No Maneuver MAGTF??

by Maj Kenneth W. Estes

* . . . Maj J.D. Burke’s article (Sep82). . . is a foot-in-mouth exercise on the MAGTF. [He seems mesmerized by the composition of a notional MAB and MAF] and to think (and write) as if the MAU, MAB, and MAF have specific T/Os and T/Es. This notion strikes me as only less dangerous than the premise that MAGTFs will fight and win on the defense.

There is little problem in task organizing a MAGTF for maneuver warfare, provided that its staff understands such a style of fighting and properly analyzes METT in that context. To say that “. . . the MAGTF is organized and equipped to fight firepower attrition warfare, not maneuver warfare (p.70)” merely implies that those officers detailed to plan and execute a MAGTF mission have chosen such a style of fighting, and nothing more. The task organization of a MAGTF for maneuver warfare will emphasize mobility vice numbers of bayonets on the ground and responsiveness vice payload in the air to pose a simple comparison. There is no reason, for instance, that a MAB composed of a reconnaissance company, combat engineer company, and two infantry battalions (all mounted on LVTs), a tank battalion, and a self-propelled artillery battalion, all supported by a squadron each of Harriers, TOW-Cobras, Skyhawks, and Hornets with the usual ancillary units (e.g. Hawk, Redeye, ground TOW, mobile CSS) cannot execute maneuver vice attrition tactics. Whether each type of unit is sufficient in number remains a function of the situation and METT analysis. It seems clear that Maj Burke’s conclusions are based on the notional MAB construct so dear to the planners, not any MAB organized through METT analysis as a MAGTF. From this aspect alone his conclusions remain as erroneous as his analysis. . . .