Leadership: July 16, 2003


Britain learned some useful lessons from their recent Iraqi experience. For the first time in many years, they had to call up 5,000 reservists, and found that this process would work better if there were more advance warning for the reservists. It was also discovered that the years many of the combat troops had spent in peacekeeping operations (in Northern Ireland and the Balkans) did not degrade combat capability (although mainly because of intense combat training after peacekeeping tours.) It was discovered once more that there were many radio systems that were incompatible with other friendly systems and, alas, this only seems to get discovered when there are large scale combat operations and everyone comes to the show and uses all their gear. However, Britain was scheduled to introduce a new family of tactical radios (Bowman) to replace the older (Clansmen) gear in 2004. One of the new Bowman radio types, the personal radio for troops communicating at the squad level, was available for all British infantry. These well designed, and secure from eavesdropping, systems were very popular with the troops. These radios had gotten their first try out in Afghanistan and the success there led to speeding up deployment for the Iraq campaign. The troops are hoping that the rest of the Bowman type radios are as good. The U.S. Marines were so impressed with the Bowman Personal Radio that they went and ordered 5,000. There were logistical problems, particularly in getting desert equipment to the combat troops. This led to some angry troops, and bad publicity back home. 




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