Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) is reamed out in an internal Army study for its performance last month at the Joint Multinational
Readiness Center, a training ground in Germany. It is worrisome that this unit
appears to have deteriorated so much, yet paradoxically reassuring that the
Army is using its maneuvers identify shortcomings.
conclusions are hair-raising. Everybody from the way senior leaders understand
command to the way privates poop comes in for criticism. Here are some of the
--The report found "Commanders
and command sergeant majors tethered to command posts, rarely visiting
subordinate units. This results in a lack of mentoring and face-to-face
interaction to judge understanding of the operational situation and intent and
time to make on-the-spot corrections." And those corrections clearly were
lip service to "mission command" (basically, telling subordinate leaders what
to do but not how to do it) but in reality micromanage by issuing a stream of
"frago" orders that make minor changes in organizations and assigned
emphasis on Mission Command over the past year, most commanders still do not
feel comfortable allowing subordinates to operate broadly under their intent."
--Commanders also do not get out enough. "Many
commanders are tethered to the command post, in essence becoming a chief of
staff. Commanders need to execute battlefield circulation, visiting subordinate
and supporting commanders in the field to ensure clear understanding of intent
--Units are so
reliant on digital connectivity that when it was down, it resulted in a "total
loss of situational awareness of
NCOs didn't understand their role in sustainment. Logistics and medical evacuation of the wounded also stunk.
--Soldiers don't even know how to do basic field
sanitation, and were "defecating
randomly on top of the ground in
"Hit the leather and ride, take
it all in stride," indeed.
Col. Keith Barclay, commander of the regiment, what he thinks of the report.
This is his response:
Thank you for the note and interest in our rotation. It was a fantastic training event that
all our soldiers and multinational partners benefited from greatly as we
developed our leaders and soldiers to operate in support of unified land
operations. As to the report you
reference, I have not seen the written training center observations from our
training center as of yet, but the after action reviews were very positive.
refer you to the 7th Joint Multinational Training Command, commanding officer
for his comments regarding any other specific data; he was the deputy exercise
director for this exercise and would be in a position to answer your specific
Tom again. This is what Col. Lee Rudacille, the commander
of the training center, had to say:
We appreciate your interest in our recent Decisive Action
Training Environment rotation involving the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. However, the document that you've
obtained is not a comprehensive assessment of the Regiment's overall
performance or capability. I
simply recommend waiting for additional material to be available before making
comment on the unit's "overall" performance.
Please keep in mind that the purpose of the DATE is to
give Army units a highly stressful, complex and challenging environment to
evaluate current strengths and weaknesses. We capture the results in order to sustain the positive, and
to improve areas identified as requiring additional training. As you know, in the last eleven years,
the Army has focused almost exclusively on COIN operations. In the last few years, we've done so in
environments with established infrastructure and set logistics systems. We have Soldiers in leadership
positions who have only trained for and conducted COIN operations for the
entirety of their careers. This is partly why the DATE was designed - to place
us into something entirely different and to challenge us to incorporate a
fundamentally different way of leading through Mission Command. It involves a highly complex set of
threats and it deliberately stimulates leaders to think about future
battlefields. The training
environment is a safe place to learn hard lessons and prepare for future
fights. It is not unreasonable or
remarkable that we found areas in which we must strive to improve. The Army is a learning institution; we
cannot be afraid to hold a mirror to ourselves and honestly see our need for
As to the report itself, this particular document is one
of several that are for our internal use and not a comprehensive assessment. Many of the topics in the report were
brought up by our evaluators and the 2CR Soldiers themselves during the AAR so
that we can learn and improve.
These issues were not central to whether or not we were successful
overall when you consider that the DATE required that we combine offense,
defense, and stability operations within the context of Wide Area Security and
Combined Arms Maneuver, often simultaneously. They are simply areas that we will improve on.
Again, I am
pleased our training in Europe has captured your attention, particularly so
since the Army is increasing its focus on training and developing leaders and
Soldiers for our future missions which I believe we do well. "
again: I asked Col. Rudacille if he had read the CALL report, and he wrote back
I've read the document. Again, I
remind you that it isn't an AAR - it isn't comprehensive, it only looks at
select areas and it is not indicative of the unit's overall performance. As the Exercise Director, I observed the
unit enjoy many successes during the training, and I witnessed learning at all
levels of the formation. As
written, the report reflects events temporal in nature during a single training
event, the actions reflective of Soldiers who have operated in a COIN only
environment over the past several years, and a training environment designed to
challenge leaders at multiple levels.
It is only partly accurate in that it omits the review of the entirety
of the DATE rotation containing only a small percentage of the total findings -
findings which will reflect the tremendous learning which occurred when
confronted with a difficult mission set."