The Army Drawdown and BCT Realignment

So, the Army is cutting its troop levels fairly drastically. And it is trimming 10 Brigade Combat Teams from the force. But there is a bit of good news in there. While the numbers of BCTs are dropping by almost a quarter, the Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT) are being reorganized to be more effective. Desperately needing more BCTs in Iraq, the Army cheated when creating new ones by forming all Heavy BCTs with only two Combined Arms Battalions (that is, a battalion with two tank and two Bradley Infantry companies).  These BCTs found themselves often having to use their reconnaissance squadron as a third maneuver battalion, a role it was never intended nor organized and equipped to do. Finally, the Army is restoring a third CAB to its ABCTs. A friend of the blog passes along:

FYI, 1CD just deactivated 4th ABCT a couple of days ago, and 15 OCT marked the beginning of transitions of the Armored Brigade Combat Teams. What that will look like is as follows:


Reconnaissance Squadron.  Largely no change:  three reconnaissance troops and a headquarters troop.


Combined Arms Battalions.  A third one has been added.  Each CAB includes two tank companies, two infantry companies, and a headquarters company with staff, scouts, mortars, medics, and commo platoon.


The FA (Field Artillery) Battalion has added a third firing battery but it has changed from 2  firing batteries with 8 guns each to 3 batteries of six guns.  The FA Battalion is also assuming control of the Fires and Effects Coordination Cells from the recon squadron and the CABs.  (The FECC includes the battalion Fire Support Officer and the company Fire Support Teams).  The FA battalion is giving up the COLT(Combat Observation and Lasing Team)  platoon as a capability that will no longer exist.


Brigade Special Troops Battalion (BSTB). This battalion is being reorganized as the Brigade Engineer Battalion (BEB), with the addition of a second engineer company, so it will now consist of a headquarters company, two engineer companies, the signal company and the military intelligence company.  New equipment will include bridging and breaching assets, dozers, and a route clearance team.  The BEB has given up the MP platoon that the BSTB had, but retains the chemical reconnaissance platoon.


Brigade Support Battalion.  This BN currently includes the headquarters
company, a supply / distro company, a maintenance company and a medical company.  It also is the organic parent organization for the Forward Support Companies, which go to the other battalions.  The BSB currently has an FSC with the recon squadron, the CABs, and the FA battalion, but with the gain of the new CAB, there will be an extra FSC, as well as a new FSC that will go with the Brigade Engineer Battalion, with the net result that the BSB has ten companies, though six of them habitually work for a different battalion commander.
Brigade HHC.  The brigade also has a headquarters company which primarily consists of the brigade staff, while most support comes from the BSTB/BEB.

Though we are realigning the brigade, the equipment and personnel are not all in position yet, and will not be for some time.
Net gain to the brigade is one Combined Arms Battalion, taking it from 6 to 7 battalions, and an increase from 30 to 39 companies.
This puts the brigade at about the right design, and much closer to the
original design concept of the “Battle Group” envisioned in that book
“Breaking the Phalanx” which was big reading in the nineties (before we
discovered that we needed a bunch of under-strength BCTs to accomplish all rotational requirements in Iraq).  Of course, there are a dwindling number of these brigade combat teams now….

If you have any questions, just ask, I’ll be happy to answer or ask around.