Army Fires Capabilities for 2025 and Beyond
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From early 2002 until early 2016, the Army focused primarily on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and the field artillery branch saw considerable reduction of its force structure and a commensurate cut in modernization funding. By late 2016, aggressive moves by Russia against Crimea and Ukraine, fear of Russian coercion against the Baltic nations, an expanding Iranian military, and rapidly growing Chinese military capabilities had contributed to a change in focus, and the Army was in the process of reorienting back to conventional combat against the armed forces of another nation-state. This shift highlighted the need to take a detailed look at the state of the field artillery, long a key branch of the service when conventional combat capabilities are required.
This study focused on examining the types of capabilities that Army field artillery will need in future operations from the present into the early 2030s. The authors examined several illustrative scenarios to determine the threats that field artillery units will encounter and the types of missions the artillery will be expected to perform in the future. The authors identify the types of capability gaps that may be present in today's field artillery and recommend courses of action that the Army might take to fill those gaps and better prepare the artillery for future missions. Because virtually all operations today are joint, the study also examined the current and emerging capabilities of the other services, and the authors' recommendations on how to improve Army field artillery take into account what the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps can contribute in terms of air-to-ground and surface-to-surface fires.