Separate brigades of infantry, armor, field artillery, air defense artillery, and engineer can be used to reinforce corps or divisions and can be shifted from unit to unit to tailor forces for combat. Separate brigades are usually employed as integral units when attached to corps or divisions. The separate brigade sometimes conducts independent operations, attaches to a division, or is placed under the control of a higher command such as a corps. It is organized to provide its own support. The separate brigade has maneuver battalions. They are tank, mechanized infantry, infantry battalions, and armored cavalry squadrons. Such units as the engineer company and the artillery battalion provide combat support to these combat units. The Separate Brigade can control up to five maneuver battalions. Additionally, combat support and combat service support units may be attached to the brigade as required by the Brigade's mission, operating circumstances, and the commander's intent.
The Army uses separate brigades to inject a small but powerful force where it is needed. It must be able to fight and win while operating on its own for a sustained period of time. It must be able to defend itself on a 360-degree front in war or MOOTW. While there are some variations of separate brigades, it is the heavy separate brigade that is most commonly found within the force.
The vast array of enemy forces and range of potential areas of conflict necessitate a tactical element (separate brigade or regiment) smaller than a division with its own support assets, capable of strategic and tactical deployments. The separate brigade allows the national command authority latitude in its force projection options. It also affords commanders of forward deployed forces a flexible asset which can be used in numerous roles and missions, such as reconnaissance, screening, and covering force operations. The separate brigade is a flexible unique fighting organization that provides its own DS. The separate brigades included in this manual are the heavy separate brigade and the separate infantry brigade/theater defense brigade. The separate brigade's main focus is to defeat the enemy. It uses effective maneuver, firepower, protection, and sound leadership through close combat and offensive action. It supports offensive, defensive, or retrograde operations as an independent force or part of a larger force. It may be attached to a division (less support) to concentrate combat power. It may also be placed under the control of a higher command such as a corps. It conducts limited independent operations under the direction of a joint task force or theater commander. It functions as a corps reserve force or as a corps rear protection force. It also functions as a security force on the flanks or in front of the corps.
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