indirect fires on our formations. Of particular concern were his ballistic missile forces and the potential for using chemicals against us. So that's what we targeted with joint fires. Our UAV's and corps-directed indirect fires and CAS [close air support] went after his artillery systems--especially his rocket forces--as high-payoff targets.
MLRS [multiple-launch rocket system] in counterfire was very effective. Every time the enemy tried to mass his artillery, he got whacked with something. We do need to come up with an alternative for DPICM [dual-purpose improved conventional munitions] bomblets on the battlefiewld.
Unexploded bomblets are a problem for innocent civilians and our light forces, our dismounted infantry, who come after MLRS has been used in an urban environment.
Our joint fires were very effective. We had CAS in abundance. Sometimes our soldiers and young airmen on the ground employed it very close to friendly formations. We weren't 100 percent successful at avoiding fratricide--recognizing that one fratricide is one too marly. But given the ferocity of the fight, the closeness of the fight, the lack of separation between the combatants in many cases, our ability to avoid fratricide was good.
The Air Force worked closely with the Army to identify and whack targets during the fight. An Air Force SCAR [strike control and reconnaissance] aircraft flew over an area in which we were in direct fire contact and identified targets. Then it served as a terminal guidance for Air Force precision-guided munitions to attack the targets---or for other fires. The Army directed the SCARs to places we wanted them to look, a great complement of joint capabilities.
There were episodes in the fight when operational maneuver caused the enemy to react; when the enemy reacted, it allowed us to employ joint fires against him, which, in turn, allowed our operational maneuver to be more successful. For example, around Baghdad, maneuver caused the enemy to move out of his defensive positions, and when he was moving, the Air Force identified him and we attacked him with aircraft and long-range rockets. The complementarity between fires, maneuver and reconnaissance was evident at the corps level down to the tactical level.
I just can't say enough about our ability to integrate fires in Operation Iraqi Freedom, regardless of where they came from.
Q What do we need to improve in our integration of joint fires?
A First, the Army should give the Air Force credit for being as good as it is. We've got the best Air Force in the world. Our pilots are good at what they do and heroic--ready to fly in some very tough enemy circumstances.
I recall A-10s flying about 600 feet over the top of a particularly tough fight going on at the traffic circle in Baghdad. Those A-10 pilots were just as heroic as the guys on the ground.
Also, we need to develop soldiers as terminal controllers for Air Force assets without having to go through an intermediary, such as an ETAC [enlisted terminal air controller]. We've got to make sure the Air Force agrees and put rigor into our training, the same rigor the Air Force has in its ETAC training.
We need to refine our joint fire control measures. On a linear battlefield, fire support coordination lines, FSCLs, tend to make sense but not on the nonlinear battlefield. Kill boxes that we opened and closed to allow the Army and Air Force to engage the enemy in the boxes worked well in this particular environment.
I'm not really in love with kill boxes because the convention is that they are 30 by 30 miles, which is too big to be really precise. I'd like my fires to be more prescriptive. I don't think one or the other is the exclusive fire control measure of the future.
Overall, the integration of CAS with At my ground forces was pretty damn good throughout the fight.
Q Is the Air Force's 96-hour air support request (ASR) cycle used in OIF realistic on a fluid battlefield ?
A I have no problem with the ASR cycle or the ATO [air tasking order] cycle. The problem is that Army guys don't understand it. They think because the requests are for 96-hours out that the cycle is rigid. The ASR is rigid in planning but not in execution. The more fire supporters and Army leaders who understand the flexibility that' s inherent in the cycle, the more the Army will be able to use it to our advantage.
And we shouldn't resist putting ATACMS [Army tactical missile system] or helicopters on the ATO--that's no big deal. It's an "air tasking order," something that allows us to describe to our Air Force brethren and the entire force what we're planning to do with our fires, so we can deconflict airspace and make sure nobody gets hurt.
In fact, it is completely conceivable that we might put some of our artillery and attack aviation under the control of the CFACC [Coalition Forces Air Component Commander] for a specific task and purpose. For example, we might want to execute a surgical strike that requires the synergy of simultaneous attacks by, say, ATACMS, Army attack aviation and Air Force F-16s. We would put them under one commander for the attack and on the ATO. It doesn't matter who actually owns the munitions or aircraft as long as we whack the bad guys.
Q Why did you consolidate the fires and effects coordination cell (FECC) in the V Corps main command post with the air support operations center (ASOC) and the analysis and control element (ACE)? How effective was your FECC?
A Why did we consolidate? Because no one of those elements--the ACE, FECC or ASOC--had the "keys to the kingdom." The ACE knew where the bad guys were, the FECC had the means to attack the bad guys with indirect fires, and the ASOC had the means to attack the bad guys with precision guided munitions delivered by the Air Force. Putting the three together made sense.
