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Army posts to grow with BCT (UA) positioning

Army News Service

By Sgt. Lorie Jewell

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service, July 26, 2004) - A number of Army installations will grow by several thousand Soldiers in the next few years as a result of decisions on where new brigade combat teams (units of action) will be temporarily based, according to senior Army officials.

Permanent locations will be decided during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process, also known as BRAC, the officials said.

"It is an operational necessity right now to build these brigade combat team units of action and get them into the field as quickly as possible,'' said Brig. Gen. David Ralston, director of force management in the Army's G-3, at a media briefing.

In the thick of fighting the Global War on Terror, the Army is transforming from a division-based force into smaller, more rapidly deployable brigade-based units of action that will provide greater combat power. Plans call for 43 modular brigade combat teams (units of action), or BCT (UA)s, to be in place by fiscal year 2006, up from 34 brigades the Army has now. The National Guard will also transform its current combat force to 34 modular BCT (UA)s, officials said.

The 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., has reset from three brigades into four BCT (UA)s and is preparing to return to Iraq this winter, officials said. The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., will begin resetting this fiscal year, as will the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. Those changes are expected to add about 1,400 more Soldiers to Fort Stewart; 300 to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga.; 400 to Fort Benning, Ga.; 4,200 to Fort Drum; and 3,000 to Fort Campbell. These numbers are likely to change as the Army continues to implement plans, officials said.

In fiscal year 2005, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will convert to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team and move from Fort Polk, La., to Fort Lewis, Wash. That move will add about 3,900 Soldiers to Fort Lewis. New BCT (UA)s will also stand up at Fort Polk, which will see an overall increase of about 300 Soldiers; Fort Richardson, Alaska, where 2,600 additional Soldiers are anticipated; and Fort Hood, Texas, which will grow by about 5,000 Soldiers.

The Soldiers will be assigned to the new units of action through cross-leveling, PCS moves, and straight out of advanced individual training, or AIT. Some will also be

transferred from Korea and other overseas locations, and after completing drill sergeant and recruiting tours. Officials pledged to limit back-to-back combat tours as much as

possible.

Once permanently stationed with a new unit of action, the Army will make every effort to allow Soldiers to remain at an installation for up to seven years.

In deciding where to position the new units of action, planners said they considered several factors: the location of an installation in regard to its power projection; its training capabilities; whether its existing infrastructure and the surrounding community could handle an influx of additional Soldiers; and the ability to minimize turbulence to Soldiers and their families.

The Center for Military History is currently examining options for renaming these formations and to decide unit designations.



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