Brigade-sized units, which are normally commanded by Colonels but may, as in the case of separate brigades, be commanded by Brigadier Generals, control two or more battalions. Their capabilities for self-support and independent action vary considerably with the type of brigade. Maneuver brigades are the major combat units of all types of divisions. They can also be organized as separate units.
While separate brigades have a fixed organization, division commanders establish the organization of their brigades and change their organizations as frequently as necessary for mission accomplishment. The only permanent unit assigned to a brigade is its headquarters and headquarters company (HHC). They can employ any combination of maneuver battalions and they are normally supported by field artillery battalions, aviation units, and by smaller combat, combat support, and combat service support units. Brigades combine the efforts of their battalions and companies to fight engagements and to perform major tactical tasks in division battles. Their chief tactical responsibility is synchronizing the plans and actions of their subordinate units to accomplish a single task for the division or corps.
The primary mission of the brigade is to deploy on short notice and destroy, capture, or repel enemy forces, using maneuver and shock effect. Armored and mechanized brigades are organized to fight successful engagements in conventional and various operations other than war (OOTW) activities. Brigades also conduct various OOTW activities, independently or as part of a joint or multinational headquarters in peacetime and conflict environments. They are subordinate commands of a division and corps and perform major tactical operations as part of a division or corps operation.
Other combat, combat support, and combat service support brigades are organized to control non-divisional units for corps and larger units. Engineer, air defense artillery, signal, aviation, military police, and transportation brigades are typical of such units. They may also be the building blocks of large unit support such as corps support commands and of combat support commands such as engineer commands. Divisions are supported by an organic brigade-sized support command of mixed combat service support battalions and companies.
In late 1994 Secretary of the Army Togo D. West Jr. and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan announced a plan to restructure the Army as directed by the October 1993 Bottom-Up Review. The realignment plan called for inactivating three combat brigades. The 194th Armd. Bde. at Fort Knox, Ky., and the 3rd Bde. of the 25th Inf. Div. at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, inactivated by September 1995. And at Fort Lewis, Wash., the 7th Inf. Div.'s 1st Bde., also known as the 9th Inf. Regimental Combat Team, was realigned as the 3rd Bde. of the 25th Inf. Div. In addition, the 6th Inf. Div.'s 1st Bde., at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, retained its designation but realigned under the 10th Mtn. Div. The plan also includes the move of the 3rd Armd. Cav. Regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Fort Carson during fiscal 1996. In addition, two air defense brigades, the 198th at Fort Polk, La., and the 31st at Fort Hood, will move to Fort Bliss.
New designations were announced in December 1994 for brigades in Alaska and Washington. The 1st Brigade, 6th Inf. Div., at Fort Richardson, Alaska, retained its designation but was aligned with the 10th Mountain Div. At Fort Lewis, Wash., the 1st Bde., 7th Inf. Div., commonly referred to as the 9th Inf. Regimental Combat Team, was redesignated as the 1st Bde., 25th Inf. Div. The redesignation took place before the end of fiscal 1995.
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