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Heavy Brigade Combat Team Unit of Action

The Army normally deployed forces in 2,500 to 4,200-soldier Brigade Combat Teams. These consist of a ground-maneuver brigade (most divisions have three) augmented by other units, such as artillery battalions, which are controlled by the division commander.

The new "brigade based" structure will replace the current arrangement, designed for the Cold War when the Army was prepared to fight giant set-piece battles on European soil, where the support roles were organized at the division level. It will improve the deployment ratio so that there can be two brigades at home for every one deployed overseas.

Brigade combat teams will be restructured into Brigade Units of Action. Once transitioned, BUAs will enable greater capacity for rapid packaging and responsive and sustained employment to support combatant commanders. BUAs will also enhance the expeditionary and campaign qualities of Army forces by better enabling Joint/coalition operations. The transition to BUAs will also increase the brigade-equivalent forces available to meet both enduring and emerging mission requirements.

The restructuring would leave a division with three types of brigades: heavy, with armor; light, with motorized infantry, and airborne. This new Brigade Units of Action is different from the Units of Action the Army is forming to achieve the Future Combat Systems [FCS]. The FCS first unit equipped (FUE)-one battalion equivalent-in 2008 and an initial operating capability of one brigade Unit of Action (UoA) in 2010.

The design of the different types of modular brigades is consistent across the Army: a heavy brigade in 4th Infantry Division will be the same as a heavy brigade at 3rd Infantry Division. Each of the units of action, otherwise known as brigade combat teams, consist of two combined arms battalions, a reconnaissance squadron, an artillery battalion, and attached special troops and support battalions. The combined arms battalions each have two armor companies, two infantry companies, an engineer company and a headquarters and headquarters company.

The heavy force was given some capabilities that they haven't had, things like sniper teams. Why would you put a sniper team or a sniper section inside of a heavy force? It's because they encounter cities and this ability to transition, to be more full-spectrum, you may be optimized at some point along the spectrum, but you need to be able to conduct operations across that full range of military operations.

The Heavy Brigade Combat Team Unit of Action design analytical work conducted simulations, and also leveraged earlier analysis in things like FBCB2, which is a command and control apparatus. TRADOC also looked at things like the precision fire studies. As TRADOC went through the war gaming and at the tactical level and at the operational level, things came to the surface. For example, within the brigade headquarters, civil affairs and PSYOPS don't show up in a simulation, but in a war game and work from lessons learned in the field show they are important. A key example of things learned from analysis is in the use of UAV's. People who were going through these simulations actually were able to leverage sensors in ways that had not really been anticipated, mass sensors so they could then mass effects. So, there is an example of it. Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC) analysis center led a large part of this.

This Brigade Combat Team can take a company from one battalion and place it in another. A Brigade Combat Team can add, say a civil affairs battalion to it if that was what was required. So the Army will still task organize, but when TRADOC worked to make this more capable, more self-contained, they looked at things like the brigade staff. If the brigade staff has to be able to receive attachments and issue them out, which they've done in the past, it's very much stressful. So TRADOC increased the robust nature and size of the staff so that they can help plug and play, even at the Brigade Combat Team level or the maneuver brigades.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:34:52 ZULU