Friday, April 25, 2014

Reorganizing the Army

I missed some information over last summer about the Army's reorganization. It answers some of my questions of late.

On our active component brigade composition:

[The] Army will be left with a mix of 12 armored BCTs, 14 infantry BCTs, and seven Stryker BCTs.

Infantry includes paratroopers, light infantry, and airmobile. I'm not sure what this will include. A more recent article on the 101st Airmobile reorganization says that the 4th brigade of the division will be used to add an additional infantry battalion to the other brigades. So the division will go down to 3 brigades from 4.

Does this mean 10th Mountain and 25th Infantry provide 3 infantry brigades each? (But doesn't the latter include a Stryker brigade?) Then add 3 101st and 3 82nd Airborne brigades plus the 173rd Airborne Brigade? That's 13. What else is there in the broad infantry category? Are a couple heavy brigades also converting to infantry types?

And that's not as many active Strykers as I'd recently read about. Perhaps the higher total I read about included Army National Guard Stryker brigades.

According to that 101st article, not only are brigades getting assets, but the division headquarters are being beefed up with unspecified assets.

Back to the brigade composition article, the brigades are getting not only a third maneuver battalion, but a complete engineer battalion and a couple more artillery pieces:

Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, director of force management with Army G-3/5/7, said the Army will convert brigade support troops battalion within remaining BCTs into "brigade engineering battalions." Additionally, he said, BCTs will get additional "gap-crossing" capability, and route-clearance capability.

"We will also increase the fires capability," Murray said. "Specifically, we'll go from a 2x8-gun fires battalion to a 3x6. So two additional guns, one additional battery to support the three maneuver battalions. And then in order to do that, some of the echelon-above-brigade structure in terms of engineers will have to be reorganized to provide that additional engineering capability to the BCT."

The total will be 4,500 troops in the larger brigades. Nothing is mentioned about reorganizing the battalions so I assume they remain composed of 4 companies each.

What happens to the non-engineer support forces in the support troops battalion? Am I mistaken in assuming the brigades remain brigade combat teams capable of operations independent of a division headquarters and its assets? Is the division bolstering at the expense of brigade-level assets? I don't know. The units are still called brigade combat teams, so I guess the division role isn't being restored.

The only mention of Stryker brigades is this:

Stryker brigades, Murray said, currently have three maneuver battalions, but no brigade support troops battalion. Those brigades will get a brigade engineer battalion.

So they stay at 3 maneuver battalions of 3 maneuver companies each.

There is no mention of the small and light "recon" element of the brigade combat teams--intelligence, surveillance, targeting, and reconnaissance (I forget the official designation). I think they are too light and would like to see them more like an armored cavalry squadron (battalion-sized combined arms unit).

Anyway, I'm not sure how I missed the June 2013 information since I'd normally look for that stuff.

Quick pre-publication note. I just checked. I did not miss that news. I forgot it. I'm not sure which is worse ... I will say my concerns are remarkably (or perhaps not so remarkable) similar.