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MOS: 11S - The necessary consolidation of US Army Snipers

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Here's Joe. Joe is in the US Army Infantry. Joe does exceptionally well, physically, mentally, and accurately. Joe is selected to be an Army Sniper. Joe goes through months of training in preparation for the US Army Sniper School. After graduation, Joe receives the Army Skill Identifier: B4. Joe is excited! Joe progresses throughout the next two years, learning some of the tradecraft needed to succeed as a US Army Sniper. Some you say? Yes, some.

While infantry tasks are a priority, sniper sections within these companies lack the necessary resources (i.e. time, land, ammunition) to be the effective team we all want them to be.

This is one very small example of how small teams are affected by the current promotion system, and training.

History of the American Sniper,

The year is 1861 and the country is divided in a civil war, both halves preparing to fight for control of land.  Hiram Berdan, and inventor and skilled marksman known as top shot in the country for fifteen years running, has asked to be allowed to raise a corps of skilled sharpshooters to support the Union Army. General Winfield Scott and President Lincoln both backed this venture, and in the summer of 1861 Berdan started recruiting the eighteen companies, from eight states, which were formed into the First and Second U.S. Sharpshooter regiments, he was named Colonel of the First. The recruiting process was a series of tests that the shooter had to pass.

To be selected each man had to be able to place ten shots in a ten-inch circle from two hundred yards away. They were able to choose a rifle and position of their preference for the test. To be eligible a Sharpshooter had to possess three things, a keen eye, steady hands and superior skill with a rifle. Additionally, it took cool nerves to be able to estimate their target carefully, determine the high trajectory needed and to take in consideration the effect that any current wind may have.

After the selection process, training began in the Washington DC training and barracks, each recruit was given a new green colored Union Uniform, these differ from the normal blue that other Union soldiers wore. Along with the new uniform each sharp shooter was promised a new sharps carbine rifle and in the mean time ammunition for the rifle they were currently using. It took about 2 years for the sharps rifles to arrive in full order and many of the sharpshooters still preferred the rifles they were using. Eventually the green uniforms were replaced by the normal Union Blue due to targeting of the sharpshooters directly.

At the Gettysburg battle, Berdan's two regiments of sharpshooters delayed the Confederate military attacks on Devils Den and the Peach Orchard. In the Pitzer's Woods the 1st US Sharpshooters Stalled the advancing Alabama brigade. The sharpshooters were trained to spot and kill leaders in the Confederate ranks, as well as any Confederate sharpshooters. For these reasons the sharpshooters made huge differences at those battles.

As you can see, having high standards for these soldiers, as well as training together and working as a unit produced maximum efficiency. Training together is a critical part of success in the world of one shot one kill. 

The consolidation of US Army Snipers is a necessary change needed within the US Army, and can effectively be done by creating the following Military Occupational Specialty: 11S.

A Infantry Brigade (5000+ Personnel) would have a Sniper Company (80+ Personnel).

Similar to the United States Marine Corps, Sniper promotions would extend through E-8.

Company Commanders within their Battalions would task organize the amount of sniper teams needed for a specific mission.

The Sniper Company would then send x amount of teams to support said mission.

There would be no question in the effectiveness of the sniper teams if they are allotted the proper training.

Training would be 20x more effective in a consolidated environment.





I. WHEREAS, Snipers are becoming an increasingly valued weapon in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. A definite renaissance of sniping is being seen across the front lines of war. The sniper was such an effective tool in Iraq that the sniper’s tactical comeback in Afghanistan is being facilitated by the mounting concerns over the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan caused by collateral damage from coalition air strikes. This has made the sniper the military’s most cost effective, discriminating fighting machine in the Global War on Terror. As the military draws down and budget cuts loom, the military will place additional dependence on affordable force multipliers.

