What is it? The Army is converting to a modular force to make the operational army more powerful, more flexible, and more rapidly deployable. Driven by both wartime necessities and the need to support the homeland, we are aggressively reshaping the force to increase fighting capabilities. This will enable us to sustain worldwide commitments with rotational forces needed for the changing security environment that will be dominated by a prolonged war on terrorism.
What has the Army done? Since 2000, we have increased our capabilities through the modular conversion of brigades, centered on Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), and by rebalancing capabilities in both our active and reserve components. This total redesign of the operational Army includes converting to Brigade Combat Teams, and standardizing Support Brigades, Theater Commands, and Headquarters that are all organized for immediate deployment and employment.
Active and Reserve Units with Common Organizational Designs
- Brigade Combat Team (BCT):
- Three types (Infantry, Heavy, Stryker)
- More self-sufficient, standardized
- Primary warfighting unit and headquarters; conducts battles and engagements
- Support Brigades: Multi-Functional and Functional Brigades:
- Multi-Functional Brigades:
- There are five kinds: (Combat Aviation, Combat Support (Maneuver Enhancement), Sustainment, Fires, Battlefield Surveillance Brigades)
- Designed to "plug" into operational formations commanded by corps or division commanders and to support BCTs once deployed
- Conduct tactical level tasks and support
- Functional Brigades:
- There are several kinds: (i.e. Air Defense Artillery, Engineer, Explosives Ordnance, Military Police, etc)
- Designed to "plug" into operational formations at the theater level or those commanded by corps or division commanders performing as the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) once deployed
- Conduct operational or theater level tasks or support
- Multi-Functional Brigades:
- Theater Commands
- Serve as Component Command for five geographic Combatant Commands: Army Central (ARCENT); Army North (ARNORTH); Army South (ARSOUTH); United States Army Europe (USAREUR); Army Pacific (ARPAC)
- Designed to function as Joint Forces Land Component Commander (JFLCC)
- Commands and controls the five functional commands tailored to each theater and other forces as assigned
- Division and Corps Headquarters
- Corps headquarters are capable of controlling multiple subordinate commands and can function as a Joint Task Force (JTF) or JFLCC or Army Forces (ARFOR) Headquarters with augmentation
- Division headquarters are designed to command and control a tailored mix of BCTs and Support Brigades and can serve as a JTF or JFLCC or ARFOR in smaller contingency operations
- Both can "plug" into any Theater Command
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The Army is restructuring to form a rotational pool of 70 Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and currently over 200 Support Brigades of various types among the three components. The Army plan is to:
- Active Component: build up to 42 BCTs and retain 75 Support Brigades;
- Army National Guard: build up to 28 BCTs and retain 78 Support Brigades;
- Army Reserve: retain 58 Support Brigades.
Brigade Combat Teams, Support Brigades, Theater Commands and Headquarters will all be converted to modular designs. These conversions will ensure that units are compatible and complementary in any environment, especially while performing missions or providing capability to Combatant Commanders or to civil authorities.
In addition, to make best use of our resources, we are both rebalancing and redistributing our forces. We are rebalancing to create the right mix of units that are in greatest demand in today's environment - infantry, engineer, military police, military intelligence, Special Forces, chemical, civil affairs and psychological operations, and various types of support units - and Soldiers with critical and high demand skills in each of our active and reserve components. At the same time, we are redistributing Soldiers to create the right mix between our operational forces and our institutional structures.
We will continuously review and adjust the right mix, balance and number of brigades in our force sizing process and risk analysis, given the security environment and the resources available. This analysis will ensure force capabilities are appropriately balanced to meet the needs of the Combatant Commander and defense of the homeland, including consequence management and disaster relief.
The combined effect of rebalancing and redistributing among the components is increasing our overall effectiveness. We are improving our ability to provide trained Soldiers in cohesive formations to the Combatant Commanders and to support civil authorities, while reducing stress on Soldiers and families.
Why is this important to the Army? This effort is instrumental and essential to having the kinds of current and future capabilities and forces needed in the Army for an indefinite period of global commitments. Executing modular conversion will ensure that our Soldiers are well prepared and organized appropriately to operate in campaign and expeditionary settings with our joint and coalition partners now and in the future. Modular conversion will also guarantee that the Army can provide a continuous supply of ready landpower to contribute to joint success across the range of military operations.