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By Scott R. Gourley

Over the past year, the U.S. Army ‘Fires’ community has witnessed myriad changes and developments across all elements of the DOTMLPF [Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities] spectrum.

Continuing Doctrinal Evolution

In terms of doctrine, for example, the recently-revised U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet 525-3-4, ‘Army Functional Concept for Fires, 2016-2028,’ dated October 2010, incorporates a number of key changes from its predecessor version, ‘The Army Functional Concept for Strike 2015-2024.’

In addition to changing underlying terminology from ‘Strike’ to ‘Fires,’ the newest version describes the broad fires capabilities that future Army forces will require in the 2016-2028 timeframe.

Significantly, the document expands the fires warfighting function to include indirect fires, air and missile defense, electronic attack, and joint fires as elements of that function. Within the expanded function, it emphasizes, ‘the need for operationally adaptable offensive and defensive fires and focuses on developing a versatile set of capabilities that future Army forces will employ with increased discrimination to defeat a wide range of threats in the future operational environment.’

One transformational change from earlier versions involves shifting the conceptual and operating focus of fires, ‘from major combat operations to that of operational adaptability and fires for full-spectrum operations under conditions of uncertainty and complexity.’

Other doctrinal adjustments supporting that conceptual shift range from the incorporation of air and missile defense into the Army fires warfighting function; to placing less emphasis on technology’s ability to provide situational awareness and understanding; to placing more emphasis on a wide range of conventional to precision capabilities, and less reliance on precision capabilities alone.

While the broad fires warfighting function includes the elements of indirect fires, air and missile defense, electronic attack, and joint fires, magazine space constraints mandate limiting the scope of this article to programs and changes from the indirect fires (field artillery) arena as representative examples of the activities underway in each of the other major elements of the fires warfighting function.

Program Organizational Changes

One representative organizational change can be found in the late January 2011 transfer of towed artillery programs to the Program Executive Office for Ammunition (PEO Ammo). Under the 20 January decision by Army Acquisition Executive Malcolm O’Neill, PEO Ammo received the Program Manager Lightweight 155 office from PEO Ground Combat Systems. As part of that transfer, the PM office was renamed as Program Manager for Towed Artillery Systems.

The suite of systems that has transferred from PEO GCS to PEO Ammunition include: Lightweight 155mm M777A2 Howitzer – A joint Army and Marine program; M198 Howitzer – The legacy 155mm towed howitzer for the Army, which is being replaced by the M777A2; M119A2 Howitzer – A lightweight 105mm howitzer used in a direct support artillery role for Infantry Brigade Combat Teams and used extensively in Afghanistan; Russian D-30 Howitzer – A Russian 122mm howitzer that PEO Ammunition is responsible for refurbishing for the Afghan Army; Gun Laying and Positioning System – A legacy system that provides critical input for the field artillery mission on the digital battlefield, determining precise aiming of cannon artillery; and the M111 Improved Position and Azimuth Determining System Program – An inertial survey system that is not dependent on the Global Positioning System, that is used to provide primary and back-up, precise location, elevation and direction for field artillery cannons, rockets, missiles and Patriot air defense artillery platforms.

The organizational transfer to PEO Ammo had

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