Two of the most effective force multipliers currently in the war on terror are unmanned aerial drones (UAVs) and the modern military sniper. These force multipliers can be outfitted to emphasize any role necessary, from reconnaissance to combat and everything in between. Both are relatively inexpensive and fit well into the military’s transformation to a smaller, more agile force

IIa. WHEREAS, The missions, tactics, capabilities, limitations, training and doctrine differ completely from the standard Infantry (11B) Military Occupational Specialty;

IIb. WHEREAS, The current rate at which Snipers are removed from postions within a Company or Battalion is far too fast to adequately pass on knowledge;

IIc. WHEREAS, The current cycle of pushing Snipers, who have spent years developing their knowledge and skills to the point that they are finally subject-matter-experts, back to a normal Infantry line Company, based on what the United States Army deems as "best for their career progression" only serves to weaken the capability and morale of Snipers Army-wide;
IId. WHEREAS, The ability of a soldier to stay in the Sniper position for more than two or three years is vital to the continuity of the Sniper's future role in the United States Army, given the level of training and experience offered by not being forced out of the Sniper role due to rank;
IIe. WHEREAS, The leadership experience gained from working with a small unit has been proven by other communities (Special Forces, Explosives Ordinance Disposal, etc.) has been proven to positively impact a Soldier's career;
IIf. WHEREAS, A highly-trained corps of Snipers will be an invaluable asset in future conflicts that involve a wide spectrum of operations, from surgical strikes against high-value targets, to force-on-force confrontations with a soverign Nation, to further Counter-Insurgency operations, providing Commanders with a lethal, flexible tool that can be trusted to perform their mission and return safely;
IIg. WHEREAS, The current Additional Skill Identifier of B4 that is given to graduates of the United States Army Sniper School is not enough to guarantee the Sniper a useful position within a Company or Battalion, and is easily overlooked by Commanders, First-line supervisors and other Leaders,
IIh. WHEREAS, The Sniper's career progression and skill set is adversely impacted by the current system of being placed temporarily in a Sniper-coded position by forcing him to adhere to the 11B career-progression model and sacrifice expertise in either the Infantry tasks or Sniper tasks for mediocrity in both,
IIi. WHEREAS, The United States Marine Corps has already solved these issues by creating a seperate Military Occuptional Specialty for graduates of their Scout-Sniper School,

IIi. THEREFORE, It is proposed that the United States Army grant the graduates of the United States Army Sniper School a Military Occupational Specialty of 11S.

IIj. ADDITONALLY, Adoption of this proposal would ensure: continuity of knowledge, creation of true subject-matter experts, rapid dissemination of experience-driven tactics, improved morale, improved combat capability for Company- and Battalion-level Commands, realistic career progression, and a corps of Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers that are completely capable of operating with minimal supervision under adverse and dangerous conditions in any environment.

IIIa. WHEREAS, The United States Marine Corps takes pride in the difficulty, length and acheviment of their Scout Sniper School,
IIIb. THEREFORE, The United States Army shall lengthen the training period at the United States Army Sniper School from seven to twelve weeks, adding the following cirriculum: Small-unit tactics(RSLC/SUT), Recon Communications(RSLC-based), Sniper Operations Planning (RSLC-based), and Urban Sniper Operations. Additionally, the United States Army Sniper School will increase the minimum passing grade from 70% to 85% on all graded events.

IV. WHEREAS,  The United States Army needs to establish a formal career progression for
Sniper qualified personal to become Sniper Employment Officers through a Warrant Officer  program. This position would create an incentive for Sergeants and Staff Sergeants who have  exhausted their Sniper Team Leader and Section Leader time in a brigade combat team to  become United States Army Warrant Officers. The move to adopt a Warrant Officer Sniper MOS would open the door for snipers to work in the field longer, receive better training, and improve  the overall quality and hit percentages of the Army sniper. The Sniper Employment Officer would  be able to advise and assist combatant commanders on the employment, training and equipment  needs of snipers. This career field would be highly competitive and cost effective to the unit and the Army.

Va. WHEREAS, Infantry Commanders at the Company and Battalion level are unaware of the full capabilities that Snipers bring to their Commands and therefore place a low priority on training, employing and otherwise utilizing Snipers.

Vb. THEREFORE. It is proposed that the United States Army implement a course designed for Officers at the Platoon and Company levels, to provide instruction on the capabilities, limitations and missions of Snipers. This course will be  taught by current Sniper Non-Commissioned Officers and cover the following topics: capabilities, limitations, typical employment, mission planning considerations, and training considerations. This course will feature time working alongside the students at USASS during their final FTX, from the Planning Phase to Recovery, with the SEO students acting as Commanders and Headquarters elements to better personally understand the requests, information and approaches Snipers take to accomplishing missions.


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