Death Spiral Strikes the "Hollow" U.S. Army: making itself into a modern version of the WWII truck/foot-slogging Italian Occupation Army


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The "death spiral" has finally struck the U.S. Army.

A Senior Army Officer writes:

"Thanks for the stuff.

I recently exchanged comments with someone on a similar briefing (earlier version?). I told him that Power Point briefings do nothing but obfuscate. If you cannot explain what you are doing in three pages of text, you are BSing.

That's what the slide show is; BS.

The comparisons between what we are today and what we will be are unintelligible, and deliberately so.

If you break up divisions into three separate brigades and farm out the supporting divisional assets (DISCOM, DIVARTY, etc), you can at least streamline away the DIV HHC and the supporting DISCOM, DIVARTY, etc HHCs, so there is some efficiency there. Once they decided to create four or even five brigades out of each division, they must now stand up added supporting Support, Artillery, etc battalions and their respective HHCs. Instead of flatter, the pyramid will be steeper.

Army Aviation School cannot figure out its role.

Fixed-wing aviation is limited to passenger and limited cargo in tiny aircraft. Beyond that, you call USAF for lift. Army Aviation Modernization plan (that I reviewed and commented on repeatedly before retiring from Combat Development) could never bring itself to challenge the status quo. Instead, they insisted on grandiose titles and false claims of expanded roles by claiming preposterous mission capabilities like 'Enhanced Command and Control of Maneuver Forces' (by shuttling a general officer) and 'Logistical Support and Sustainment Streamlining' (by delivering a parcel of critical repair parts) and 'Theater Communications' (by delivering memos and dispatches). [No, I am not making this up, though I never saw the final document.]

1. You say: "Notice wants to buy more Chinooks, has anyone told G3 that Boeing's production line for CH-47 IS CLOSED?"

You have to read the slides real CAREFULLY. They are only "shifting" the CH-47s through a modernization upgrade. The result is a zero sum gain. The confusion is in the piece that shows base model CH-47 being transferred. That number should have been in BOTH columns, now and future.

This is why I hate Power Point Slides. They confuse everybody and the record of what was actually approved at the conclusion of the briefing is anyone's interpretation.

2. Another JOKE is the slides that show future UA design. Compare the Division with its Maneuver Brigades and Supporting Brigades. Then look at the modular UA (Brigade) force, which still has DIV COMMANDS (as you pointed out below). What's the DIFFERENCE?

Then look at the Brigade size UA. Looks just like a Separate Brigade

Brush up on the Pentomic Division. This is just as stupid.

I am in the midst of finally reading Norman Schwarzkopf's book, It Doesn't Take a Hero. I discovered that he and I were in 9th ID together. Of course, he was 1st BDE CDR while I was a XXX in 3d BDE, 3-60th IN, so it's not like we were personal friends. But I do remember the incident of MG Cavazos inspecting the MEDAC Cdr's jeep.

Anyway, what is fascinating about his book is that it tells all about how screwed up the Army was everywhere. It was Pentomic and it was being fixed as he came along, and how he learned and benefited from these fixes and how he instilled more and as he came up in rank, things were always still screwed up, but improving, da da da...

Well, I'm glad he's still alive so he does not need to roll in his grave.

Oh well."

Read between the lines when you view the PPTs:

1. Army will take influx of new bodies and hand them a rifle and slap them into a "armored" HMMWV truck and call them an Infantry "Unit of Action". Welcome to today's version of the WWII Italian Army.

No mention of buying more Canadian-made, Stryker $3 million deathtrap armored cars, good if its true.

2. Army cannot afford new design aircraft.

Desperation buy of 368 MD500 Little Birds off-the-shelf to replace RAH-66 cancellation. Good move.

"Divest" OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, BAD MOVE.

Wants to buy cheap off-the-shelf utility chopper to get cheapo utility tasks done; a capability lost when the UH-1 Hueys were unwisely retired instead of being re-engined.

