Providing Relevant and Ready Landpower to Support the Combatant Commanders
Building a Campaign-Quality Force with Joint and Expeditionary Capabilities
"Campaign qualities" refers to the Army's ability not only to win decisively in the conduct of combat on land but also in its ability to sustain operations. The Army supports the Combatant Commanders and the Joint Force, other agencies and coalition partners, for as long as may be required.
The Army continues to improve strategic responsiveness in two ways. First, the Army is becoming more expeditionary. We are improving our ability to deploy rapidly to conduct joint operations in austere theaters. Our enemies are elusive, adaptive and seek refuge in complex terrain, often harbored by failed or failing states. They fully leverage many of the same technologies we do such as the Internet and satellite communications. To improve on our joint warfighting proficiency we are embracing these conditions in deployment scenarios, training and education.
Second, we have improved our review and resourcing procedures to anticipate and support the Integrated Priority Lists developed by the Combatant Commanders. Likewise, we are continuing to anticipate and respond with urgency to our commanders' needs.
Enhancing Joint Interdependence
Each branch of the Armed Forces excels in a different domain — land, air, sea and space. Joint interdependence purposefully combines each Service's strengths, while minimizing their vulnerabilities. The Army is ensuring that our systems are fully complementary with the other Services.
We are working aggressively with the other Services to improve the ability to dominate across the range of military operations. Our efforts embrace two characteristics of modern warfare. First, technology has extended the reach of modern weapon systems to the extent that collective force protection and anti-access techniques are necessary, even in facing irregular, asymmetric challenges. Second, the other Services' capabilities to dominate air, sea and space have direct impact on ground forces' ability to dominate on land.
Our new modular formations will operate better in joint, multinational and interagency environments. These formations are designed to enhance joint concepts for battle command, fires and effects, logistics, force projection, intelligence, as well as air and missile defense. Our joint training opportunities will continue to improve as we work with Joint Forces Command and the other Services to develop a Joint National Training Capability. The planning, scenarios, connectivity and overall realism we are working to create will enhance critical joint operations skills for commanders and Soldiers.
The ultimate test of joint initiatives is the Soldier. If a concept does not empower Soldiers, then we have to question its relevance. We are continuing our work to ensure that emerging capabilities and training requirements are created joint from the outset.
Resetting the Force
Major combat and stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are placing tremendous demands on our equipment and our Soldiers. As a result, we must reset those units — by preparing Soldiers and their equipment for future missions — often as part of new modular formations. We use this opportunity to reset our units forward to the future — not to return them to their legacy designs.
The major elements of our Reset Program include:
- Providing considerable training and professional development for Soldiers and leaders;
- Bringing unit readiness back up to Army standards;
- Reorganizing returning units into modular unit designs;
- Retraining essential tasks to incorporate lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan; and
- Adjusting pre-positioned stocks of ammunition and equipment to support the force.
Resetting the force reflects how we care for our people and prepare units for upcoming training and deployments, while positioning the Army to be more responsive to emerging threats and contingencies. Today, the standard for Active and Reserve Component reset is six and twelve months, respectively. Through a focused effort, our reset processes are becoming considerably more efficient in terms of both time and resources. The Army's depot capability and efforts to partner with industry are critical to this effort.
The Reset Program is designed to reverse the effects of combat stress on our equipment. Amidst the constant demands of war, our equipment is aging far more rapidly than projected. Because of higher operational tempo, rough desert environments and limited depot maintenance available in theater, our operational fleets are aging four years for every year in theater — dramatically shortening their life. Over 6,500 tracked and wheeled vehicles must be recapitalized this year alone. An additional 500 aviation systems must also be recapitalized. We will require additional funding to "buy back" some of this age through extensive recapitalization programs as well as replacing combat losses.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Infantry Division and 129 of the more than 500 Army Reserve units (over 25 percent) have already completed the Reset Program. The 4th Infantry Division, the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment, the 10th Mountain Division, the 1st Armored Division, the 76th Infantry Brigade (Indiana), the 30th Infantry Brigade (North Carolina), the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) are in various stages of the Reset Program.
Resetting units is not a one-time event. It is required for all redeploying units. A window of vulnerability exists at the end of our current operations. We project that it will take close to two years after the return of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan to completely refit our forces and to reconstitute the equipment held in our five pre-positioned sets. Only through an appropriately funded Reset Program can we extend the life of the operational fleet to remain ready to support and sustain protracted conflict. Congress has greatly helped the Army by providing supplemental funding to meet this critical need. We will continue to require additional resources to complete this essential work.
