Let's continue our holiday shopping. We've already designed the U.S. Navy's gift basket, so now let's put one together for their rival, the Army. What do they want to find under the tree this year?
7. An extra brigade per division
The Army recently beefed up its brigades by adding a third infantry battalion, but decreased the number of brigade combat teams, or BCTs, per division from four to three. With Russia developing new tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, there's a chance the United States Army may need more forces to hold the line. Going back to four BCTs per division wouldn't be a bad idea. Maybe get some separate brigades, as well.
Capt. Lou Cascino, commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), pulls security while Staff Sgt. Eric Stephens and 1st Lt. James Kromhout verify their position during a partnered patrol in Madi Khel, Khowst Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2013. (U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Kamil Sztalkoper, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division)
6. More divisions
In 1989, the United States Army had 18 active divisions, plus 10 more in the National Guard. Today, there are 10 active Army divisions and only eight divisions in the National Guard. Even as the U.S. entered the War on Terror, that total did not increase. Now, ISIS has been beaten down, but the Russian threat is resurging. Let's go back to 1989's division totals and get even more troops on the line.
Shoulder patch of the 3rd Armored Division, one of the divisions deactivated after the Cold War. (US Army graphic)
5. More combat aviation units
The AH-64 Apache is one heck of an equalizer on the battlefield. With 16 Longbow-equipped Hellfires, one Apache could wipe out half a battalion of Russian tanks. But the Army only has 11 combat aviation brigades, according to a Heritage Foundation assessment of American military power. We're sure the U.S. Army would be happy to have one combat aviation brigade per division.
Apache helicopters have successfully taken out advanced air defenses before, but it would still be better to use F-22s when possible. (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)
4. More M1128 "Stryker" Mobile Gun Systems
The M1128 is very mobile and carries a 105mm main gun. While it's not able to stand up to an Armata, or arguably even a piece-of-junk T-72, it can still knock out armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missile launchers, and buildings. Plus, it could give the 82nd Airborne the firepower it's lacked since the M551 was retired decades ago.
Armor Soldiers assigned to 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, fire the Stryker's 105mm main gun during a live fire range 28 March 2011, at Yakima Training Center, Wash. (US Army photo)
3. New tanks and IFVs
While the Abrams and Bradley are great, they're old designs. Everyone loves to get the newest, high-tech gadget for Christmas — we think the U.S. Army would appreciate it, too. A new tank and IFV makes for a great gift. Plus, Russia's been making great strides on their tanks; America needs to modernize.
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks move to engage targets during a joint combined arms live-fire exercise near Camp Buehring, Kuwait Dec. 6-7, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron Ellerman)
2. A new scout helicopter
One consequence of the budget cuts enacted under the Obama Administration was that the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior was retired without an immediate replacement. Yes, UAVs can handle some reconnaissance, but not all. A new version of the Lakota could be had relatively cheap, in federal budget terms.
Airbus H145M, showing a gun pod on the left and a 12-round rocket pod on the right. (Photo from Airbus Helicopters)
1. Re-start A-10 production
Yes, the A-10 is technically an Air Force system, but the need for close-air support is always there. We're told the F-35 or the OA-X program will replace the A-10, but somehow, that doesn't seem to add up.
Two U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly in a wingtip formation after refueling from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan Castelan)
What do you think the U.S. Army should get for Christmas? Let us know in the comments.