Reconsidering Army and USMC Infantry--"Generalists" or "Specialists"--DoD's Close Combat Lethality Task Force

#1
An interesting piece on how Army and USMCinfantry should be regarded and deployed in the future. Notwithstanding such a move, I doubt such a reclassification to "specialists" will alter their deployment in many "generalist" situations such as humanitarian operations, peacekeeping and the like unless other forces are specifically trained and equipped for more generalist roles.

Retired General: Train, Pay Army and Marine Infantry as an Elite Force
 
#2
Are they not all generalist infantry, but have some specialities, such as comms, medic, Anti Armour etc, etc?
 
#3
Are they not all generalist infantry, but have some specialities, such as comms, medic, Anti Armour etc, etc?
Not in the sense meant by the author. My reading of the piece is that he wants infantry to be considered specialists in their own right (something like the way the 75th Ranger Regiment of the Army is organized, trained and deployed) without regard to subspecialty such as a particular weapon system operator. I think he is advocating a specific role for which infantry are recruited, trained, equipped and deployed more in line with the essence of the infantry--to close with and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver as contrasted with more general roles and missions often assigned because there are no other forces available to take on the task such as disaster relief etc.
 
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#4
Not in the sense meant by the author. My reading of the piece is that he wants infantry to be considered specialists in their own right, without regard to subspecialty such as a particular weapon system operator. I think he is advocating a specific role for which infantry are recruited, trained, equipped and deployed more in line with the essence of the infantry--to close with and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver as contrasted with more general roles and missions often assigned because there are no other forces available to take on the task such as disaster relief etc.
Apparently Gen Rupert Smith was in favour of this about 30 years ago. No links I'm afraid, cam from a friend of mine who worked with him.
 

Caecilius

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#5
Not in the sense meant by the author. My reading of the piece is that he wants infantry to be considered specialists in their own right (something like the way the 75th Ranger Regiment of the Army is organized, trained and deployed) without regard to subspecialty such as a particular weapon system operator. I think he is advocating a specific role for which infantry are recruited, trained, equipped and deployed more in line with the essence of the infantry--to close with and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver as contrasted with more general roles and missions often assigned because there are no other forces available to take on the task such as disaster relief etc.
Which is great, until you suddenly need a load of blokes to do low skilled jobs. At that point reality will kick in and people will realise that the infantry can do something outside of their speciality.
 
#6
Which is great, until you suddenly need a load of blokes to do low skilled jobs. At that point reality will kick in and people will realise that the infantry can do something outside of their speciality.
You make my point better than I. That's why I don't think it will ever work across the entire infantry force unless viable alternative forces are available more suited to the noninfantry task, such as sufficient military police forces for a given situation requiring the restoration and maintenance of civil order. Absent viable alternatives, resort will be had to the infantry in such "noninfantry" missions.

If this idea gains traction in the CCTF work, I imagine what will result is some infantry "being more infantry than other infantry" with more "elite" infantry (perhaps airborne and USMC for example) being distinguished from other infantry with the latter being used as default generalists.
 
#7
You make my point better than I. That's why I don't think it will ever work across the entire infantry force unless viable alternative forces are available more suited to the noninfantry task, such as sufficient military police forces for a given situation requiring the restoration and maintenance of civil order. Absent viable alternatives, resort will be had to the infantry in such "noninfantry" missions.

If this idea gains traction in the CCTF work, I imagine what will result is some infantry "being more infantry than other infantry" with more "elite" infantry (perhaps airborne and USMC for example) being distinguished from other infantry with the latter being used as default generalists.
But wouldn’t the strategic mobility of the Airborne and Marines make them more suitable, for the humanitarian mission?

The least likely to be used for the humanitarian operations are going to be the Stryker and mechanized infantry.
 
#8
But wouldn’t the strategic mobility of the Airborne and Marines make them more suitable, for the humanitarian mission?

The least likely to be used for the humanitarian operations are going to be the Stryker and mechanized infantry.
Agree. I think under General Scales' approach, mech infantry may be considered as yet another category in what would IMHO be a de facto hierarchy of "infantry" units. Perhaps he is really focusing on what traditionally has been referred to as "light infantry."
 
#9
Which is great, until you suddenly need a load of blokes to do low skilled jobs. At that point reality will kick in and people will realise that the infantry can do something outside of their speciality.
TONTIs/PONTIs - Troops/Person of no tactical importance.
 
