The necessity of protection
The 17th Field Artillery Brigade is an organization with unique force projection capabilities. Its High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) have an effective range of 300 kilometers and can target enemy forces with pinpoint accuracy and devastating effects.
The ability to shape deep into the enemy’s area of operation (AO) makes it a lucrative target for hostile adversaries and requires the 17th Field Artillery Brigade commander to implement both active and passive defensive measures to deny the enemy targets of opportunity. To determine what defensive measures must be enacted, the inherent vulnerabilities of 17th Field Artillery Brigade will be explored and analyzed through the lens of the protection warfighting function (WFF).1 For the purposes of this analysis, the rear area vulnerability and HIMARS signature will be used to study how 17th Field Artillery Brigade operates as America’s First Corps Force Field Artillery (FFA).2 While far from comprehensive, this analysis will highlight methods used to bridge capability gaps and help advance the protection WFF at the field artillery (FA) brigade level.
The 17th Field Artillery Brigade deployed to the Korean peninsula in support of I Corps’ Warfighter (WF) 18-02 in November 2017. While deployed forward, it quickly became evident of the importance of having a vigorous protection cell to collect, analyze and disseminate information concerning a wide range of threats to include chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological effects, cyber-attacks, ground and air attacks, enemy artillery fire and missile launches. After analyzing the multitude of threats presented against the FFA headquarters, the protection chief must integrate seamlessly with I Corps in order to synchronize defensive measures with adjacent units and to use active interdicting effects to disrupt enemy offensive operations. During WF 18-02, the protection cell crafted metrics for performance that allowed for easily digested assessments to drive decision making. Metrics
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