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Transformation of the United States Army

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Transformation of the United States Army

Graphic legend of Army Transformation

The transformation of the United States Army was a modernization plan which was first proposed by Army Chief of Staff, World War II and included modular brigades and rebalancing the active and reserve components. A new deployment scheme was adopted that enabled the Army to carry out continuous operations.[1] The plan was modified several times including an expansion of troop numbers in 2007 and changes to the number of modular brigades. On 25 June 2013, plans were announced to disband 13 modular brigades and expand the remaining brigades with an extra maneuver battalion, extra fires batteries and an engineer battalion.


Before General Schoomaker's tenure, the Army was organized around large, mostly mechanized US$1.4 billion annually.

In 2004, the United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), which commands most active Army and Army Reserve forces based in the Continental United States, was tasked with supervising the modular transformation of its subordinate structure. In March 2004, a contract was awarded to Anteon Corporation (now part of General Dynamics) to provide Modularity Coordination Cells (MCC) to each transforming corps, division and brigade within FORSCOM. Each MCC contained a team of functional area specialists who provided direct, ground-level support to the unit. The MCCs were coordinated by the Anteon office in Atlanta, Georgia.

Grow the Army was a transformation and re-stationing initiative of the United States Army announced in 2007 and scheduled to be completed by fiscal year 2013. The initiative is designed to grow the army by almost 75,000 soldiers, while realigning a large portion of the force in Europe to the continental United States in compliance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure suggestions. This grew the force from 42 Brigade Combat Teams and 75 modular support brigades in 2007 to 45 Brigade Combat Teams and 83 modular support brigades by 2013.

2013 reform

On 25 June 2013, US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno announced plans to disband 13 brigade combat teams and reduce troop strengths by 80,000 soldiers. While the number of BCTs will be reduced, the size of remaining BCTs will increase, on average, to about 4,500 Soldiers. That will be accomplished, in many cases, by moving existing battalions and other assets from existing BCTs into other brigades. Two brigade combat teams in Germany had already been deactivated and a further 10 brigade combat teams slated for deactivation were announced by General Odierno on 25 June. (An additional brigade combat team was announced for deactivation 6 November 2014.) At the same time the maneuver battalions from the disbanded brigades will be used to augment armored and infantry brigade combat teams with a third maneuver battalion and expanded brigades fires capabilities by adding a third battery to the existing fires battalions. Furthermore all brigade combat teams - armored, infantry and Stryker - will gain a Brigade Engineer Battalion, with "gap-crossing" and route-clearance capability.[2]

On 6 November 2014, it was reported that the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, currently stationed in South Korea, will be deactivated in June 2015 and be replaced by a succession of U.S.-based brigade combat teams, which are to be rotated in and out, at the same nine-month tempo as practiced by the Army from 2001-2014.[3]

The following 11 brigades will inactivate by 2015:

Modular Combat Brigades

Modular combat brigades are self-contained combined arms formations. They are standardized formations across the active and reserve components, meaning an Armored BCT at Fort Hood will be the same as one at Fort Stewart.

Reconnaissance plays a large role in the new organizational designs. The Army felt the acquisition of the target was the weak link in the chain of finding, fixing, closing with, and destroying the enemy. The Army felt that it had already sufficient lethal platforms to take out the enemy and thus the number of reconnaissance units in each brigade was increased. The brigades sometimes depend on joint fires from the Air Force and Navy to accomplish their mission. As a result, the amount of field artillery has been reduced in the brigade design.

The three types of BCTs are Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs), Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (includes Light, Mountain, Air Assault and Airborne), and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCTs).

Armored Brigade structure

Armored Brigade Combat Teams, or ABCTs consist of 4,743 troops. This includes the third maneuver battalion as laid out in 2013. Since the brigade has more organic units, the command structure includes a deputy commander (in lieu of the traditional executive officer) and a larger staff capable of working with civil affairs, special operations, psychological operations, air defense, and aviation units. An Armored BCT consists of:

