By Sean KimmonsNovember 30, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- To bring more boom to the battlefield, the Army plans to convert a 3rd Infantry Division brigade into armor starting next summer.
The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team will add more than 200 armored vehicles as it transitions to the Army's 10th active-duty armored BCT and the 15th in the entire force.
"The Army is pragmatically and proactively increasing the number of armored brigade combat teams in the force to address the several security challenges that have been identified by the secretary of defense," said Col. Brian Ellis, force management division chief with the Army's G-3/5/7.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are among the evolving strategic challenges driving future planning and budgeting.
"We've come out of 12 years of conducting counterinsurgency, and now we're just adjusting capabilities to the security environment," Ellis said.
Known as the Spartan Brigade, the 2nd IBCT is slated to turn in and receive equipment this summer before it officially converts to an armored BCT in October. The new brigade will kick off training exercises in 2018 and conduct a combat training center rotation the following year, according to Ellis.
None of the brigade's units will be moved from Fort Stewart, Georgia, he added, and there will be just a slight reduction in its 4,200-Soldier force as it changes to armored vehicles.
The brigade is set to obtain 87 M1A1 Abrams tanks with situational awareness configuration upgrades and 138 Bradley fighting vehicles, along with 18 M109 howitzers.
"This is all in accordance with our two-level modernization strategy for tanks and Bradleys," Ellis said.
Having both combat maneuver platforms available for deployments will offer more warfighting capabilities to combatant commanders around the world, Ellis said, which should deter enemies and reassure allies.
"It benefits the Army in that it provides an additional rotational capability and it expands the armored brigade combat team capacity for the Army," he explained.
"As part of our Army processes," he added, "we're always reviewing requirements based on strategic guidance to provide the right mix of capabilities to support geographic combatant commanders."