Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Will We Have Enough?

Our ground force presence in Europe will be reduced to a parachute brigade and a Stryker brigade:

Panetta is quoted in a press release on the Defense Department website as saying two of the four BCTs that are permanently stationed in Europe will be replaced with rotational units, similar to the way Marines and Special Forces units staff their European requirements.

I'd guess that battalion-sized units will occasionally rotate through Bulgaria and Romania, based on plans that I read about years ago.

I'd rather have a full corps retained in Europe (with forward elements providing 5 combat brigades), but that isn't happening.

And we no longer have the prepositioned equipment in Europe that we used to have in the Cold War when the plan was to fly in troops rapidly to meet up with equipment stored in Europe to halt a Soviet invasion.

Now we are down to a single heavy brigade of equipment in Europe. We used to have more. But I found a PowerPoint presentation dated 15 MAR 10 that said the European APS-2 has just a single heavy brigade set. This is what we are working with:

  • Infantry BN (Afghanistan)
  • Heavy Brigade Combat Team (Kuwait)
  • Sustainment BDE (Kuwait)
  • Sustainment BDE (Qatar)
  • Fires BDE (Qatar)

APS-3 (Afloat)
  • Download Sustainment BDE
  • 9 Large Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off Ships
  • Infantry Brigade Combat Team
  • Sustainment BDE
  • Infantry Brigade Combat Team
  • Sustainment BDE
  • 2- Ammo Ships

  • Heavy Brigade Combat Team
  • Sustainment BDE (Korea/Japan)

APS-2 (Europe)
  • Heavy Brigade Combat Team

Let me note that "APS-1" is the entire continental United States (CONUS) and has no unit sets.

Interesting that Afghanistan has a battalion set so we could fly in a battalion if we really needed some reinforcements fast.

I'd feel better about our reductions in Europe if we at least replaced the two departing brigades with prepositioned equipment for a couple heavy brigades and put them in southern Poland.

I hope we never need them, but that is what insurance is for, right?