The Nigerian Army is growing by the thousands and on track to reach its end strength goal of 200,000 soldiers by the end of 2019, and that will mean enough manpower to fill holes in existing combat units, save some units from planned deactivation, and man some new ones. Its remarkable the speed at which these force structure gains facilitated by the Buhari administration increase have begun.
But that said, today’s evolving threat scenario means the golden age of mass conscript army is outdated. One of the drawbacks of having a large army is that it’s generally easier to kit a small fighting force than a large army. The decision to increase the size of the army comes with its attendant risk putting into account the economic realities.
The Nigerian must realize that the implementation of these force increase decisions, without sacrificing readiness or modernization, is dependent upon receiving future appropriations commensurate with the authorized end strength. There is no short cut to combat effectiveness.
The Army is using a suite of force-shaping measures to retain the ethos and professionalism of the service. One of these measures is the creation of semi autonomous combat and manoeuver units capable of carrying independent operations, in addition to filling existing manning gaps in brigade combat teams. One of the newly created combat unit is the :
8th Mobile Strike Team
The Mobile Strike Team was created to to enable troops deployed to cover the gaps between deployments. It’s mission is to conduct a fighting patrol on the many routes used by army infantry in any area of operation.
This entails clearing areas for the benefit of advancing troops, and securing the perimeter behind troops, cutting off potential escape points of the enemy during operations.
Foot & Recce Patrol Unit and the Mechanized Unit
The foot patrol unit is drawn from men of the Combat Motorcycle Battalion( itself a newly created unit) and Sniper Brigade.
Sometimes the threat lies hidden beneath the ground. Land mines and IED’s planed by Boko Haram have blown up many vehicles, killing the occupants. The task of scanning and disposing of them is slow, difficult and dangerous.
Ensuring roads and forest parts are free from both terrorists and land mines is important to enable quick movement of troops on critical operations. These are routes used by logistics and supplies vehicles to battle areas so that they can easily supply troops with the logistics and supplies they need.
Organic Brigade Support Battalion.
This unit comprises on armoured vehicles, light tanks, and field artillery .