Patriot: The Army’s Over-Committed and Misaligned Strategic Shaping Force

  • Lieutenant Colonel Mark Alan Holler

The U.S. Army’s Patriot force is a national strategic asset vital to stability in volatile regions of the world. Patriot deployment to foreign soil sends a strong message of commitment and resolve to protect U.S. national interests. Recently, over one-third of the contingency Patriot force has been committed to enduring Theater Missile Defense (TMD) missions in USCENTCOM and USEUCOM. This level of commitment is unsustainable. The current level of rotational deployments threatens readiness and the success of contingencies which require short-notice Patriot deployment to ensure Joint Operational Access. Additionally, Patriot force organization and rotational schedule do not facilitate unity of command. The Army must enact solutions that will enable the Patriot force to simultaneously deter aggression, ensure a high state of readiness, provide an available pool sufficient to meet short-notice contingency requirements, and ensure unity of command throughout all phases of Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN).