Army releases restructuring plan that might end the Infantry and Cavalry scout rivalry

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bret Brunco assigned to 2nd Squadron, 14th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division signals his platoon during a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, May 15, 2018. The CALFEX utilizes all the enablers available to the unit in order to increase interoperability, concentrate combat power and mass effects on the objective. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ryan DeBooy)

By Andy Wolf

A new document released by the US Army revealed a clue as to the fate of cavalry units around America’s largest ground force— But which way will it go?

The “Army Force Structure Transformation” document proposes a series of moves the Army is focusing on that will ultimately change and modernize the current force.

“Throughout its history, the Army has transformed to keep pace with technology, accomplish national strategic objectives, and defeat ever-evolving threats,” the document states. “For nearly twenty years, the Army’s force structure reflected a focus on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations that dominated after the 9/11 attacks.”

“The Army will continue to need capabilities related to these missions,” the document continued, “But in light of the changing security environment and evolving character of war, the Army is refocusing on conducting large-scale combat operations against technologically advanced military powers. To meet these requirements, the Army must generate new capabilities and re-balance its force structure.”

On the to-do list was a curious item of note:

“The preponderance of the remaining Army-wide reductions resulted from adjustments to the close combat forces,” the document read. “Using modeling and simulations, the Army identified targeted reductions in legacy formations that had previously been sized and structured for soldier-intensive COIN operations that will now be optimized for large-scale or multi-domain combat operations. These reductions included:

  • inactivation of cavalry squadrons in continental US-based Stryker brigade combat teams and infantry brigade combat teams
  • conversion of infantry brigade combat team weapons companies to platoons, and
  • elimination of some positions across Regular Army security force assistance brigades representing a decrease to capacity at minimal risk.”

The removal of cavalry units from select elements are reportedly “close combat force adjustments, which focused on elements of brigade combat teams that are less relevant to large scale combat operations, account for roughly 10,000 additional reductions in authorizations.”

It isn’t detailed as to what the actual plan will be with cavalry squadrons, from the possibility of being folded into armor components or simply the move being a removal of cavalry units as part of an infantry-fillable component.

The Infantry and Cavalry Scout occupations have a long-standing rivalry, particularly during the War on Terror.

With no near-peer enemy to fight, 19Ds frequently got assigned and utilized in “diet infantry” roles they were never meant to fill. Additionally, many cavalry squadrons and regiments had a healthy stock of Infantry soldiers, albeit in “recon” or mobile troop roles.

“The Cav serves its purpose. What they are NOT, however, is Infantry,” said Eddie Monaghan on Quora. “And there’s the rub. Many of them think they are Infantry… They most definitely are wrong on that. So, we give them sht. They give us sht. Always has been that way, always will be.”

“‘If you ain’t Cav you ain’t sh*t’” S. Ray replied. “It’s this mentality that likely makes a rivalry with the Infantry. Our Troop was comprised of 19D, 19K, 11B, and 11C. All were considered ‘CAV’. As 19D we have a different and more diverse role. We are better trained for contingency operations and recon. Infantry is suppress, flank, and clear. In current operations, our roles have become about the same. If they don’t like us it’s because they are envious.”

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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