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CHIPS Articles: U.S. mainland vulnerable to attack by near-peers

U.S. mainland vulnerable to attack by near-peers
By David Vergun, Army News Service - December 4, 2017
LIVONIA, Mich. -- "We are vulnerable and will be attacked in the homeland" in a future fight against a near-peer adversary, predicted Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess.

Dyess, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, spoke at the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit here, Nov. 30.

The U.S. offers a target-rich environment in at least three ways, he offered.

First, there are a few critical military-industrial facilities and rail supply lines from ports to installations that can be destroyed by long-range missiles or saboteurs on the ground, he said.

Second, U.S. forces are mostly resident in the United States. "We've largely withdrawn our forces from the European theater and there's only a relatively small contingent on the Korean peninsula," he said.

That presents two problems. Troops can be potentially targeted on the homeland and should a conflict break out overseas, it will take time for materiel and personnel to transit there and troops will be vulnerable en route, he said.

Third, the U.S. faces threats from the space and cyber domains. A guy in his basement can launch a successful cyberattack, Dyess pointed out.

Most logistical systems, for example, operate on the unclassified network and are susceptible to hacking, he said. Once hacked, the logistics supply line can be imperiled.

Also, most installations still rely on the local grid for power and if that power is shut off by a hacker or physically destroyed, it would severely impact readiness, he said.

"We think the future battlefield will be much broader than ever before and include the United States. There's no sanctuary. We've got to get used to that," he said.

A2AD Threat

Besides mentioning threats to the homeland, Dyess also spoke about how brigade combat teams — the Army's primary combat formations — will deal with threats once they arrive overseas to confront near-peer or peer adversaries.

The greatest foreseeable threat, he said, will be from the enemy's robust anti-access, area denial, or A2AD defense umbrella that aims to keep U.S. forces at arm's length.

That A2AD threat would include enemy air and missile defense, he said, including unmanned aerial vehicles.

For example in Ukraine recently, that nation's military lost about $1 billion in weaponry from a UAV that dropped thermite grenades and blew up a bunch of their rockets. "This is going to be on the battlefield now, not in the future."

Large concentrations of activity like an iron mountain of materiel at a logistics supply point or a large convoy of fuel, ammo and water or a large grouping of static command posts will invite targets from long-range fires and UAVs, he said.

BCT Analysis

A few years ago, a comparative analysis was conducted on the various kinds of BCTs and it was determined that between the infantry BCT, armor BCT and Stryker BCT, the IBCT was able to deploy the quickest with its Soldiers and supplies with Soldiers able to get to their objective by parachute and air assault, he said.

The ABCTs and SBCTs took longer and there were some capability gaps in their formations, he said.

Some of these gaps are being addressed by adding 30mm cannons to Strykers and in the future, Next Generation Combat Vehicles will provide a critical component to these formations, he said.

Other solutions to closing the gaps include programs such as the Ground Mobility Vehicle, Light Reconnaissance Vehicle and Mobile Protected Firepower, he added.

For more information, visit:
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The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle outfitted with a 30mm cannon was delivered to the Army in October 2016 and some are now headed to Europe. Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, spoke about improving lethality of combat systems at the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit in Livonia, Mich., Nov. 30, 2017.  Photo Credit: Courtesy of Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems
The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle outfitted with a 30mm cannon was delivered to the Army in October 2016 and some are now headed to Europe. Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, spoke about improving lethality of combat systems at the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit in Livonia, Mich., Nov. 30, 2017. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems
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