Featured Articles

The Fighting Platoon Sergeant Concept: Leveraging the Experience of a Platoon's Senior NCO to Control the Assault Element

Current U.S. Army infantry platoon methodology places platoon leaders (PLs) at the decisive point (DP) and in control of their assault element, particularly in the offense. In my opinion, this methodology, which is introduced and reinforced during an officer's professional military education is inefficient and ill-suited to the tempo of multi-domain operations (MDO), where young officers realistically have a larger span of control than in past operating concepts. While currently valid within the framework of tactical doctrine, overloading the intellectual bandwidth of PLs with subordinate units and processes increases the fragility of the formation by reducing PLs' situational awareness, limiting their ability to capitalize on opportunity and anticipate contingencies. Furthermore, placing platoon sergeants (PSGs) in a supporting role such as an outer cordon or support-by-fire (SBF) location inhibits their ability to move to and reduce friction points, a primary task of an NCO.

Featured Articles

Mobility, Shock, and Firepower: Light Armor-Infantry Operations in the Past, Present, and Future

For the last few years, the U.S. Army has begun a major shift in training to focus on countering near-peer, well-equipped, and well-funded adversaries fighting with an assortment of mechanized infantry and armored platforms far more capable than the typical insurgency. This means a transition from attempting to win a low-tempo "hearts-and-minds" game to winning a high-tempo, large-scale, combined arms fight against a smarter, modern enemy. This transition to better engage a differing mix of enemies reflects the nature of war itself. Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are constantly evolving as the enemy encounters our weapons' effects, just as we upgrade our weapons and training to counter his advantages. This is especially true in our infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs), which have limited resources to counter bunkers, tanks, and other protected adversarial assets. In response to this deficiency, the 82nd Airborne Division has begun experimenting with a Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) company to augment its light battalions.

Featured Articles

Mission Command of Highly Synchronized Operations at NTC

The brigade combat team (BCT) staff officers I had the opportunity to observe, coach, and train at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, CA, had a thorough understanding of both the definition and the importance of mission command. It is safe to say that most of our tactical leaders well understand this doctrine. However, in this article, I will argue that we have developed a habit of rigid adherence to this doctrine of flexibility. This one-dimensional understanding and practice of mission command contributes to significant challenges in the execution of the defense and the combined arms breach — two operations that typically require a high degree of synchronization and detailed planning.

Featured Articles

The Changing Face of Rifle Qualification: Best Practices to Succeed in a New Era

Individual weapon qualification has long been a staple of Army training. It serves as a method for commanders to gauge unit proficiency and training needs, allows for a certain degree of risk mitigation, and serves as a gate to allow individuals and units to progress to more advanced training. For years, the Army has used a three-position static record fire qualification to achieve these goals across the force. Though that course of fire allowed commanders to have a modicum of understanding of where their units stood in terms of the ability to hit a target from 50 to 300 meters, it did very little to enforce the skills needed to utilize the rifle in combat. Reacting to an immediate threat, reloading, using cover, and changing positions — skills needed to maximize individual Soldier lethality and survivability on the battlefield — were entirely absent from qualification. As a result, these skills were at best secondarily trained, and Soldiers qualified on their M4 carbines had to learn these key tasks in the crucible of ground combat.

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Table of Contents

Infantry in Action

Slide 1
U.S. Army Rangers prepare for extraction from their objective during training at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., on 30 January 2014. (Photo by SPC Steven Hitchcock)

Infantry in Action

Slide 2
Paratroopers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct an airfield seizure on 21 June 2013. (Photo by SGT Juan F. Jimenez)

Infantry in Action

Slide 3
Paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment conduct live-fire training on Fort Bragg, N.C., 9 September 2013. (Photo by SSG Jason Hull)

Infantry in Action

Slide 4
Soldiers with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, take to the road during a joint platoon exercise at the Yakima Training Center, Wash., Sept. 16, 2013. Rising Thunder is a U.S. Army-hosted exercise designed to build interoperability between I Corps, the 7th Infantry Division and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. (Photo by SGT Austan Owen)