Yesterday, the Army announced force restructuring decisions that will reorganize the current 45 Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) into 33 BCTs.
In making this announcement, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the Army made these restructuring decisions, along with an earlier decision to cut active Army end strength by 80,000, “as a result of the Budget and Control Act of 2011.” Odierno added that these decisions “predate sequestration.” If sequestration is implemented in FY2014 and beyond, he said the Army might have to reduce active and reserve forces by another 100,000.
This reduction includes completing the inactivation of two BCTs in Baumholder and Grafenwoehr, Germany. By the end of 2017, 10 additional Army BCT deactivations will occur at: Joint Base Lewis-McChord; Fort Carson; Fort Riley; Fort Campbell; Fort Knox; Fort Drum; Fort Bragg; Fort Stewart; Fort Hood; and Fort Bliss. Odierno also said the Army will announce another BCT deactivation in the future, which will bring the total number of BCTs down to 32.
Odierno said the Army based its restructuring decisions on the ability to train forces, project power, and provide for the well-being of servicemembers and their families. Other factors included cost, and socio-economic impacts, the 2012 strategic guidance, and rebalancing forces to the Pacific region.
As inactivation of BCTs occurs, the Army will “reinvest Solders, equipment, and support personnel into the remaining BCTs.” Odierno said. As a result, the size of each remaining BCT will increase to about 4,500. The restructuring involves adding a third maneuver battalion and engineer and fires capability to each BCT. The Army also expects to be able to cancel military construction projects totaling $400 million.
As a result of this restructuring, the Army will have 12 armored BCTs, 14 infantry BCTs, and 7 Stryker BCTs. However, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell said that if the Army needs a different mix in the future, some additional changes will be made to meet new requirements.
Eliminating Units in Europe and other overseas locations would net the Army the savings rather than cutting the lifeblood of communities in the US. It is extremely expensive to maintain forces overseas. The time to let Europe stand on its own has long since past.
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