And they operated very well together--decide, detect, deliver and assess.
Now, that didn't come without some pain. We started training the three together about two years ago to get the level of proficiency they demonstrated in Iraq.
In terms of the FECC, it did well. But we need to integrate nonlethal effects into the FECC. The FECC should be the manager of all effects on the battlefield. For example, information operations should be managed and executed by the FECC.
I realize lethal and nonlethal are two different "sciences." but the commander achieves his intent with both lethal and nonlethal effects. The nonlethal piece should be part of the FECC.
Q How did you conduct battle command and control on the move while your forces moved so rapidly to Baghdad?
A We built a secure commercial satellite-based communications system that went from point to point. That allowed me, as the commander, to visualize the fight using the tool called [C.sup.2]PC [command and control personal computer], which is a visualization tool showing icons on maps, driven by the GCCSA [global command, control communications system-Army].
I visualized fires using ADOCS [automated deep operations coordination system] software [an advanced technology concept demonstration, or ACTD, software]--not a system bought by the Army. ADOCS worked fine. It allowed me to visualize fires, our forces, the enemy, radar fans and fire missions with red vectors for the enemy artillery and blue for our artillery. It also allowed me to see the ATO exported from the Air Force's TBMCS [theater battle management core system].
ADOCS is not an artillery execution tool. It is a visualization tool for the maneuver of fires.
On the move, I had [C.sup.2]PC so I could see the fight: blue icons and red icons. I had ADOCS so I could see the fires: blue vectors, red vectors, range fans and radar zones. I had a system called "blue force tracking," which is an FBC[B.sup.2] [Force XXI battle command brigade and below] screen that showed where certain vehicles were located on the battlefield in real time. I had access to analytical intelligence information in ASAS [all-source analysis system] that my intel guys used. And I had a 25-kilohertz single-channel TACSAT [tactical satellite] terminal with a high-look angle that allowed me to talk to commanders. I could use all of these systems on the move--I even did email on the move.
In spite of these communications innovations, we were not independent of terrestrial-based systems. I believe our commo system is too terrestrial-dependent-it goes from point to point, from antenna to antenna. Our commo needs to go from antenna up to a satellite that can zap it back to wherever the hell you want it in theater--or with a "step site," zap it to a server bank located at our headquarters at Heidelberg [Germany]
The technology is there to do that--a combination of secure commercial and military satellites. If we are going to fight in distributed operations, independent operations, over a wide expanse of battlespace, then we must make the commitment to improve the communications' infrastructure. The network must support the warfighter, no the other way around.
Q How big was your battlespace?
A The dimensions varied. From Kuwait to Baghdad was about 500 kilometers [see the map on Page 3]. During the move to Baghdad, it probably was not more than 200 kilometers wide, but then after we got to Baghdad and expanded west into the desert, the 3d ACR [Armored Cavalry Regiment] alone had a 300-by-400 kilometer zone Then we expanded from Baghdad north to the Turkish border, which was another 450 to 500 kilometers. We had a logistical tail from Kuwait to Mosul in northern Iraq. Our area was immense.
Now, we weren't occupying all that terrain. For commo, we had to have nodes all over the place separated by great distances. FM communications won't give you that kind of range, so we had to use satellite communications.
Q Your forces experienced the Mother of All Sandstorms from 24 to 27 March: 100-meter visibility with winds gusting to 50 knots; thousands of Iraqi paramilitary in the area; and supplies, including ammunition low. What did you do?
A We fought like hell. We had to slow down considerably, but the troops still could use thermal devices to see and engage the enemy, who was still fighting. We could use signals intelligence and intercepts. The night-vision goggles didn't work well, but they worked. And the enemy didn't have these advantages.
During that dense sandstorm, indirect fires proved most valuable. We used the lethal effects of artillery and mortars with some degree of precision, in particular, HE [high-explosive] artillery.
At one point during the Mother of All Sandstorms, we used maneuver to cause the enemy to move so intelligence could identify the enemy's exact location so artillery and mortars could kill him-like we talked about earlier.
We continued to fight, as did the enemy. But he was more debilitated by the conditions than we were, even on his own terrain.
Q In the Coalition Forces' drive to occupy Iraq what were your biggest surprises (good or bad)?
A One of them we already have talked about: the willingness of some of the paramilitary forces to not only fight but attack our armored formations--suicidal attacks in some cases. That surprised me.
One good surprise was that Iraqi forces never used chemical weapons against us. I expected them to.
Another pleasant surprise was the success armored formations had operating in urban environments. Fundamentally, we used heavy metal to "bust" into the cities and take down whatever defenses the Iraqis had. Then we used light formations to clear the cities and towns in detail, supported by smaller groups of armored vehicles. That freed up larger armored formations to go break down other "doors." Armored vehicles were effective in urban environments frequently without dismounted infantry to protect them.