Notice absurd purchase of C-23 Sherpa which can't even carry a light tracked AFV. This should be a C-27J Spartan which can. More Army acting like gutless pussies afraid of USAF.


Launched in 1997, the C-27J Spartan Tactical Transport Aircraft incorporates the same propulsion system and advanced avionics as the C-130J Hercules Transporter. The C-27J is being developed by Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS). LMATTS is a joint venture company based in Marietta, Georgia, which was set up by Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aerospazio, part of the Italian Finmeccanica company. The first flight of the development aircraft was in September 1999 and the aircraft received full Italian Military Type certification in December 2001. The Italian Air Force has ordered 12 aircraft to replace the G.222, with deliveries starting in 2005.

In January 2003, LMATTS received the first export order for the C-27J when Greece signed a contract to buy 12 aircraft with three on option.

The aircraft design is based on the proven G-222 airframe from Alenia, with turboprop engines from Allison and advanced systems from Lockheed Martin.

Final assembly of the C-27J Spartan takes place in Italy. Lockheed Martin is responsible for the propulsion and avionics and will take lead responsibility for product support and worldwide marketing. Alenia Aerospazio takes responsibility for the certification process and for most of the manufacturing and flight testing operations.

The C-27J Spartan has the same logistical and maintenance characteristics of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules Medium Tactical Airlifter, and also shares commonality of the cargo capacity. The primary roles of the C-27J are cargo transport, troop transport and material and paratroop air drop. Other missions include maritime patrol, tactical operations, medical evacuation, ground refuelling, fire-fighting and aerial spraying.


The two-pilot cockpit is night-vision goggle (NVG) compatible. The flight deck is very similar to that of the C-130J Hercules. The electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS) incorporates five liquid crystal head-down colour displays.


The Spartan is constructed with a floor strength equal to that of a Hercules transporter, and the large cargo cabin cross-section is able to accommodate Hercules pallets. Without modification, HMMWV (High Mobility Medium Wheeled Vehicle), AML-90, Perentie 6x6 armoured vehicle, M113 armoured personnel carrier or similar military vehicles can be driven on and off the Spartan via a hydraulically operated rear-loading ramp. The aircraft is constructed to offload vehicles quickly while taking fire.

An upward-opening door is installed in the underside rear fuselage, which is used for air drops of pallets or CDS (Container Delivery Systems) units. The air-drop speed is typically in the range 110-140 knots.

The aircraft is pressurised and air conditioned in the cockpit and cargo compartment. In the medical evacuation role, the aircraft can carry 24 casualties on litters (stretchers) and four medical attendants. The cargo compartment is equipped with a dedicated aero-medical oxygen supply and twelve power centres for medical or auxiliary equipment.

For the paratroop role, the aircraft is equipped with door-jump platforms and static lines, and can carry up to 24 fully equipped paratroops. Paratroop jumps can be carried out from the paratroop doors on both sides of the cargo compartment or from the cargo ramp and rear door.


The C-27J is equipped with a digital avionics suite integrated by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems. The mission computers are supplied by Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company, and the displays by ADC. Honeywell provides the autopilot and the standby instruments are supplied by BF Goodrich.


The C-27J is equipped with two AE 2100D3 turboshaft engines, supplied by Rolls-Royce Defence North America (formerly Allison). The engines are rated at 5,000shp. Messier-Dowty supply the six-bladed composite propellers.

The aircraft's propulsion system allows the C-27J Spartan to access a wide range of airfields, including short, unprepared strips in hot and high-altitude conditions while transporting heavy loads. The Spartan can perform 3g tactical airlift operations under severe conditions. The navigation and night piloting systems allow the aircraft to fly just above tree height even at night.

The propulsion system provides an increase in aircraft range by 35% and cruise ceiling by 30%, in comparison to the current G-222 tactical transporter configuration from Alenia.

Notice Army wants to buy more Chinooks, has anyone told G3 that Boeing's production line for CH-47 IS CLOSED?

