Homeland Defense Enables Army Force Projection

Homeland Defense Enables Army Force Projection

U.S. Army paratroopers with 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade get ready to board a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules during an airborne operation at the 7th Army Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, May 16, 2024.
Photo by: U.S. Army/Markus Rauchenberger

The Army’s ability to project power in a contested logistics environment starts at home, a panel of Army leaders said during a Hot Topic forum hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

“Our ability to project combat power absolutely is a competitive advantage that we currently maintain,” said Maj. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, commanding general of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. “We are a global Army. We are a global Department of Defense. But if you look at our force posture, the reality is that we are a continental United States-based force.” 

Though “the homeland is not a sanctuary,” the U.S. still far outpaces its global adversaries, said Andrew Metrick, a defense program fellow at the Center for a New American Security.  

“The homeland is a key weapon system,” he said at the Hot Topic on contested logistics. “The ability of the United States to project combat power around the globe on short notice is our key differentiator when you compare us with our adversaries. Neither China nor Russia … have the same ability as the United States to put [their troops] on the other side of the globe.” 

As the nation anticipates attacks from adversaries, ensuring homeland defense is a “critical task,” added Maj. Gen. Scott Sherman, commander of U.S. Army North’s Task Force 51.

“One of the most critical tasks that we look at for homeland defense is assuring power projection for military facilities and mitigating the effects of attacks against the homeland,” he said. “Defense of critical infrastructure is essential. Our competitors are actively competing and contesting us in the non-kinetic domain.” 

Maintaining the Army’s contested logistics edge will require help from all soldiers. 

“There’s an inextricable link between homeland defense, defensive critical structure and our ability to maintain our strategic advantage, which [affects] our ability to project combat power,” Lawrence said. “The challenges that we are facing as loggies are not being looked at as loggie problems. They’re being looked at as Army problems.”