Saturday, November 08, 2014

Just Like Any Other War Front

When I read that we had rotated a battalion into South Korea, I thought we were reinforcing our small Army presence there. But that was just a practice for replacing our combat brigade permanently stationed there with a brigade rotated into South Korea from the United States.

Our troop presence in South Korea will be achieved in a new way now:

After almost 50 years in South Korea, the Army is deactivating the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, officials announced Thursday.

Iron Brigade, which has its headquarters at Camp Hovey, South Korea, will be replaced by a rotational brigade combat team from the United States, according to information from 8th Army. ...

The Army plans to start rotating a BCT into South Korea in late summer 2015.

The first brigade to go is 2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas. About 4,600 soldiers from the unit will deploy in June, the Defense Department announced Thursday.

The plan is to rotate one BCT at a time into South Korea “like we’ve done in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 13 years,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno has said. “There’ll always be a brigade in Korea, but they’ll rotate from the United States.”

The article also notes that by the end of fiscal year 2015 (September 30, 2015), the Army will be down to 490,000 troops and 32 maneuver brigades--which is the same number of brigades compared to pre-9/11 but more troops (and not including mobilized reservists in support).

By rotating a brigade in to South Korea, the unit will be more combat ready in contrast to having a brigade always there with a churning manpower status as soldiers arrive and leave during a year.

The downside is that a garrison brigade simply focused on the theater, building up institutional knowledge of the enemy and our allies.