3. Division HQs still intact when making 43-48 mini-BDE UAs. I bet they will be large staffs with lots of senior officer/NCO paper-pushers, ehh mouse-clickers around.

4. Reduction of Combat Engineers which is absurd and illogical in light of DoD's firepower/bombardment Tofflerian/RMA mentality.

5. They will keep Italian-style, cannon-fodder, weak, co-dependant, egomaniac Soldiers in units together longer, Vandegriff-unit manning style. Will die happy together on foot and in trucks with sexy pistol holsters strapped to their legs in wannabe Delta-Force style (emulate the CSA).

Carlton Meyer adds:

"Great powerpoint brief.

Generally, I agree with it all.

What is this 'Unit of Action' BS, call them Groups, Brigades, or Regiments.

I also wondered how much it would cost to reopen the CH-47 production line just to put out a couple dozen new buys? The old plan was to SLEP just 300 of the 471 -47Ds to -47Fs. Why not just SLEP all the current ones?

It would be cheaper and faster to grab the 38 Navy MH-53Es and 41 USAF MH-53Js which they plan to retire and send them through the Marine Corps planned CH-53X SLEP. These helicopters can easily operate from Navy ships, unlike the -47s.

You all may recall my "Dragon Cow" article:

For fixed-wing, the ideal Army support aircraft would be the carrier capable C-2 Greyhound. This solves a big problem for Army rapid deployment forces, especially airborne. They can fly casualties out to carriers and let the Navy take care of them, then pick up food, water, fuel and fly back. Also, use the C-2 for the future SIGINT aircraft since it can operate from carriers when land bases are not possible."

Grumman C-2 Greyhound


As had happened earlier with the S-2 Tracker, the turbine-engined E-2 Hawkeye provided the basis for a COD transport for service with the U.S. Navy in the vital role of transferring urgently required personnel and material from shore bases to aircraft-carriers operating at sea, and vice versa.


Although its origins in the E-2 Hawkeye are readily apparent, the resulting Grumman C-2 Greyhound is significantly different. Perhaps the most notable change related to the fuselage, which is of much greater cross-section, incorporating an upswept aft fuselage section complete with cargo door and an integral loading ramp permitting bulky items such as turbojet engines to be manhandled with relative ease. Less apparent, but no less important, is the fact that the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces were redesigned, the abscence of the Hawkeye's distinctive 'pancake' radome smoothing out airflow patterns in this area and eliminating the requirement for dihedral and inwardly-canted fins and rudders. Of the other changes, perhaps the most notable involved strengthening the nose wheel unit to permit operation at higher gross weights. Fuel capacity was also increased.


Flying for the first time as the YC-2A on 18th November 1964, the Greyhound was initially built in only modest numbers, just 19 aircraft being accepted for service with the Navy between 1965 and 1968. Plans to acquire 12 more at this time fell victim to cancellation and, by the early 1970's, attrition had reduced the quantity in service to just a dozen, these operating alongside even older C-1A Traders from Navy installations both in the Pacific and Mediterranean theatres.


Faced with the question of replacing the vintage C-1A, and in view of the attrition of the Greyhound fleet, the Navy opted to reinstate the C-2A in production during 1982. The first examples of 39 additional Greyhound were delivered to VR-24 at Sigonella, Sicily, shortly before the end of 1985. Under the terms of the $678 million multi-year contract, procurement continued until 1989. Today the C-2A serves with VRC-30 at North Island, VRC-40 at Norfolk, and VRC-50 at NAS Cubi Point, Philippines, VR-24 at Sigonella having disbanded in 1993. Additionally, the two Hawkeye training units, VAW-110 at Miramar and VAW-120 at Norfolk, operate small numbers of Greyhounds to train crews for the COD units.


