Army Slashes 10 BCTs: O-5s and O-6s Hardest Hit
The long-anticipated drawdown cycle for the U.S. military has begun in earnest: The Army announced plans to slash the Army’s maneuver forces by ten Brigade Combat Teams. Because if there’s one thing we learned from our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was that we had too many of those pesky BCTs.
The announcement came on Tuesday from General Ray Odierno, the current Army Chief of Staff. The BCTs designated for elimination are as follows:
- 4th Stryker BCT, 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
- 3rd Armored BCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
- 4th Infantry BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
- 4th Infantry BCT, 101st Air Assault, Fort Campbell, Ky.
- 3rd Infantry BCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.
- 3rd Infantry BCT, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
- 4th Infantry BCT (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
- 2nd Armored BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
- 4th Armored BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
- 3rd Infantry BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas
These units are in addition to two brigade combat teams the Army has already announced would be decommissioned: the 170th and 172nd BCTs, both stationed in Germany. Odierno also said the Army planned to deactivate at least one more BCT, again overseas. Ultimately, the number of Brigade Combat Teams in the Army is slated to fall from 45 to 32. At the end of the process, the Army force mix will include 12 armored BCTs, 14 infantry BCTs, and seven Stryker BCTs.
Nevertheless, despite the large decrease in the number of BCTs, the number of maneuver battalions in the Army will remain relatively stable: The Army will fall from 98 battalions to 95, according to Odierno. The Army will accomplish this by increasing the number of maneuver battalions in the remaining brigades from two to three. The new table of organization and equipment will also plus up the artillery and engineering capability for each brigade.
Each remaining brigade will increase in authorized end strength by about 1,000 soldiers, from 3,500 to 4,500, said Army sources.
Field Grade Officers Hardest Hit
The planned reorganization will largely maintain the number of command slots available for combat arms captains. However, they will come at the expense of the promotion prospects for more senior officers. The most obvious personnel effect will be the reduction of brigade command opportunities for colonels and promotable lieutenant colonels. Looked at more broadly, the Army is losing a substantial number of field grade officer slots for majors and lieutenant colonels in the maneuver brigades. This means that while accession to captain will remain strong, and while strong combat arms lieutenants and captains still have an excellent shot at being selected for company command, these commanders will have to file into a sharply restricted number of opportunities for majors on brigade staffs. However, once selected, many of these majors will trickle up to positions on division staffs, where they will no doubt be a lot of help.
Odierno’s plan distributed the pain of troop reductions across ten different posts in ten congressional districts while avoiding having to actually close any military installations.