25 June 2013

Army Announces Their Force Cuts

At least 12 brigades are getting the chop.

The Army will eliminate at least 12 combat brigades, relocate thousands of soldiers and cancel $400 million in construction projects as the first wave of federal budget cuts takes aim at military communities around the country.

In a massive restructuring, Army leaders said Tuesday that they will slash the number of active duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, as the service moves forward with a longtime plan to cut the size of the service by 80,000. And they warned that more cuts — of as many as 100,000 more active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers — could be coming if Congress allows billions of dollars in automatic budget cuts to continue next year.

The sweeping changes would eliminate brigades — which number from 3,500 to 5,000 troops — at 10 Army bases in the U.S. by 2017, including those in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Kansas and Washington. The Army will also cut thousands of other jobs across the service, including soldiers in units that support the brigades, and two brigades in Germany have already been scheduled for elimination.

Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said one additional brigade will likely be cut, but no final decisions have been made.

How are they doing this? They're going to whack brigade HQs and put maneuver battalions back into the brigades, giving everyone 3 maneuver battalions again. The DoD announced their plans today:

Today the Department of the Army announced force structure and stationing decisions associated with the active component end-strength reduction of 80,000 soldiers, resulting in an Army end-strength of 490,000 by 2017. These reductions are consistent with fiscal constraints resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and defense planning guidance issued in 2012, but do not reflect additional reductions that will be required if sequestration-driven funding reductions remain unmitigated.

Based on extensive analysis, the lessons of a dozen years of combat and the need to increase operational capability and flexibility, the Army will make the following changes to its force structure:
-Reorganize infantry and armor brigade combat teams (BCTs) to restore the third maneuver battalion and increase engineer and fires capability.
-Reduce active component BCTs from 45 modular to 33 reorganized BCTs.
-Continue growth in aviation, special operations, missile defense and cyber capabilities.

This active component force structure, in conjunction with Army National Guard and Army Reserve capabilities, supports the current defense strategy and meets combatant command requirements through regional alignment of forces and global responsiveness for contingencies. The decision to restructure armor and infantry BCTs helps mitigate the loss of BCTs by eliminating the headquarters but preserving 13 Armor and Infantry battalions that would be lost without the reorganization.

Stationing decisions necessitated by the reductions and reorganization were based on a comprehensive analysis of installation quantitative and qualitative considerations to include training, power projection, well-being, expansibility, regeneration, geographic distribution, environmental and socio-economic impacts, cost, and alignment with the defense strategy. Opportunities for community input were included through both the programmatic environment assessment public comment period and community listening sessions conducted in parallel with the military value analysis and qualitative stationing analysis, prior to the final decision.

Based on this comprehensive analysis, a BCT will inactivate at each of the following locations by 2017: Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Stewart, Ga., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Two BCTs, stationed at Baumholder and Grafenwoehr, Germany, will complete their inactivation in Fiscal Year 2013, leaving two BCTs in Europe to fulfill strategic commitments.

The reduction of 80,000 soldiers from the force represents a 14 percent reduction across the AC force. The specific impacts of these decisions on individual installations are being provided to affected Congressional delegations. The Army will conduct Congressional notification in accordance with Section 993, Title 10 U.S.C. prior to taking any irrevocable actions to implement these decisions.

What do you think? What doctrinal changes will come down as a part of the re-organization? What will happen to the divisional force structures and changes? It's mainly HQs personnel that are being shuffled, while the line units are going to stay reasonably intact and get put into new places.

The CSA's press conference and announcement is here.

By: Brant


Brian said...

So, I take it the number of actual maneuver battalions is not changing, at least in infantry and armor?

Doctrinally this should be a relief, to have three normal maneuver units instead of two.

Perhaps they should just get rid of the division entirely, and push more of its resources down to BCT level and less up to corps. Then when you send three or more of these fatter BCTs overseas, you send a corps HQ too.

Actually, it probably makes more sense to get rid of the corps echelon completely, and send a division overseas, that could hande two to four BCTs.

That is, if you are talking about sending that much overseas, and when is that going to happen... future entanglements will probably be either single-brigade contingencies, or a Big War Someplace where you would send more than one division anyhow.

S O said...

"missile defense" by the army?

Brant said...

In the US, the Patriots are owned by the Army, and anti-air units are often dual-tasked for anti-missile as well.