  • the brigade Headquarters: 43 officers, 17 warrant officers, 125 enlisted personnel - total: 185 soldiers. The commander and deputy commander each have a personal M2A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
  • the former Brigade Special Troops Battalion or BSTB, consisted of a headquarters company, signal company, military intelligence company with a TUAV platoon and an engineer company [The changes announced by the U.S. army on 25 June 2013,[2] include adding a third maneuver battalion to the brigade, a second engineer company to a new Brigade Engineer Battalion, a third battery to the fires battalion, and reducing the size of each battery from 8 to 6 guns. These changes will also increase the number of troops in the affected battalions and also increase the total troops in the brigade.]. The former BSTB fielded 28 officers, 6 warrant officers, 470 enlisted personnel - total: 504 soldiers. The engineer company fields 13x M2A2ODS-E and 6x Assault Breacher Vehicle.
  • a US Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, consisting of a headquarters troop and three reconnaissance troops. The HHT fields 2x M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicles and 3x M7A3 fire support vehicles armed with TOW anti-tank guided missiles, while each reconnaissance troop fields 7x M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicles. The squadron fields 35 officers and 385 enlisted personnel - total: 424 soldiers.
  • three identical Combined Arms Battalions; one flagged as infantry and two flagged as armored. Each battalion consists of a headquarters company, two armored companies and two rifle companies. The battalions field 48 officers and 580 enlisted personnel each - total: 628 soldiers. The HHC fields 1x M1A2 main battle tank, 1x M2A3 infantry fighting vehicle, 3x M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicles, 4x M7A3 fire support vehicles and 4x M1064 mortar carriers with M120 120mm mortars. Each of the two armor companies fields 14x M1A2 main battle tanks, while each rifle company fields 14x M2A3 infantry fighting vehicles.
  • a Fires Battalion, consisting of a headquarters battery, two fires batteries with 8x M109A6 self-propelled 155 mm howitzers each [The changes announced by the U.S. Army on 25 June 2013,[2] include adding a third battery to the Fires Battalion, and reducing the size of each battery from 8 to 6 guns. These changes also increase the number of troops in the affected battalions and also increase the total troops in the Brigade.], and a target acquisition platoon. 24 officers, 2 warrant officers, 296 enlisted personnel - total: 322 soldiers.
  • a Brigade Support Battalion, consisting of a headquarters, medical, distribution and maintenance company, plus four forward support companies, which support each one of the three maneuver battalions, respectively, and the fires battalion. 61 officers, 14 warrant officers, 1,019 enlisted personnel - total: 1094 soldiers.
Infantry Brigade structure

Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or IBCTs, comprised around 3,300 Soldiers, in the pre-2013 design, which did not include the 3rd maneuver battalion. The 2013 end-strength is now 4,413 Soldiers:

  • Special Troops Battalion (now Brigade Engineer Battalion)
  • Cavalry Squadron
  • (3) Infantry Battalions
  • Fires Battalion
  • Brigade Support Battalion
Stryker Brigade structure

Stryker Brigade Combat Team or SBCTs comprised about 3,900 soldiers, making it the largest of the three combat brigade constructs in the 2006 design, and over 4,500 Soldiers in the 2013 reform. Its design includes:

  • Headquarters Company
  • Cavalry Squadron (with three 14-vehicle, two-120 mm mortar reconnaissance troops plus a surveillance troop with UAVs and NBC detection capability)
  • (3) Stryker motorized infantry battalions (each with three rifle companies with 12 infantry-carrying vehicles, 3 mobile gun platforms, 2 120 mm mortars, and around 100 infantry dismounts each, plus scout and medical platoons and a sniper section.)
  • Anti-tank company (9 TOW-equipped Stryker vehicles) (folded into the Brigade Engineer Battalion)
  • Fires Battalion (three 6-gun 155 mm Howitzer batteries, target acquisition platoon, and a joint fires cell)
  • Engineer Company (folded into the Brigade Engineer Battalion) [An additional engineer company was added to the battalion[2] in the 2013 reform]
  • Signal Company (folded into the Brigade Engineer Battalion)
  • Military Intelligence Company (with UAV platoon) (folded into the Brigade Engineer Battalion)
  • Brigade Support Battalion (headquarters, medical, maintenance, and distribution companies)

Modular Support Brigades

Heavy Combat Aviation Brigade Structure
Full Spectrum Combat Aviation Brigade Structure

Similar modularity will exist for support units which fall into five types: Aviation, Fires (artillery), Battlefield Surveillance (intelligence), Maneuver Enhancement (engineers, signal, military police, chemical, and rear-area support), and Sustainment (logistics, medical, transportation, maintenance, etc.). In the past, artillery, combat support, and logistics support only resided at the division level and brigades were assigned those units only on a temporary basis when brigades transformed into "brigade combat teams" for particular deployments.

Combat Aviation Brigades will be multi-functional, offering a combination of attack helicopters (i.e., Apache), reconnaissance helicopters (i.e., Kiowa), medium-lift helicopters (i.e. Blackhawks), heavy-lift helicopters (i.e. Chinooks), and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) capability. Aviation will not be organic to combat brigades. It will continue to reside at the division-level due to resource constraints.

