The Field Grade Leader in a Stryker Formation

Major Josh Powers

My first experience with Strykers was as a field grade officer after service in both Armor and Light formations. The Stryker formation is powerful, but only if leaders understand its true capabilities and limitations. This article highlights the strengths of a Stryker formation and how field grade leaders enable success by exploiting those relative advantages.

Key Strengths: Operational mobility, mission command on the move, dismounted AT systems.

Key Tensions: Relative tempo between mounted mobility and dismounted maneuver.

Operational Mobility. The primary strength of a Stryker formation is its ability to conduct rapid movement, beating enemy forces to complex terrain. This type of movement is only possible if the organization can leverage transitions between tactical actions. Field grade leaders enable these transitions by training rapid and distributed execution of the operations process. In our SBCT, the Brigade staff trained with the goal of publishing an OPORD in 20 hours while Battalions trained to publish in 8 hours. Whatever the standard, rapid execution of the operations process requires repetitions in training. Additionally, field grade leaders are the architects of the organization’s battlefield infrastructure. Where do you place the TOC, TAC, FTCP, CTCP, retrans, and Role I? How does the infrastructure for the current fight enable or hinder transition to the next fight?

Mission Command on the Move. The next key strength of a Stryker formation is its ability to conduct mission command on the move. As a Stryker Brigade Combat Team S3, I coordinated action through CPOF and chat from the back of my Stryker. Field grade leaders enable mission command on the move through mastering organic systems and TOC functions. Field grade leaders must understand the nuances of each mission command system and how they integrate together. Though each formation has a different approach, you’re probably doing it wrong if you aren’t harnessing organic digital capabilities. Additionally, field grades enable action by rehearsing mission command transitions.

Dismounted Anti-Tank Systems. The final key strength of a Stryker formation is density of dismounted anti-tank systems. As previously discussed, Stryker formations maximize operational mobility to control complex terrain. Dismounted anti-tank systems are the Stryker formation’s primary means to accomplish this task. Though physical employment of anti-tank systems is delegated to subordinate organizations, field grade leaders set conditions for success through a number of actions. First, leaders define the fight within an operational framework (deep/close/support). Who is responsible for killing what? How do you manage or mitigate the seams between organizations? Next, leaders deconflict airspace to enable organic fires. The Stryker company has significant indirect fire capabilities, but they are only effective if the Battalion and Brigade properly manage the airspace. This is not an easy task, requiring training repetitions and dialogue between various staff sections.

The primary tension that I observed was understanding the tempo of a Stryker formation. As defined in ADRP 3–0, “tempo is the relative speed and rhythm of military operations over time with respect to the enemy.” A key take away is that tempo is not a fixed pace, but rather a varied approach dependent on your relationship with the enemy. As previously described, operational mobility represents a relatively rapid tempo, where forces attempt to beat their adversary to complex terrain. However, that relative tempo is substantially decreased once forces dismount in the vicinity of complex terrain. The transition between mounted movement and dismounted maneuver is a decisive point and will surely be exploited by an adversary who retains freedom of movement.

What is your organization’s vision for employment? The majority of the comments I’ve highlight indicate the need for a well thought out and synchronized approach to organizational employment. Leaders use this vision as a framework for training leading up to a CTC rotation or deployment.


Enjoy this article? Follow my content on Facebook or on Twitter @FieldGradeLDR

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Josh Powers’s story.