Thursday, February 19, 2009

Corps Worthy

Reducing our Army in Europe down to two brigades as we plan to do is a joke.

General Ham who is in charge of our Army in Europe, describes his command in this briefing and doesn't want to lose half of his combat brigades in a few years:

A part of transformation is, what's the right force posture in Europe to meet the missions that we've been assigned by European Command? I think, again, most of you know the current plan is -- we're at about 42,000; by about 2013 or '14, the current plan is that we would get to 32,000, based principally on two brigade combat teams, one Stryker and one airborne, that we'd retain in Europe. The current -- there are also presently two heavy brigade combat teams. Those are currently scheduled to come back to CONUS in 2012 and 2013.

One of the first things I did upon arrival was try to do a -- resourced a mission analysis. And I've recommended to my operational boss, General Craddock, commander of European Command, that we revisit those decisions. And it is my estimation that in order to accomplish the missions that we have, we need a different force posture in Europe than is currently proposed. And we can talk about that a bit if you'd like to.

I agree that two brigades is too little. Heck, four is too little. I'd rather see a full division (our new corps) commanding five brigades over there. Anything less risks sending a signal to the world that Europe is not important to us. We may be looking at a Pacific century developing, but Europe is still the most important piece of real estate to keep in friendly hands. And it is a staging area for deployment into the arc of crisis from Morocco to Afghanistan.

Since the old-style corps of two divisions and a cavalry regiment are out, let's call it a parachute brigade, a Stryker brigade, two air assault brigades, and two (oops, I mean 1) heavy brigades (well, brigade combat teams, now), with a division headquarters controlling them. And several unit sets for more heavy brigade combat teams should be kept there, too.

Here's a history of United States Army Europe for reference.