Heavy divisions (of which there are six) will have 48 Apaches, 38 Blackhawks, 12 Chinooks, and 12 Medevac helicopters in their aviation brigade. These will be divided into two aviation attack battalions, an assault lift battalion, a general aviation support battalion. An aviation support battalion will have headquarters, refuelling/resupply, repair/maintenance, and communications companies.[5] Light divisions will have aviation brigades with 60 armed reconnaissance helicopters and no Apaches, with the remaining structure the same. The remaining divisions will have aviation brigades with 30 armed reconnaissance helicopters and 24 Apaches, with the remaining structure the same. The helicopters to fill out these large, combined-arms division-level aviation brigades comes from aviation units that used to reside at the corps-level.

Fires Brigade Structure

Fires Brigades will offer not just traditional artillery fires (Paladin, Howitzer, MLRS, HIMARS) but information operations and non-lethal effects capabilities. After the #2013 reform, the expertise formerly embodied in DIVARTY was formally re-instituted in the Division Artillery Brigade. The operational Fires battalions will now report to this new formulation of DIVARTY, for training and operational Fires standards, as well as to the BCT.[6]

Air Defense: The Army will no longer provide an organic air defense artillery (ADA) battalion to its divisions. Nine of the ten active component (AC) divisional ADA battalions and two of the eight reserve (ARNG) divisional ADA battalions will deactivate. The remaining AC divisional ADA battalion along with six ARNG divisional ADA battalions will be pooled at the Unit of Employment to provide on-call air and missile defense (AMD) protection. The pool of Army AMD resources will address operational requirements in a tailorable and timely manner without stripping assigned AMD capability from other missions.

Maneuver Enhancement Brigades are designed to be self-contained, and will command units such as chemical, military police, civil affairs units, and tactical units such as a maneuver infantry battalion. These formations will be designed to be joint so that they can operate with coalition, or joint forces such as the Marine Corps, or can span the gap between modular combat brigades and other modular support brigades.[7]

Combat Sustainment Brigade Structure

Sustainment Brigades provide echelon-above-brigade-level logistics.[8]

Battlefield Surveillance Brigade Structure

Battlefield Surveillance Brigades will offer additional UAVs and long-term surveillance detachments.

Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Structure

Command Headquarters

Division commands will command and control these combat and support brigades. Divisions will operate as plug-and-play headquarters commands (similar to corps) instead of fixed formations with permanently assigned units. Any combination of brigades may be assigned to divisions for a particular mission up to a maximum of four combat brigades. For instance, the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters could be assigned two armor brigades and two infantry brigades based on the expected requirements of a given mission. On its next deployment, the same division may have one Stryker brigade and two armor brigades assigned to it. The same modus operandi holds true for support units. The goal of reorganization with regard to logistics is to streamline the logistics command structure so that combat service support can fulfill its support mission more efficiently.

The division headquarters itself has also been redesigned as a modular unit that can be assigned an array of units and serve in many different operational environments. The new term for this headquarters is the UEx (or Unit of Employment, X). The headquarters is designed to be able to operate as part of a joint force, command joint forces with augmentation, and command at the operational level of warfare (not just the tactical level). It will include organic security personnel and signal capability plus liaison elements.

When not deployed, the division will have responsibility for the training and readiness of a certain number of modular brigades units. For instance, the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters module based at Fort Stewart, GA is responsible for the readiness of its four combat brigades and other units of the division, assuming they have not been deployed separately under a different division.

The re-designed headquarters module comprises around 1,000 soldiers including over 200 officers. It includes:

  • A Main Command Post where mission planning and analysis are conducted
  • A mobile command group for commanding while on the move
  • (2) Tactical Command Posts to exercise control of brigades
  • Liaison elements
  • A special troops battalion with a security company and signal company

Divisions will continue to be commanded by major generals, unless coalition requirements require otherwise. Regional army commands (e.g. 3rd Army, 7th Army, 8th Army) will remain in use in the future but with changes to the organization of their headquarters designed to make the commands more integrated and relevant in the structure of the reorganized Army.

Culture, Training, and Readiness

Under Schoomaker, Combat Training Centers (CTCs) will emphasize the contemporary operating environment (such as an urban, ethnically-sensitive city in Iraq) and stress units according to the unit mission and the commanders' assessments, collaborating often to support holistic collective training programs, rather than by exception as was formerly the case.

Schoomaker's plan is to resource units based on the mission they are expected to accomplish (major combat versus SASO, or Stability and Support Operations), regardless of component (active or reserve). Instead of using snapshot readiness reports, the Army will now rate units based on the mission they are expected to perform given their position across the three force pools ('reset', 'train/ready', and 'available'),[9] and more heavily weight the commanders' assessments.

