Direct and Indirect Fires in the 21st Century   [open pdf - 235KB]

The recent termination of the Crusader program, coupled with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's May 2002 testimony before Congress on his belief that the future lies with air-delivered precision munitions, has called into question the future of the Field Artillery as a branch, and the delivery of ground-based fires as a function. Although the Crusader maybe technologically sophisticated, many claim that it is somehow out of touch with how the U.S. military currently fights and how it will fight in the future. This chapter attempts to demonstrate how this thinking is wrong. Instead, a technologically sophisticated Crusader or a Crusader-like system, coupled with advanced munitions and target detection and location capabilities, is not only relevant, but represents a transformation in how the Army could fight and win America's future wars. The potential exists for a new way of fighting that takes advantage of the capabilities that are currently or soon to be available. These include: a Crusader-like delivery system that has comparable mobility to the currently fielded tank and infantry-fighting vehicle; munitions that are GPS-enabled, sensor fused, with at least a 40-kilometer range; and an acquisition system that is accurate, survivable, and persistent with an ability to respond to terminal guidance provided by a laser and capable of digital connection directly to the weapon system. The final requirement to implement this system would be a willingness to change the way the Army trains its leaders and soldiers, organizes its units, and looks at ground maneuver problems. By taking each of the individual improvements and using them together to create a systemic and doctrinal improvement, there is a chance for a true revolution in how this nation's military conducts the business of war.

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Murray, Williamson. National Security Challenges for the 21st Century. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2003, ch. 8.
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