The model for this lighter, faster and deadlier Army would be the venerable 101st Airborne (Air Assault) and the Rangers. Both units were formed, trained and equipped around the idea that speed, surprise and aggressiveness could help make up for their lack of heavy weapons like tanks and heavy artillery. Airborne and air assault operations are considerably more expensive than more conventional ground-based operations. The cost and the institutional memory of the difficulties of the airborne drops over Normandy in 1944 have contributed to limited use of these operations. However, with technological advancements in aircraft, weapons and communications it is time to exploit the force multiplying effect of airborne/air assault.
(In a future post I will discuss issues such as cost, weapons and equipment and organizational changes that need to be addressed for the shift to an airborne/air assault based Army and Marine Corps.)