Army Training and Doctrine Command took over the service's Ft. Meade, MD-based Asymmetric Warfare Group on Nov. 11, and is tasked with refashioning the office into a smaller outfit that can be expanded for use in future conflicts.

The transition marks the end of AWG's existence as a so-called field operating agency attached to the Army headquarters staff. Then-Army Secretary Francis Harvey created the group in 2006, primarily to help combat improvised explosive devices in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

With a U.S. departure from these two theaters on the calendar, the Army has begun reviewing its roster of temporary organizations created during the past decade to meet wartime needs. Secretary John McHugh expects that steps to eliminate, streamline and realign organizations with overlapping responsibilities would bring $100 million in savings by fiscal year 2014, according to a March 17 memo.

A Sept. 23 memo from McHugh to TRADOC Commander Gen. Robert Cone instructs the four-star to present an integration "status update" concerning AWG within six months. A more comprehensive plan regarding the group's future at TRADOC is due within 18 months, according to the document.

Part of that plan will involve determining the group's relevancy in the "future operational environment," and putting in place a mechanism that allows for the rapid restoration of the full capabilities in the case of future conflicts with an asymmetric slant, according to the memo. Also required is an assessment on how best to retain an "action arm" for working with combatant commanders and keeping training and rapid-capability development channels operational, the document adds.

In a June 22 interview with ITA, then-AWG Commander Col. James Mis said the organization would continue to send embedded "warrior-counselors" to Afghanistan as long as U.S. forces remain there. The group's focus includes counter-IED activities, particularly in the intelligence arena, as well as information operations, Mis said.

Part of AWG's job description involves exposing the Achilles heel of those waging asymmetric war against the United States, according to Mis. "We, too, can capitalize on the vulnerabilities that those enemies present to us," he said.

The term "asymmetric warfare" gained prominence as military thinkers sought to describe a new reality on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, where relatively few and poorly equipped insurgents successfully attacked the hugely expensive American war apparatus.

Page last updated Wed November 23rd, 2011 at 00:00