Army leaders have finally outlined the reorganization of its brigade combat teams, identifying 10 BCTs to be cut over the next three years. Most of the remaining teams will get a third maneuver battalion, plus more fires and engineer capabilities. It amounts to one of the service’s largest organizational changes since World War II.
“This is the new Army,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said. “The new Army is something that is globally responsive and regionally engaged. We have to be able to respond anywhere in the world very quickly.”
The reorganization, to begin in October with the start of fiscal 2014 and be completed by the end of fiscal 2017, takes place as the Army moves on from more than 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Odierno said the new structure will save some $400 million in military construction over the next few years.
Amid the uncertainty of forced budget cuts and the pressure to quickly reduce a force that has been at war for more than a decade, the reorganization plan accomplishes two goals: It eliminates some 17,000 jobs as the Army shrinks from 570,000 to 490,000. At the same time, the reorganization beefs up the remaining brigades with another battalion, adding firepower, engineers and other support functions to each of them.
It’s a bold move to make the Army more expeditionary, while boosting each brigade combat team’s stand-alone fighting capabilities.
Odierno wants an Army that is “more lethal, flexible and agile.” This is an important step in that direction.