Sunday, December 24, 2006

With 100,000 More

Strategypage says six or seven years to get nine additional combat brigades out of 100,000 new Army troops.

With combat brigades at 3,500 to 4,000 men in our current brigade combat team organization, would two-thirds of the new men really go to the institutional Army? I figured 15-20 brigades but that this could go lower depending on whether we wanted more MP brigades or new division headquarters. Even at 20 brigades, assuming 3,500 per brigade (Stryker brigades are larger and I don't think we are going to build more of those), that still leaves 30,000 troops for additional support to these new brigades whether on bases or combat support and combat service support units. What is Strategypage assuming will be done with the remaining 60,000+ troops outside the brigades if only nine are created?

It looks like the author assumed 500,000 current Army troops provide 43 combat brigades so 100,000 more troops provide 20% of that--8.6 brigades--and then rounded up. I find it hard to believe we'd need that many supporting troops given our efforts to improve the tooth-to-tail ratio (including using civilians) and given that the additional brigades would likely be used to help rotations and not to put more in the field at once.

Still, with perhaps an easy limit of adding 7,000 troops per year under our existing training structure, we would still only get a couple brigades per year maximum. Will we expand training capacity to triple this? Could we house them? Heck, maybe Selfridge Air Base could house a brigade up here in Michigan. I think that was proposed under the last BRAC round.

And as I've mentioned before, will the combat units all be part of new brigades? Would we create separate battalions? When divisions were the standard unit we had separate brigades. Now that divisions are the new corps and brigades are the standard unit, will we stand up separate battalions that could reinforce existing brigades?

I guess we'll have to wait and see what is actually proposed by the Pentagon.