[Defense in Brief] U.S. Army boosts its air defenses

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The U.S. military is continuing to transition its focus away from low-intensity conflicts like those that have dominated interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and more towards great-power conflict.

That includes the U.S. Army, of course, which has developed a “key combat enabler” system for joint use with allies — Air Defense Artillery.

As the Army returns to high-tempo, high-intensity combat preparations, ADA will play a key role, say leaders.

One of the Army’s leading ADA architects, Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire, commander of the ADA school at Fort Sill, Okla., has identified a number of key priorities for the current Chief of Staff of the Army and among them is a widening role for defensive capabilities. As the force maneuvers in battle, defensive measures will become the key to survivability, he said.

“The way I look at the situation,” McIntire said, “is similar to two boxers sparring and working together to defeat the adversary. One boxer is throwing the offensive punches; the second boxer is providing for the defense of the force. The two boxers working together provide for the striking defense force to defeat the adversary, thus allowing the maneuver force the ability to get into the close fight.”

With the approach of realistic, functioning, powerful laser weapons, “a recalibrated and integrated ADA force will have increasing impact on dealing with the threat,” said one report. [source]

(Analyst comment: The Pentagon’s efforts to move away from low-intensity conflict and prepare for high-intensity warfare is not coming a moment too soon. While the U.S. focused much of its military strategy on fighting Taliban or Iraqi insurgents, the great powers — unencumbered by engagements in low-intensity affairs — have been building militaries designed specifically for high-intensity warfare. We’re late to the dance, but the dance is far from over. The ADA is one example of one branch of service playing catch-up. The Navy is doing the same thing with its over-the-horizon missile development competition, which just recently ended.)

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