These procedures worked in this environment and in this particular fight. I am not sure there is "global" application.
Artillery was very effective in urban operations. HE munitions with VT [variable-time] fuzes were effective on likely locations of enemy bunkers, high buildings and all sorts of other urban structures to clear the enemy out before the armored formations arrived. At least one maneuver commander routinely used HE VT with great precision to clear the tops of overpasses before his formation drove under them.
As reported to me, SADARM [sense and destroy armor, an unfunded cannon precision-guided munition] worked very well.
I am not sure if there is a place for precision-guided munitions for cannons. But we need to be very cautious, very suspicious, of any suggestion that there is no role for the suppressive effects of artillery on the battlefield.
The enemy we fought in Iraq, who tended to gather in small numbers vice large enemy formations, was not susceptible to precision strike. That means you could be very precise and have no effect on the enemy. But the suppressive effects of the artillery caused the enemy to hunker down, which allowed maneuver to close with and kill him.
Sometimes our armored forces need to drive on, letting our artillery shrapnel bounce off the front decks of their tanks. So we need the right balance of precision munitions and precise suppressive fires so commanders can take out a specific building or provide the precise effects he wants against a specific area. Solutions are joint fires, not the exclusive realm of Army artillery or the USAF.
Q How effective was the fires system in supporting the deep attack? In protecting our Apache attack helicopters?
A The ATACMS unitary rounds showed great promise in the deep attack. It has long-range and a small circular error probable [CEP]. If we can locate the target at long range, we can have precision fires on it quickly.
In fact, the CFACC recognized that the first night when the Coalition Forces fired the "Shock and Awe" attack. Some of the Shock and Awe was executed by Army unitary missiles going deep against specific enemy regular army headquarters in southern Iraq.
We were not very good at protecting our Apaches. It wasn't what we did wrong; it was what the enemy did right. The ability of our fires system to take out the bad guys depends on our finding the bad guys.
We habitually train against a higher technology air defense threat, one that uses radars. This enemy didn't use them, so we couldn't get the electronic intercepts associated with his air defense systems. This enemy almost exclusively used direct fire weapons with "iron sights."
Our ability to template and engage this type of enemy is very difficult. We can't find them with UAVs because they look like civilians. They can come and go quickly from anyplace--mosques, schools, hospitals, under a palm canopy. And there are rules of engagement issues that make positively identifying and attacking the enemy in these locations complicated.
To compensate, we learned not to use our helicopters so deep; we used them in close support of ground forces, so they didn't get too far out in front of the ground forces. The ground troops kept the small arms busy while the helicopters attacked in support of the ground troops.
Protecting our attack helicopters during deep operations in Iraq was a challenge--something we've got to train to. We have to add these kinds of complexities to our battlefields at the NTC [National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California], JRTC [Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana] and CMTC [Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany]--and anyplace else we train fire supporters and Army aviation. It's a different way of fighting.
Q That leads to next question: Based on your experiences in OIF, what do we need to change in our training at the Combat Training Centers (CTCs)--in addition to suppression of enemy air defenses to protect Army aviation?
A As we discussed, training soldiers to be terminal controllers for joint aircraft.
More urban operations training.
More training with the Air Force. We've got to put a joint context in virtually all our training. In particular, we've got to leverage joint intelligence and fires to the benefit of the entire force. The requirements for jointness are increasingly more prevalent at lower echelons, so we've got to school our young leaders in a joint context.
The OPFORs [opposing forces] at the CTCs need to use the same asymmetries that a future enemy formation might. The Training and Doctrine Command [TRADOC] contemporary operating environment [COE] for our training programs is okay. But it's not hard enough because the real bad guys are less conventional--are less predictable, fight more in depth.
Q What message would you like to send Army and Marine Field Artillerymen stationed around the world?
A I had the honor of commanding great young Americans in Iraq who displayed extraordinary endurance, bravery and compassion, including Army and Marine Field Artillerymen. They never shirked a fight--found fights on occasion because they knew that was their job.
At the same time, they demonstrated the values that make our nation strong--a true compassion for the weak and oppressed. I guess my message is one of thanks for being who they are--the very best in the world.
Lieutenant General W. Scott Wallace commanded V Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Currently, he is the Commanding General of the Combined Arms Command (CAC) and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He commanded the Joint War-fighting Center and was Director of Joint Training, J7, in the US Joint Forces Command Suffolk, Virginia, and commanded the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Hood, Texas. In various tours at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California, he served as the Commanding General of the NTC, Commander of the Operations Group and Senior Armored Task Force Trainer. He also commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in V Corps, and the 3d Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, VII Corps, both in Germany. He holds an MS in Operations Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, and an MA in International Relations from Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island.
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|Author:||Hollis, Patrecia Slayden|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2003|
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