Major Theater War Force Structure

The Clinton Administration's Quadrennial Defense Review's (QDR) retained a force posture similar to that adopted by the 1992 Bottom-Up Review (BUR).

The requirements of these major combat operations drive the overall size and structure of Army and Marine forces. Total Army Analysis (TAA) is the doctrine-based process to determine the Army support force structure required to execute the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) Illustrative Planning Scenarios (IPS). To handle a single MRC, the Bottom-Up Review concluded that the United States needs a force of two Army corps, four to five Army divisions, four to five Marine brigade-equivalents, and enhanced readiness brigades from the Army National Guard (ARNG). The Army plans to deploy a 5-division corps, together with the required support structure, 8,700 miles-from fort to foxhole-in 75 days. The lead Brigade must be on the ground by C+4, the lead Division by C+12. The first heavy division must be operational by C+24. Two heavy Divisions (via sealift) arrive from CONUS by C+30 (Armored, Mechanized, Air Assault, [mix per CINC]). The full Corps (five Divisions and a COSCOM) closes by C+75. In order to prevail in two nearly simultaneous MRCs, based on the BUR analysis the Department programmed ten active component Army divisions; fifteen enhanced readiness brigades of the Army National Guard, each capable of deploying within 90 days, and three Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs), augmented and reinforced by units from the Marine Reserve.

Existing war plans envision sending eight of the fifteen ARNG Enhanced Separate Brigades (eSBs) to fight in the second MTW within 140 days after mobilization. The eSBs first-to-fight status requires a higher state of readiness than many other large Reserve Component [RC] units. This applies particularly in terms of equipment and manning levels, so that the brigades can achieve full combat proficiency more quickly. The Army plans to send the mobilized eSBs in sequential waves to the four major post-mobilization training sites the Army maintains for use during war time. Three sites, Fort Irwin, California, Fort Hood, Texas, and Yakima, Washington, would be used to train heavy brigades. The fourth site, Fort Polk, Louisiana, would be used to train light brigades. Existing plans envision training and validating the 15 eSBs at these training sites. With current resources, only four brigades can be trained and validated at one time, hence four eSBs will be ready 90 days after mobilization and four additional eSBs will be mobilized 35 days later. The remaining seven eSBs would cycle through the training and validation sites using the same timelines. Each eSB is expected to be ready for deployment 90 days after its mobilization.

About 10 Air Force FWEs (72 aircraft each), augmented by 100 long-range bomber aircraft, would be needed to prosecute a single MTW. This force building block leads to a total objective of 20 FWEs, plus bomber aircraft, for two nearly simultaneous MTWs.

Four to five carrier air wings, plus the aviation elements of one to two Marine expeditionary forces or MEFs (four to five brigade-equivalents), would be needed for a single MRC. Carrier air wing warfighting contributions and deployments associated with peacetime presence requirements generate a need for 10 Navy active carrier air wings and one composite Navy/Marine Corps reserve air wing. The ability of expeditionary forces to redeploy quickly over large distances has led to the determination that three MEFs (seven brigade-equivalents) are sufficient for two nearly simultaneous MTWs.

Mobility forces would be key to the deployment and sustainment of US forces in any MTW. Should a conflict erupt with little warning, the United States would want to respond promptly and with sufficient strength to help indigenous forces halt the aggression and restore the peace. Airlift, augmented by prepositioning, would carry out the initial deployments. These first flights would deliver primarily aviation and light ground forces, plus some heavier ground elements. The remaining heavy combat forces would deploy by sea.

Forces for Smaller Scale Contingency (SSC) would be drawn from this basic structure. In these smaller operations, Service aviation elements could be employed jointly or alone.

Beyond setting wartime requirements, the BUR reaffirmed the need for maritime forces to conduct routine peacetime deployments. Accordingly, the force structure includes one additional active carrier -- beyond the wartime requirement -- to meet peacetime needs, plus an operational reserve carrier to support training requirements and undertake limited deployments. This yields a total force of 12 carriers -- 11 active and one reserve. To meet near-term presence demands in addition to warfighting requirements, the BUR determined that a force of 45-55 attack submarines would be required through FY 1999. Assessments and programming decisions subsequent to the BUR have modified the projected fleet size to about 330-346 ships by FY 2001; the range provides flexibility for future programming decisions regarding primarily the surface combatant force.

The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) provides the strategic direction required to coordinate the planning efforts of the combatant commanders in pursuit of national strategic objectives and to integrate their efforts with those of the remainder of the Joint Planning and Execution Community. The JSCP is the link between strategic planning accomplished through the Joint Strategic Planning System and joint operation planning conducted through Joint Operation Planning and Execution System. It is the primary vehicle through which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises his responsibility to provide for the preparation of joint operation plans. The JSCP base document provides a list of major combat forces expected to be available during the planning period under various conditions of mobilization and apportionment of those forces to the combatant commanders for planning. Forces apportioned for planning remain under the command of their providing organization until specified otherwise. The JSCP deconflicts CINC and Service plans resulting from the potential for up to two nearly simultaneous MTWs.

The apportionment of forces for regional contingencies assumes that two concurrent MTWs could develop sequentially. CINC planning for the priority MTW is based on the receipt of forces sufficient for counterattack operations. In the event of a second, concurrent, lesser-priority MTW, the supported CINC would receive forces sufficient to defend successfully and, where appropriate, engage in limited offensive operations.

Apportioned forces are divided into four Cases. Each Case, progressively, contains more forces, and the CINC will be apportioned different level of forces (Cases) dependent upon the level of threat and the appropriate response option (FDO, Deploy Decisive Force, or Counterattack). Four Cases are used so that forces can be deconflicted if two concurrent contingencies happen sequentially. The JSCP apportions combat forces for each CINC so they can begin deliberate planning.

  • Case 1 Forces (FDO). These forces, primarily in-place and active component augmentation forces, are designed to support the array of possible flexible deterrent options available to the CINC and NCA. They are rapidly deployable and relatively small (squadron/brigade level). They are there to support the first option: "Flexible Deterrence."
  • Case 2 Forces (Early Deployers for Deploy a Decisive Force): Additive to Case 1 forces, they include the Active component and that portion of the Reserve component necessary to move and sustain a major force from CONUS. These Case 2 forces support the early stages of the second response option, "Deploy Decisive Force."
  • Case 3 Forces (Deploy Decisive Force): Additive to Cases 1 & 2, Case 3 forces are apportioned based on unambiguous warning in which the enemy may not have completed preparation for war. These forces include the Presidential Selected Reserve Call-up (PSRC) and Partial Mobilization reinforcements, and are the forces available for the CINC to focus OPlan development on. These forces further support the second response option: "Deploy Decisive Force."
  • Case 4 Forces (Counterattack/Decisive Force): Again, additive to the previous Cases, Case 4 forces comprise additional Active units and Reserve forces required and made available under Partial Mobilization. These forces are phased into the OPLAN to support the concept of "Deploy Decisive Force" needed to quickly end a conflict on terms agreeable to the US.

The forces are usually "generic." Actual force assignment, reassignment, or allocation for crisis or contingency operations would be authorized by the National Command Authority through the Chairman, Joints Chief of Staff to the respective CINCs at the time of execution. All of the forces specified for CINC planning may not be available for execution. In general, however, either these or other comparable forces will be made available prior to or concurrently with a Deploy Decisive Force (DDF) or Counterattack execution order.

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