Monday, December 24, 2007

Growing the Army

This press conference discusses Army expansion.

Basically, we'll have 48 active combat brigades by September 30, 2011. This includes six brigades from the recent expansion authorized. All but seven will be based in the continental United States. I'm assuming one in South Korea, Italy, Hawaii, and Alaska, leaving only three in Germany.

We will add six infantry brigade combat teams (two each to Colorado, Georgia, and Texas) and eight support brigades, including a Military Police brigade which is rather like a light infantry unit.

To keep five brigades in Germany, we are going to leave two heavy brigade combat teams in Europe for two years longer than planned. One will come back to the United States by September 30, 2012 and the other the next fiscal year. Neither will be affiliated with a parent division. This would leave a single combat brigade in Germany when these brigades come home.

With 48 brigade combat teams, assuming a bit of overlap to rotate troops, we could have 14 Army brigades in the field at one time for one-year deployments with two years off in between. We could also add in a couple Marine regimental combat teams and 4 or 5 Army National Guard brigades each year representing 3 or 4 active brigades (because the NG brigades would deploy for 9 months out of a one-year activation period). So 18-20 brigades or regimental combat teams in the field at one time.

This doesn't represent reality until 2011, of course, so our troops will be stressed absent changes in missions. Funny enough, after resisting expanding the strength of the Army (even as the Army added 9 brigades within existing strength by reorganizing into smaller brigades, reallocating Army slots, and opening up some Army slots by using civilian contractors instead) on the assumption the Iraq War would be over before new troop strength could come online, it looks like the major fighting responsibilities will be over before the Army can deploy the newly authorized brigades.

UPDATE: See this earlier post on more details on ground force expansion.