Converting to a Brigade-Based, Modular Force
Modular conversion will enable the Army to generate force packages optimized to meet the demands of a particular situation, without the overhead and support previously provided by higher commands. Modular units are tailored to meet the Combatant Commanders' requirements. These units, known as Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), are more robust, require less augmentation and are standardized in design to increase interoperability. They are, in essence, a self-sufficient, stand-alone tactical force, consisting of 3,500 to 4,000 Soldiers, that is organized and trains the way it fights.
Modular BCTs will serve as the building blocks of Army capabilities. There are three common organizational designs for ground BCTs and five for support brigades. The three designs include a heavy brigade with two armor-mechanized infantry battalions and an armed reconnaissance battalion; an infantry brigade with two infantry battalions and an armed reconnaissance and surveillance battalion; and a Stryker brigade with three Stryker battalions and a reconnaissance and surveillance battalion. Four of the five types of support brigades perform a single function each: aviation; fires; sustain; and battlefield surveillance. The fifth, maneuver enhancement brigade, is organized around a versatile core of supporting units that provide engineer, military police, air defense, chemical and signal capabilities.
By creating a modular, brigade-based Army, we are creating forces that are more rapidly deployable and more capable of independent action than our current division-based organization. Their strategic responsiveness will be greatly improved. Modularity increases each unit's capability by building in the communications, liaison and logistics capabilities needed to permit greater operational autonomy and support the ability to conduct joint, multinational operations. These capabilities have previously been resident at much higher organizational echelons.
We are also eliminating an entire echelon of command above the brigade headquarters, moving from three levels to two. Doing so removes redundancies in command structure and frees additional personnel spaces for use elsewhere. We are also eliminating several layers of logistics headquarters to increase responsiveness, further reduce redundancy and improve joint logistics integration.
In addition, the new higher-level headquarters will become significantly more capable and versatile than comparable headquarters today. These modular headquarters will be able to command and control any combination of capabilities: Army, joint or coalition. Their design, training and mindset will allow them to serve as the core of joint or multinational task force headquarters, with significantly reduced personnel augmentation. This will relieve stress on the force by eliminating a continuing demand to fill headquarters manning requirements on a temporary basis.
The Army is also transforming its Reserve Component structures to the new BCT organization. We are applying the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan to better train, equip, support and generate these units from their home stations. The Army Reserve is developing Army Reserve Expeditionary Packages to better generate and distribute critical force capabilities. This rotational force model streamlines mobilization, training and equipping of units; enhances readiness; and improves predictability for Soldiers, families and civilian employers.
Execution of this transformation is already well underway. As units redeploy from fighting, their conversion process begins. The 3rd Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division have already reorganized their existing brigades and created a new brigade each. The 3rd Infantry Division is the first converted unit returning to Iraq. The 10th Mountain Division and the 4th Infantry Division will soon follow. By the end of 2006, we will have added 10 new brigades. Potentially, we will create five more in 2007. The Army National Guard is converting 34 BCTs or separate brigades to modular designs. At the end of our effort, the Army will have 77 and potentially 82 total BCTs.
Rebalancing Active and Reserve Component Units and Skills
Our current Active and Reserve Component structure is not optimized for rapid deployment and sustainment. We are restructuring the force to increase units with special skills that are routinely in high demand by the Combatant Commanders, such as infantry, military police, transportation and civil affairs. Rather than requesting additional force increases, we are decreasing force structure in less demand. When completed, we will have restructured and rebalanced more than 100,000 positions. We have already converted more than 34,000 of these positions.
We are also placing more combat support and combat service support structure into the Active Component to improve deployability and the ability to sustain operations during the first 30 days of a contingency. This increase in high-demand sustainment units will reduce the requirements for immediate mobilization of Reserve Component units.
The Army Reserve's Federal Reserve Restructuring Initiative is another program that is helping to resource units at higher levels by converting or eliminating current force structure and specialties in low demand to increase those in greatest demand. This initiative relieves stress on units in higher demand and adds depth to the Army's operational forces.
Stabilizing Soldiers and Units to Enhance Cohesion and Predictability
To improve unit cohesion and readiness, while reducing both turbulence in units and uncertainty for families, we are changing how we man our units. Our objective is to keep Soldiers in units longer to reduce chronically high turnover rates of Soldiers and leaders, improve cohesion within units and increase training proficiency and overall combat readiness. Units that stay together longer build higher levels of teamwork, understand their duties and their equipment better, require less periodic retraining and tend to perform better during deployments. Fewer moves of Soldiers and their families also saves the Army money.
These assignment policies, now being implemented, will also improve quality of life and predictability for Soldiers, families and civilian employers. Stabilizing Soldiers, which in certain cases, will be challenging to achieve in the near term, will allow their families to build deeper roots within their communities and enjoy better opportunities for spouse employment, continuity of healthcare, schooling and other benefits. This program also reduces the chance of a Soldier moving from a unit that recently redeployed to a unit preparing to deploy. The Army gains more cohesive, more experienced units while Soldiers and families benefit from greater predictability, stability and access to stronger support networks that enhance well-being.
