On 28 January 2004, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, briefed the House Armed Services Committee on plans to restructure the Army's current organization. The plan includes provisions for the National Guard to grow from 15 enhanced separate brigades (E-Brigades) to 22 by 2007. This suggests that all six remaining Separate Brigades would up upgraded to Enhanced Brigades, and that another brigade would be raised.
The Enhanced Separate Brigade nomenclature has become something of a misnomer, since five of the Enhanced Brigades are in fact not Separate, but are part of the Army National Guard division force structure.
In order to prevail in two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRCs), based on the the 1992 Bottom-Up Review (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.
In May 1995, the Commission on Roles and Missions recommended that the Army reorganize lower priority Reserve Component forces to fill force shortfalls in higher priority areas. In keeping with this recommendation, the Army conducted Total Army Analysis 003 in late 1995 to determine potential shortfalls in personnel required to implement the National Military Strategy. As a result, the Army determined that nearly 124,800 additional Combat Support and Combat Service Support personnel were required. Following this conclusion, the ARNG commissioned the Army National Guard Division Redesign Study to examine ways it could address this shortfall. As a result of the study, the Guard will convert a number of units from Combat to Combat Support and Combat Service Support formations in the coming years. Among other suggestions, the study recommended the conversion of up to 12 ARNG combat brigades and their associated divisional slice elements to CS/CSS units during FY99-2012.
The 15 existing eSBs are "teamed" with CONUS-based AC divisions for peacetime training enhancements only. Current plans flow eSBs into theater as separate brigades, with a general mission focus. This provides the theater component commander with flexibility in employment of these forces as they arrive. As an alternative to the separate employment of these brigades, establishing a wartime "round-up" relationship with an AC division would provide a fourth brigade to that division for operations within an MTW theater. The peacetime training of the eSB would be oriented specifically on integration with the operational concept of the associated round-up division, allowing more focused preparation for wartime requirements.
As of 1999, most AC divisions and all eSBs were multi-apportioned to both potential MTW theaters in existing OPLANS. This dual apportionment complicates the establishment of any permanent round-up relationships. Additionally, fixed round up relationships may detract from eSB preparation for the wider range of potential employment that is currently conceived, affecting the flexibility of the theater component commander. Nevertheless, the potential value for establishment of round up relationships remains. In particular, divisions apportioned to a single theater may be likely candidates.
Each of the 15 National Guard-Enhanced Brigades, commonly referred to as E-Brigades, must deploy to a dirt CTC once every eight years. The eight-year CTC rotation cycle for E-Brigades identified in FORSCOM Regulation 350-2, Reserve Component Training, differs from the Active Component cycle identified in FORSCOM Regulation 350-50-1, Training at the National Training Center.
In addition to the Brigade Combat Team, these rotations compel support by numerous CS and CSS units not normally associated with the E-Brigade. These supporters execute the missions of getting vehicles and equipment from multiple home stations to Yermo, CA, to the Dust Bowl at the NTC and eventually back to each home station. Unlike Active Duty units, E-Brigades lack the organic support required to deploy and redeploy. Often, the dozens of units required for these tasks are not available anywhere in their home state. Additionally, the length of the operation exceeds the number of Annual Training days available for participating RC soldiers. This dictates different RC units for deployment and redeployment.