#10
Agree. I think under General Scales' approach, mech infantry may be considered as yet another category in what would IMHO be a de facto hierarchy of "infantry" units. Perhaps he is really focusing on what traditionally has been referred to as "light infantry."
Then they would need to bring back the 11 mike series. But “light” just means not as much big shit to transport... but Infantry is still infantry the only difference is the “taxi” one rides in. Be it a Herky Bird, JLTV, Stryker or Bradley the job is still the same.
 
#11
You make my point better than I. That's why I don't think it will ever work across the entire infantry force unless viable alternative forces are available more suited to the noninfantry task, such as sufficient military police forces for a given situation requiring the restoration and maintenance of civil order. Absent viable alternatives, resort will be had to the infantry in such "noninfantry" missions.

If this idea gains traction in the CCTF work, I imagine what will result is some infantry "being more infantry than other infantry" with more "elite" infantry (perhaps airborne and USMC for example) being distinguished from other infantry with the latter being used as default generalists.
The difficulty in the UK military is one of size - or more pertinently lack of size. In the USMC you could get away with a third of the force being 'specialists', and for those without the motivation or ability transfer them to other 'non-specialist' units in the USMC whilst retaining a sizeable force of 'specialists'.

In the British Army it would be more difficult. The Parachute Regiment (including other arms) gets away with having SFSG - something which was advocated for decades). It would IMO be very difficult indeed to make all of the Parachute Regiment 'specialists' compared to other infantry regiments: many Parachute Regiment individuals would rather leave the Army than be 'downgraded' to a 'hat' regiment. I dare say the same is true of other regiments, but with different terminology.

There might be a case for each regiment having a 'specialist battalion', but not all regiments have the same number of troops or the same abilities. That said, I'd be very much in favour of pushing the 'specialists' despite the organisational challenges.

Who the hell wants a 100% mediocre military rather than an military comprising 33% highly trained , motivated, and skilled 'close and destroy' troops with the rest being more 'GS infantry'? Select and train people upwards, not bring people down to the lowest common denominator.
 
#12
The difficulty in the UK military is one of size - or more pertinently lack of size. In the USMC you could get away with a third of the force being 'specialists', and for those without the motivation or ability transfer them to other 'non-specialist' units in the USMC whilst retaining a sizeable force of 'specialists'.

In the British Army it would be more difficult. The Parachute Regiment (including other arms) gets away with having SFSG - something which was advocated for decades). It would IMO be very difficult indeed to make all of the Parachute Regiment 'specialists' compared to other infantry regiments: many Parachute Regiment individuals would rather leave the Army than be 'downgraded' to a 'hat' regiment. I dare say the same is true of other regiments, but with different terminology.

There might be a case for each regiment having a 'specialist battalion', but not all regiments have the same number of troops or the same abilities. That said, I'd be very much in favour of pushing the 'specialists' despite the organisational challenges.

Who the hell wants a 100% mediocre military rather than an military comprising 33% highly trained , motivated, and skilled 'close and destroy' troops with the rest being more 'GS infantry'? Select and train people upwards, not bring people down to the lowest common denominator.
So is it possible to serve in the same regiment and same role for an entire career?
 
#13
So is it possible to serve in the same regiment and same role for an entire career?
I'm a bit out of date, but it was certainly possible to do so previously for the infantry. There would be posting to, say, training units for two or three years, but always badged as the original regiment. Officer careers are different, with more postings to other units especially once the staff ranks kick in. Once one reached full colonel then one is available for any suitable job regardless of original regiment.
 

Caecilius

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#14
So is it possible to serve in the same regiment and same role for an entire career?
It's not just possible, but probable. As @Oyibo says, the only postings you would routinely do elsewhere would be a couple of years at the training regiment Catterick. Even officers will generally consistently serve with the same Regiment when they're in a unit-level job, although formation or army staff tours mean that Majors will already have spent ~25% of their career away from the unit.

The majority of infantry units used to change role (between light, mechanised and armoured infantry) every five years in a system called arms plotting but this is now formally dead.

It's worth noting that in the UK the unit-sized formation is a battalion. An infantry Regiment usually consists of multiple battalions and while individuals will usually spend their entire career in one Regiment, it's fairly common to change battalion which might also entail a change of role. So a Cpl in 2 RIFLES (light infantry) can easily find himself doing a job as a Sgt in 5 RIFLES (armoured).
 

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