Wing Dimensions

Wingspan: 24.56 metres (80 feet 7 inches)

Width Folded: 8.94 metres (29 feet 4 inches)

Aspect Ratio: 9.28

Area: 65.03 metres² (700.00 square feet)

Fuselage & Tail

Length: 17.32 metres (56 feet 10 inches)

Height: 4.84 metres (15 feet 10.5 inches)

Tailplane Span: 7.99 metres (26 feet 2.5 inches)

Wheel Track: 5.93 metres (19 feet 5.75 inches)

Wheel Base: 7.06 metres (23 feet 2 inches)


Two Allison T56-A-425 turboprops power the C-2A, each rated at 3,663kW (4,912ehp)


Empty: 16,486kg (36,346lb)

Maximum Take-Off: 26,081kg (57,500lb)

Fuel & Load

Internal Fuel: 5,625kg (12,400lb)

Extenal Fuel: none

Maximum Payload: 4,536kg (10,000lb) for carrier operation or 6,804kg (15,000lb) for land operations


Maximum Level Speed at Optimum Altitude: 357mph (574km/h; 310 knots)

Maximum Cruising Speed at Optimum Altitude: 299mph (482km/h; 260 knots)


Ferry Range: 1,796 miles (2,891 kilometres; 1,560 nautical miles)

Range With a 4,536kg (10,000lb) Payload: more than 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometres; 1,040 nautical miles)


Maximum Rate of Climb at Sea Level: 796 metres (2,610 feet) per minute

Service Ceiling: 10,210 metres (33,500 feet) on a ferry mission or 8,780 metres (28,800 feet) with maximum payload

Minimum Take-Off Run: 684 metres (2,180 feet)

Take-Off Distance to 15 metres (50 feet): 932 metres (3,060 feet) at maximum take-off weight

Landing Distance from 15 metres (50 feet): 691 metres (2,666 feet) at maximum landing weight or 529 metres (1,735 feet) at maximum arrested landing weight

Minimum Landing Run: 435 metres (1,428 feet)

A German Army veteran writes:

"The new proposed Force structure has no good basis for airborne armor - did you already think about armor in SOCOM? I've read opinions that SpecOps are not by definition "light" but simply "special", and I agree. An airborne (airdrop) armor Regiment/Battalion for airhead seizure and offensive defense would probably fit their ego because such a regiment would be among the very first invaders and because it's difficult to trust normal troops if a single regiment is decisive. This is especially true for politicians, and I consider everyone above Oberst (Colonel) as a politician. SOCOM also seems to be better with procurement.

The Army noted in the ppt an increase of SpecOps assets and Stryker Bdes were never called air-drop capable, so there's amazingly no contradiction to official policy so far. As for personnel, I'd use 173nd and an ACR as base for maybe two such regiments - each one Reg at high training level.

But it's not easy to understand the details and the lines between the lines of this Powerpoint monster.

At first sight, I didn't see significant news at all, but at second sight, I recognized some details that you had mentioned.

Let's take page 7, 'tomorrow' graphic as an example; you can do anything within the limits of such a graphic. It's no precise information at all. A lot depends on the implementation, what the people make out of it and so on. The only definitively positive thing that I see is the emphasis on "combined arms" which is quite late and probably not suitable for current missions, but at lest it's a sign towards a OOB that's more robust for 'combined-arms warfare' with organic assets instead of dependence on CAS and such (let's say I read 'more potent 120mm mortars in battalions'

I consider the "xx HQ" as a mistake I think they wanted to depict 'x HQ'

Did you anywhere see the FCS as prominent as usual? Any sign that Stryker is "interim"? If "medium" is reduced to 1/10th of the force, will they invest in many expensive medium-weight vehicles?

I think there should be a regulation; no officer is allowed to use more than one abbreviation per minute or ppt slide.

I've just yesterday completed a ppt presentation for my work, and that had much less colours and small symbols. When I do a presentation, most content is in what I say and the optical element is only an addition. Is the text part of the presentation somewhere available?".

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Author: U.S. Army Initiatives Group, HQDA G-3; Analysis by the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)


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