Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Army quietly deactivates its small-team reconnaissance units - News - Stripes

Army quietly deactivates its small-team reconnaissance units - News - Stripes: The Army will quietly deactivate its three long-range surveillance companies in the active-duty force in the remaining days of January, along with four National Guard companies in 2018, the Army said.

The nearly 100 soldiers in each of three active-duty companies attached to three Corps commands at Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington will be reassigned to other units at those posts, said Lt. Col. Christina Kretchman, an Army spokeswoman.

Army National Guard units in Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana and Alabama will fold up their long-range surveillance companies and reassign those soldiers in August 2018, Kretchman said.

Stars and Stripes first reported in July that senior leaders decided to deactivate the companies through an evaluation in the Total Army Analysis, a force structure program used to balance the composition of the force with strategy and resources.

Computer models were used to conclude long-range surveillance companies were not in demand by ground commanders.

Defense analysts have said Army commanders have an aversion to risk and a growing preference to use technology such as satellites and drones for reconnaissance rather than insert small teams of soldiers.

Long-range surveillance companies in the Army are comprised of 15 six-man teams led by a staff sergeant. The teams specialize in navigating forward positions to monitor enemy movement and gather intelligence for commanders.