Title: Rapid Reaction, the Focus of Future Wars: an Evaluation of NEZAJA Rapid Reaction Forces from the Sacred Defense to the Samen Plan
Date: February 25, 2013 / Esfand 6, 1392
Rapid reactions operations are a part of military missions in which a unit is capable of arriving at the mission area from any point in the shortest possible time with the required equipment, and are characterized by mobility and rapid movement. Abilities that, although used by NEZAJA in the past, are now universal in the new force structure, and is the first priority in all units. The Army, as the largest and most comprehensive defense force across our vast county, benefits from units that [are capable of completing a a variety of tactical and operational objectives during their missions]. 'Rapid Reaction' traditionally includes classic military programs and plans, which is seen in the Army's history. 'Rapid reaction' operations are as essential to the survival of a military force as water and air is for an organism... . With the changing nature of war and the emergence of asymmetric wars in the region during the recent decades, it is necessary, now more than ever, to review unit organization and a transform their objectives and structure[.] In addition to a number of NEZAJA units whose main missions were [already] rapid reaction, now all units have the power to perform any type of operation at any time and place.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Reza Pourdastan, NEZAJA commander, says in this regard: “We in the military world have entered a new space, a space that has different threats from those of the past. We arrived at the conclusion that we could not compete in the asymmetric space given our previous structure, equipment, and tactics. ... [in the region], we have witnessed a confrontation [between] a high-technology country and an inferior-technology country. If we want to compete in this space, we must change our structure, organization, and planning. Previously, NEZAJA units were deployed against threats from Iraq's Baathist regime in the west and the south west. But in an asymmetric space, it is possible to be attacked from two or three fronts simultaneously. Therefore, there was a need for our units to have a presence on all the borders. We changed this distribution of units so that units have flexibility and high [unclear/radiancy]. We have established that units have sufficient mobility and self-sufficiency. They do their jobs very quickly. Because we have a need for high mobility in asymmetric spaced, units are brigade-centric so that they can quickly command and take action.”
The NEZAJA commander's statement verify that with the unit's new structure and composition, they can perform rapid response operations in any area, and that they have [received] the necessary training, armament, and weaponry.
[Looking back at the NEZAJA in the Iran-Iraq war], we find that during the first hours of the Baath regime's invasion, the first NEZAJA units that blocked the enemy's advance were 'rapid reaction' units. At the start of the invasion, after only a few hours [in which the only fighting was by locally-deployed units], the rapid reaction of NEZAJA was observed, in which [units] arrived at the front from other parts of the country many kilometers away ... .
General Pourdastan also specified: With the objective that units are able to be completely self-sufficient from headquarters and confront threats independently, we created five regional headquarters in the north-east, south-east, south-west, west, and north-west, and we designed the structure and organization of these headquarters to be self-sufficient in confronting threats, and not to need equipment from the outside. These HQs have both support and transport units, as well as hospitals, and all of the structure and organization required for an independent and self-sufficient unit. The structure is also lighter, so that they have more flexibility. With this objective for our units settled, we have designed, developed and implemented exercises on this basis. We have also [unclear] the type of tactics for employing weapons. The first and second Gulf Wars, and the Afghanistan war were good lessons for us to acquire the capabilities of trans-regional forces, and create these capabilities for ourselves in a confrontation with them.
Brig. Gen. 2nd-Class Khosravi, commander of the NEZAJA's 65th Special Forces Brigade said that units and subordinate forces including infantry units (?) are trained and always ready : … the 65th brigade is one of the special units whose diverse skills and expertise [means that] they are used in sensitive and special missions, which other members of the armed forces could not complete. Geographical location, weather, terrain conditions, night or day, none of them affect the mission because these forces have all the necessary training to do battle in mountains, forest, desert, on skis, by diving, or by parachute, and besides that, all of them have special skills according to their operational unit.
Brig. Gen. 2nd-Class Payambari, who has experience in the NEZAJA's 65th Special Forces Brigade, and the 23rd Commando Division, defines rapid reaction: A unit's response to an enemy that does not occur within a specific time limit is a mistake, and must instead be accomplished within a certain time.
The commander of the 23rd Division who has done countless rapid reaction missions with commandos from the 65th Brigade and others considers the characteristics of this type of operation: The first and most important characteristic of rapid reaction [operations] is observing the enemy. One must always survey the enemy's status, the principles of war say that you should maintain the line of contact, that is you must not break the line of contact with the enemy and must always monitor the enemies activities because if we don't observe the enemy, we cannot respond to it.
Another attribute that Payambari considers important to rapid reaction is unit-evaluation, morale and motivation. In addition, he believes that if we are to be successful and respond rapidly, [we] must uncover the enemy's capabilities, [and also] equip ourselves with modern military technology and equipment.
Payambari described two important component in rapid reaction as: “knowing oneself, and knowing the enemy”, adding: Surely, any unit that can strengthen these two areas can respond sensibly and quickly against the enemy.
Benefiting from knowledge of psychological-operations and the ability to analyze the movements of the enemy, read, [and then] predict his thoughts is important, which Payambari considers indispensible for unit commanders and operational planners in rapid reaction [operations].
Payambari's recognizes his own experience during the Sacred Defense in important operations such as Fateh al-Mobin, Beit al-Moqdas, Qader, etc, in which the NEZAJA were able to respond to the enemies advances, decimate them from the shadows by rapidly displacing units, [thus] enabling other forces along the front to seize the initiative and achieve success.
The Commander … said: Across the Iran-Iraq border from West Azerbaijan to Khuzestan, we witnessed many NEZAJA operations carried out against the Baathist enemy … in which most of the deployed units were dispatched from other regions across the country [and although] the unit's territorial region was another province, their equipment and forces were dispatched in the shortest time possible for the operating region.
The commander added: In the Beit al-Moqdas operation, three NEZAJA armored divisions managed to cross the Karun river with their equipment in the shortest possible time, making use of bridges installed by their engineers, while under heavy enemy fire, and surprise the enemy, liberating Khorramhahr.
Payambari, while addressing the numerous examples from the Sacred Defense, [said] that the best example of NEZAJA's rapid-reaction against the enemy [is that] this type of ability that is considered in modern war is [the same] as that [employed] during the Sacred Defense.
Undoubtedly, with modern technology and equipment, the appearance of war is different to military planners, than in the past. Rapid reaction is the focus of future wars and and an army in future wars will have a strong advantage on the battlefield [if] they have rapid reaction forces. In these circumstances, it is certain that the cards of war will benefit those who command rapidly, prepare their operational plans, and whose forces act rapidly and convey these plans onto the battlefield.
[Fortunately, the army has developed their capabilities by utilizing the knowledge of their commanders and experts over millions of hours spent assessing various aspects of regional wars, and the strengths and weaknesses of regional and trans-regional forces.]