Deployment Scheme

The force generation system that General Schoomaker is advocating is based on the concept that the U.S. Army will be deployed continuously and serve as an expeditionary force to fight a protracted campaign against terrorism and stand ready for other potential contingencies across the full-spectrum of operations (from humanitarian and stability operations to major combat operations against a conventional foe).

Under ideal circumstances, Army units will have a minimum "dwell time," a minimum duration of which it will remain at home station before deployment. Active-duty units will be prepared to deploy once every three years. Army Reserve units will be prepared to deploy once every five years. National Guard units will be prepared to deploy once every six years. A total of 71 combat brigades will form the Army's rotation basis, 42 from the active component with the balance from the reserves.

Thus, around 15 active-duty combat brigades will be available for deployment each year under this force-generation plan. An additional 4 or 5 brigades will be available for deployment from the reserve component. The plan is designed to provide more stability to soldiers and their families. Within the system, a surge capability does exist so that about an additional 18 brigades can be deployed in addition to the 19 or 20 scheduled brigades.

From General Dan McNeil, former Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Commander: Within the Army Forces Generation (ARFORGEN) model, brigade combat teams (BCTs) move through a series of three force pools;[9] they enter the model at its inception, the "reset force pool", upon completion of a deployment cycle. There they re-equip and reman while executing all individual predeployment training requirements, attaining readiness as quickly as possible. Reset or "R" day, recommended by FORSCOM and approved by Headquarters, Department of the Army, will be marked by BCT changes of command, preceded or followed closely by other key leadership transitions. While in the reset pool, formations will be remanned, reaching 100% of mission required strength by the end of the phase, while also reorganizing and fielding new equipment, if appropriate. In addition, it is there that units will be confirmed against future missions, either as deployment expeditionary forces (DBFs-BCTs trained for known operational requirements), ready expeditionary forces (REFs-BCTs that form the pool of available forces for short-notice missions) or contingency expeditionary forces (CEFs-BCTs earmarked for contingency operations).

Based on their commanders' assessments, units move to the ready force pool, from which they can deploy should they be needed, and in which the unit training focus is at the higher collective levels. Units enter the available force pool when there is approximately one year left in the cycle, after validating their collective mission-essential task list proficiency (either core or theater-specific tasks) via battle-staff and dirt-mission rehearsal exercises. The available phase is the only phase with a specified time limit: one year. Not unlike the division-ready brigades of past decades, these formations deploy to fulfill specific requirements or stand ready to fulfill short-notice deployments within 30 days.

The goal is to generate forces 12–18 months in advance of combatant commanders' requirements and to begin preparing every unit for its future mission as early as possible in order to increase its overall proficiency.

Personnel management will also be reorganized as part of the Army transformation. Previously, personnel was managed on an individual basis in which soldiers were rotated without regard for the effect on unit cohesion. This system required unpopular measures such as "stop loss" and "stop move" in order to maintain force levels. In contrast, the new personnel system will operate on a unit basis to the maximum extent possible, with the goal of allowing teams to remain together longer and enabling families to establish ties within their communities.

End state

Overall the Army would end up with 71 brigade combat teams and 212 support brigades, in the pre-2013 design. The Regular Army would move from 33 brigade combat teams in 2003 to 43 brigade combat teams together with 75 modular support brigades, for a total of 118 Regular Army modular brigades. In addition the previously un-designated training brigades such as the Infantry Training Brigade at Fort Benning assumed the lineage & honors of formerly active Regular Army combat brigades. Within the Army National Guard, there would be 28 brigade combat teams and 78 support brigades. Within the Army Reserve, the objective was 59 support brigades.

In the post-2013 design, the Regular Army is planned to reduce to 32 BCTs after all the BCTs have been announced for inactivation.[10]