The 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, in Alaska, was the first unit to implement unit stability. The Army will man four more brigades using this method this year. The Army will continue to implement stabilization policies as units redeploy to their home stations.
Leveraging Army Science and Technology Programs
The focus of Army science and technology is to accelerate maturing technologies with promising capabilities into the Current Force faster than expected. These technologies include:
- Networked battle command and logistics systems;
- Networked precision missiles and gun-launched munitions; and
- Improved intelligence sensors, active and passive protection systems, unmanned ground and air systems and low-cost multispectral sensors.
Many of these technologies are already being fielded to our front-line Soldiers to dramatically improve their capabilities. Specific science and technology initiatives will improve existing capabilities to:
- Detect and neutralize mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs);
- Identify friendly forces in combat;
- Develop medical technology for self-diagnosis and treatment;
- Identify hostile fire indicators; and
- Enhance survivability, training systems and robotics.
We are working to harness the full potential of our science and technology establishment to improve the capability of our forces to defeat opponents in complex environments, which include urban terrain, triple-canopy jungle conditions, desert terrain, mountainous environments and caves.
Spiraling Future Combat Systems Capabilities into the Current Force
Our largest, most promising, science and technology investment remains the pursuit of Future Combat Systems (FCS) technologies. The FCS-equipped force will add crucial capabilities to the Future Force to achieve Department of Defense transformation goals. FCS is not a platform. It is a family of 18 networked air and ground-based maneuver, maneuver support and sustainment systems.
Networked FCS capabilities will provide unprecedented levels of situational awareness by integrating communications, sensors, battle command systems as well as manned and unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance systems. FCS-equipped units, operating as a system of systems, will be more deployable and survivable than our current units and will enhance joint capabilities. They will also be better suited to conduct immediate operations, over extremely long distances, with other members of the Joint Force, to produce strategic effects.
In July 2004, the Army restructured the FCS program to accelerate the introduction of battle command, the Army network and other crucial capabilities to the Current Force, while we continue to build our initial FCS-equipped BCT. Improvements to the Army network, known as LandWarNet, are focused on applying lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan to improve our forces' ability to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively. LandWarNet, designed to support all Joint communications architectures, will apply the most mature technologies commercially available and support the fielding of the Joint Network Node, the Warfighter Information Network and the Joint Tactical Radio System.
The Network provides the backbone for introducing the key FCS capabilities identified to be fielded early which include:
- Unattended ground sensors;
- Intelligent munitions;
- Non-line-of-sight launch systems and cannon artillery; and
- A range of unmanned aerial platforms.
These systems provide greater target detection, force protection and precision-attack capabilities than we have today. Specific programs will enhance protection from enemy mortars, artillery and rockets and improve Soldiers' ability to communicate in urban and other complex settings. The acceleration of selective FCS technologies is providing immediate solutions to critical problems our Soldiers face today. The technologies we spiral into the Current Force today, coupled with the doctrinal and organizational concepts being developed to enable them, will also help to improve the decisions we make concerning the Future Force.
Restructuring Army Aviation
The Army is also transforming its aviation forces to develop modular, capabilities-based forces optimized to operate in a more joint environment. This past year, the Army cancelled the Comanche Program and redirected its resources into other Army aviation programs. The technologies developed by the Comanche Program are being used in our current Army aviation platforms.
The reallocation of funding allowed the Army to modularize, modernize and improve its force protection capabilities. The Army is accelerating aircrew protection and fielding Aircraft Survivability Equipment. Our modular structure reduces the number of brigade designs from seven to two. Over the next six years, we are purchasing more than 800 new aircraft that include 108 attack, 365 utility and 368 armed reconnaissance helicopters. We are also modernizing an additional 300 helicopters. These initiatives will enable the Army to extend the life of its critical aviation assets beyond 2020. This will greatly reduce the age of our aviation fleet, improve readiness rates and reduce maintenance costs.
As a result of the Comanche termination decision, the Army will:
- Accelerate the modernization of Reserve Component aviation;
- Accelerate the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Light Utility Helicopter and Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter programs;
- Focus additional resources on the Future Cargo Aircraft program designed to improve intra-theater lift capacity;
- Develop a common cockpit for cargo and utility aircraft;
- Field improved deployability and sustainment kits; and
- Purchase and install advanced avionics packages.
This restructuring will result in dramatic Army-wide efficiencies by reducing training costs and standardizing both maintenance and logistics requirements.