Pacific forces prep for Stryker

The 25th Infantry Division is the Army's only division available for emergencies in the Pacific theater and those troops soon will be even more mobile and lethal, thanks to advanced information technology tools.

Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, commander of the 25th Infantry Division, said two of the division's three brigades will become Stryker brigades as part of the Army's overall transformation to the Objective Force, a strategy to develop advanced IT tools, vehicles and weapons that will make the Army's armored forces better able to survive an all-out fight.

The Stryker is a 19-ton wheeled armored vehicle. Ten different versions feature armor protection, advanced command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities, and can travel at speeds of about 60 miles per hour.

Strykers will serve the Army until the Objective Force and Future Combat System are ready by 2010. FCS will equip manned and unmanned Army vehicles with information and communications systems to enable soldiers to conduct missions, including command and control, surveillance and reconnaissance, direct and indirect fire, and personnel transport.

"Right now, we are not a high-tech force at the infantry level," Olson said during a Nov. 19 speech at AFCEA International's TechNet Asia-Pacific 2002 Conference and Exposition in Honolulu. "You have to go the brigade level" for increased situational awareness.

Olson said the division's first Stryker brigade is scheduled for initial operating capability in the summer of 2005, and it will be the fifth of the Army's six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

"This is the future of the 25th and the Army in Hawaii...[and] will be a quantum leap in combat power," he said.

Still, the Strykers will not solve all of the Army's problems, and Olson laid out a number of challenges that he asked industry to help solve:

* Support for geographically and functionally distributed operations.

* Integrated command and control capabilities for the Stryker brigades and the Objective Force.

* Decreasing the tactical vulnerabilities of battlefield command posts, both in physical size and from a cyber warfare perspective.

* Bringing a common operational picture to the battlefield for commanders to access, as well as an en route planning capability.

* 'Just enough' logistics, getting just enough of the right tools to the right people at the right time because "the only thing worse than not having [something] at all is having too much."

* Training, including simulations, to keep soldiers updated on Stryker and future IT tools as they are rolled out.

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