Army Commands

Army Service Component Commands

Army Direct Reporting Units

Field Armies

Army Corps

Divisions and Brigades

Note: these formations were subject to change, announced in #2013 reform[12]
  • 1st Armored Division
    • Headquarters Fort Bliss, Texas
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker BCT) at Fort Bliss
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Bliss (Army Evaluation Task Force)
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Bliss (Scheduled for inactivation)
    • 4th Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Bliss
    • 1st Armored Division Artillery Brigade at Fort Bliss (reflagged from 212th Fires Brigade)[13]
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bliss
  • 1st Cavalry Division
    • Headquarters Fort Hood, Texas
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Hood
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Hood
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Hood
    • 41st Fires Brigade at Fort Hood (to reflag as DIVARTY, 1st Cavalry Division)
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Hood
  • 1st Infantry Division
    • Headquarters Fort Riley, Kansas
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Riley
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Riley
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Riley (Scheduled for inactivation)
    • 75th Fires Brigade at Fort Sill (to reflag as DIVARTY, 1st Infantry Division)
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Riley
  • 4th Infantry Division
    • Headquarters Fort Carson, Colorado
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker BCT) at Fort Carson
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Carson (Scheduled for inactivation)
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Armored BCT) at Fort Carson
    • 4th Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Carson
    • 214th Fires Brigade at Fort Sill (to reflag as DIVARTY, 4th Infantry Division)
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson
  • 7th Infantry Division (HQs only, fills an administrative role as a non-deployable unit) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
  • 10th Mountain Division
    • Headquarters Fort Drum, New York
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Drum
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Drum
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Infantry BCT) at Fort Polk, Louisiana
    • 10th Mountain Division Artillery to stand up in 2015
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Drum
  • 101st Airborne Division
    • Headquarters Fort Campbell, Kentucky
    • 1st Brigade Combat Team (Air Assault Infantry BCT) at Fort Campbell
    • 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Air Assault Infantry BCT) at Fort Campbell
    • 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Air Assault Infantry BCT) at Fort Campbell
    • 101st Airborne Division Artillery to stand up in 2015
    • Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell
    • 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell (Scheduled for inactivation)[14]

Division Totals

  • 11 division headquarters (one division headquarters stationed overseas in South Korea)

Combat Brigades: 34 formations projected by 2015, but subject to change:

  • 12 Armored Brigade Combat Teams
  • 8 Stryker Brigade Combat Teams
  • 6 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (Light)
  • 5 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (Airborne)
  • 3 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (Air Assault)

Support Brigades

Active-duty Support Brigades (with reserve-component numbers in parenthesis: ARNG/USAR)

History of ARFORGEN

The Secretary of the Army approved implementing ARFORGEN, a transformational force generation model, in 2006. ARFORGEN process diagram 2010 Army Posture Statement, Addendum F, Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN)[15]

ARFORGEN model concept development began in the summer of 2004 and received its final approval from the Army’s senior leadership in early 2006. Signal Magazine, U.S. Army Reforges Training and Readiness, Henry S. Kenyon, June 2006[16]

FORSCOM, Department of the Army AR 525-29 Military Operations, Army Force Generation, 14 Mar 2011 Unclassified. Electronic document only.

See also


  1. ^ "Statement by General Peter Schoomaker, Chief of Staff United States Army, before the Commission on National Guard and Reserves". 14 December 2006. Archived from the original on 25 July 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Ft Hood's 615th ASB trains at McGregor Range", Fort Bliss Monitor 6/26/2013
  6. ^ DIVARTY: a force multiplier for the BCT and Division
  7. ^ In the #2013 reform, the active duty brigades are deactivating by 2015, leaving only the National Guard's, and the Reserve's, maneuver enhancement brigades.
  8. ^ Sustainment Brigade
  9. ^ a b , AUSA.orgArmy MagazineGEN Charles C. Campbell (June 2009), "ARFORGEN: Maturing the Model, Refining the Process".
  10. ^ Congressman Pete Gallego announces statement by Chief of Staff of the Army, Jun 26, 2013: by 2019, the Regular Army is planned to be 490,000 troops, down from 570,000 in 2012. accessdate=2014-09-03
    • Brigade combat teams cut at 10 posts will help other BCTs grow accessdate=2014-09-03
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
    • 1st Armored Division Artillery Brigade
  14. ^ Army Identifies Aviation Brigade to Inactivate accessdate=2014-11-20
  15. ^ HQDA Pentagon, 2010 Army Posture Statement, Addendum F, Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN), The Army's Core Process.
  16. ^ Signal Magazine, U.S. Army Reforges Training and Readiness, Henry S. Kenyon, June 2006.

External links

  • Feickert, Andrew. "U.S. Army’s Modular Redesign: Issues for Congress" (PDF). Updated May 5, 2006. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  • 2007 Army Modernization Plan
  • Moran, Michael (2007-09-14). "U.S. Army Force Restructuring, "Modularity," and Iraq". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  • article about current transformation
  • article about Force XXI
  • Addendum D: Naming Convention for Headquarters and Forces
  • John Gordon, "Transforming for What? Challenges Facing Western Militaries Today", Focus stratégique, Paris, Ifri, November 2008.
  • ARFORGEN — Army Force Generation Graphic showing the three stages before deployment, discussion, ARFORGEN from Warrant Officer viewpoint, and example of training for deployment
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