U.S. set to deploy new, high tech brigade in Iraq

Monday, December 29, 2003

The U.S. military has completed preparations for the deployment of its first digital-networked Stryker Brigade in Iraq.

Military commanders said the Stryker brigade, named after the eight-wheeled vehicle, will seek to demonstrate the U.S. Army's new concept of global deployment.

"But the Stryker brigade isn't primarily about new vehicles," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "It's about a new way of organizing a brigade. It's about networked command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance. It's about links that allow commanders to see and share and understand information about the battlespace."

The brigade is meant for rapid infantry response that can maintain situational awareness while traveling to its destination. The Stryker will transport infantry squads to the battlefield. The brigade's vehicles and other platforms have been integrated into a digital network.

Myers said the Stryker brigade has now been deployed in Kuwait. He said the brigade will soon move into Iraq.

Military commanders said the brigade has been designed to provide troops with uninterrupted situational awareness. They said the army revised their training concepts to instruct soldiers and commanders in the capabilities of the Stryker brigade.

The Marine Corps also plans to deploy the Dragon Eye unmanned air vehicle in Iraq. The Dragon Eye resembles a radio-controlled airplane integrated with sensors and meant for platoon reconnaissance and urban warfare.

The Defense Department has approved plans for the U.S. Army to field six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved an army enhancement plan on Dec. 8 that provides for the acquisition of Stryker Brigade Combat Teams 5 and 6.

The army's plan focused on enhancing the aviation, fire support, network, and sensor capability of SBCTs 5 and 6, and retrofitting brigades 1 through 4 with newer technology as it becomes available. The approval gives the army permission to begin expending funds for the new brigades' acquisition and fielding.

The plan reviewed basing options for the brigades and the desirability of associating Stryker brigades with Air Force aerial expeditionary forces to facilitate development of joint doctrine, training, and deployment.

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