Using hand signals, soldiers maneuver Stryker vehicles onto rail cars Jan. 25 to be returned to Fort Wainwright. (John Pennell)
The Army will inactivate 194 units as part of a massive organizational overhaul slated to take place over the next four years.
The cuts are part of a comprehensive effort to shrink the active-duty force by 80,000 soldiers — bringing the force from a wartime high of about 570,000 to 490,000 — and reorganize the Army’s brigade combat teams.
On June 25, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced the Army will cut 10 BCTs and reorganize the rest by adding a third maneuver battalion to most of the infantry and armored BCTs and boosting the engineer capabilities in each.
Under the Budget Control Act, the Army is required to cut$170 billion between now and 2020.
The Army also will relocate, convert and move various detachment- and platoon-level units through corps and component command headquarters, said Army spokesman William Layer.
There also are plans to “adjust” personnel levels at Army schools, garrison headquarters and training facilities at 36 installations. This includes increasing the number of personnel assigned to the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, he said.
“In total, more than 1,000 non-BCT units will see changes between fiscal years 2014 and 2017,” Layer said.
The Army’s decision-making process for BCT and non-BCT cuts included examining each capability, analyzing the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of force structure changes at each installation, and conducting listening sessions at 30 posts, Layer said. Leaders also considered access to adequate and appropriate training facilities and geographic distribution, he said.
These moves are set to begin in October and be completed by the end of fiscal 2017.
“Many of the non-BCT actions are directly related to and contribute to the BCT reorganization,” Layer said. “Therefore, the events must be synchronized across the Army to make the best use of current personnel and equipment.”
The plans to inactivate 194 units will result in a loss of 9,600 soldiers — 12 percent of the 80,000 end strength reduction.
Thousands of other soldiers from these units will be moved to new formations as many of the inactivations are tied to the restructuring of the BCTs, Layer said.
For example, the Army will inactivate a “large number” of engineer units and use the existing personnel and equipment to form brigade engineer battalions, Layer said.
These battalions will become part of the newly reorganized BCTs.
Infantry and Stryker BCTs now have one engineer company, while armored BCTs have two.
Under the reorganization, the brigade support troops battalion in each BCT will be converted into a brigade engineer battalion. These BEBs will increase the number of engineers in each brigade from about 120 in the infantry and Stryker BCTs and about 200 in the armored BCTs to more than 300 engineers in all.
Once the reorganization is completed, each BCT will have about 4,500 soldiers, nearly 1,000 more than each does now.