Whether or not the Stryker wheeled vehicle is the rightvehicle for battlefield conditions in Afghanistan is a question thatremains unanswered. What we do know: DOD wants a lot more of them. A drafterversion of the quadrennial defense review (QDR), the once every four yearcongressionally mandated strategy review, has been leaked and is making therounds in Washingtondefense policy circles.
The draft QDR calls for nearly doubling the number ofStryker brigades while trimming the number of heavy brigade combat teams. TheArmy currently has seven Stryker BCTs, six active and one reserve. The draftQDR calls for up to 13 Stryker BCTs.
Commanders lauded their performance in Iraq where theeight wheeled vehicle's mobility and smooth ride were a big plus. In Afghanistan,however, the 5th SBCT, the first Stryker brigade to see combatthere, has suffered heavy losses to IEDs, the Taliban insurgent's forcemultiplier.
Influential retired Army Maj. Gen. Bob Scales wrote in arecent article that appeared in Armed Forces Journal that the Stryker is thewrong vehicle for Afghanistan."The vehicles have proven to be too thinly armored to survive the very largeexplosive power of Taliban IEDs and too immobile to maneuver off road to avoidthem," he wrote.
Here's how the draft QDR breaks down a notional future Armyforce structure:
- 73 total brigade combat teams (BCTs) (45 AC and28 RC), consisting of
- 40 infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs) (20 ACand 20 RC)
- 9 -13 Stryker brigade combat teams (SBCTs) (8-12AC and 1 RC)
- 20 -24 heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs) (13-17AC and 7 RC)
- 20 - 21 combat aviation brigades (CABs) 12 - 13AC and 8 RC
- 18 Division headquarters (10 AC and 8 RC
- 4 Corps headquarters (all AC)