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Future Force

The Army must restructure to more modular, capabilities-based forces to better meet combatant commanders' requirements. The Army will continue to support operational deployments/rotations while assuming more missions as needed for our nation at war. Changing the organizational structure of units must be logically consistent with future force concepts but tempered by the technological capabilities that are reasonably available within the near term.

Since Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker was confirmed in 2003, the Army changed the terms used to describe the components of the Army. Service officials use the term "Current Force" to refer to what used to be the Legacy and Interim Forces, while "Objective Force" has been replaced by "Future Force."

On January 28, 2004, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, briefed the House Armed Services Committee on plans to restructure the Army's current organization. The service will retain the 10 division headquarters as battle command headquarters but move some enabling resources - such as air defense, signal and intelligence - to the brigade level. The Army would also increase the number of brigades under those divisions from three maneuver brigades to four. That alone would take the service from 30 brigades under the division structure to 40. Growing the fourth includes taking much of the division-level support elements -- such as engineers, military intelligence, supply and maintenance units -- and making them organic to the brigade structure.

The Army will continue to support operational deployments/rotations while assuming more missions as needed support national war aims. Changing the organizational structure of units must be logically consistent with future force concepts but tempered by the technological capabilities that are reasonably available within the near term.

To accomplish this, 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.

This is an Army initiative, and Training and Doctrine Command has the long-term mission. TRADOC was given the responsibility of focusing on Modularity, which is one of Schoomaker's 16 focus areas. Modularity would give smaller units a degree of flexibility and more power. Previously, whenever there was a change to be made in the Army it would be handed to TRADOC to do an analysis and within a few years come up with and execute a plan. The constraint placed on the TRADOC design effort is that the redesigned division cannot have additional soldiers. To oversee TRADOC's design and development of the future force for the Army, a Futures Center will stand up, realigning functions and resources from the headquarters staff and from the Objective Force Task Force.

The restructuring would leave a division with three types of brigades: heavy, with armor; light, with motorized infantry, and airborne.

The 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., moved to four brigades as the Army's modularity test bed shortly after it returned from Iraq in 2003. Their task was initially to turn their three brigades into five rapidly deployable "brigade units of action" that are able to plug into any division and independently fight a high intensity conflict. The proposal would cause the division to get larger by about 2,000 to 3,000 troops. The brigade numbers would stay the same, but combat troops would decrease by about 10 to 15 percent.

The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., commanded by Maj.Gen. David Petraeus, has the mission of reorganizing next. By early 2004 the 101st Abn. Div. had officially begun to redeploy their more than 18,000 troops after serving in operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Army plans to stand up an additional two division brigades within a year and grow from 33 active-duty brigade combat teams to 48 by 2007.

The plan includes for the National Guard to grow from 15 enhanced separate brigades to 22 in the same period.

The restructure effort means a need for more infantrymen than the current Army force structure allows, about 3,000-4,000 more per division on the active-duty side

The reorganization also called for the conversion of some 39 field artillery battalions into military police, civil affairs and light infantry units.

The Army will disband 10 air defense artillery battalions. Many of these positions will migrate down to each brigade's reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition unit.

In Army aviation, the Army plans to create four aviation brigades as part of the restructure effort. Each of those brigades will include two attack battalions with 24 Apache helicopters each, a battalion of 30 Black Hawk helicopters, an unmanned aerial vehicle section and organic maintenance company.

Command-and-control headquarters will be designed as rapidly deployable modules. The division headquarters today - in order to deploy - must pull support from its signal battalion up to division headquarters, pull a lot of intelligence out of its intelligence battalion, pull fires out of the division artillery, pull engineers, and form a larger entity. This makes no sense in the environment we expect to fight in in the future. The division headquarters will be stand-alone entities; they will not rely on subordinate or higher headquarters for manning. The headquarters will be formed and trained as a deployable entity. It will have four command posts in that division headquarters, a homestation operations center that will remain at home, and it will rely on reachback to support the forward-deployed piece of the division. The Army will send two headquarters forward; one will be Joint forces land component-capable in a division. And if the Army is successful in this endeavor, we will have a Joint cell in that headquarters full-time and robust enough to support combat operations in peacetime.

One element is to make every soldier a rifleman. The support troops in the new brigades will have to be more versatile as soldiers. Where under the current structure troops have completed basic training then gone immediately into their specialized fields of logistics, etc., the new structure will require a higher level of combat proficiency from each soldier. This draws on the traditions of the Marine Corps, where every soldier is an Infantryman first, and on Schoomaker's own experience in the Special Forces, where every member of a 12-man "A" team is a special operator first, and a communications expert or medic second.

The reorganization also aims to increase stability within units, which translates to greater stability in Soldiers' families. Schoomaker said "It's time we stopped reassigning Soldiers just because they've been somewhere for three years. I want to keep Soldiers together - train them cohesively, deploy them as teams and bring them home as teams," Schoomaker said. "With less frequent turnover, units can build a foundation of experience as long as there is professional development. Investing in leadership training equates to investing in the unit."

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:35:57 ZULU