Sense from the military:Army training for fight against Hizbullah
WASHINGTON --GERTZ-- The U.S. Army has been training troops and developing systems to defeat Hizbullah, regarded as the most lethal non-state military in the world.
Hizbullah, controlled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been operating in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and African states.
"The assessment is that someday, somewhere, we will confront Hizbullah, probably in any engagement with Iran," an official said.
Two Hizbullah fighters patrol in the southern town of Ghajar, Lebanon. Secretive and disciplined, the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah says little about the source of its arsenal of rockets and weapons. AP/Mohammed Zaatari
The army has conducted exercises and simulations meant to test its capabilities against Hizbullah. Officials said the army has tested the effectiveness of the Future Combat Systems, a key element in military modernization.
In late 2007, army units with FCS platforms and systems fought a force meant to resemble Hizbullah. Officials said the scenario envisioned a U.S. operation in Lebanon, the headquarters of Hizbullah.
FCS, scheduled to reach operational capability by 2015, has been criticized by Congress as wasteful and ineffective in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Officials said Hizbullah has become the model for both Sunni and Shi'ite militias in Iraq.
In a recent simulation at Fort Bliss, Texas, officers concluded that the army required enhanced intelligence, surveillance and engineering for any war with Hizbullah. Officials said the army would introduce these changes into combat brigades.
Officials said simulations of a conflict with Hizbullah have raised the need for armored systems that could withstand powerful bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. They said the army would seek to develop active protection systems designed to intercept RPGs and anti-tank guided missiles acquired by Hizbullah.