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Army to Cut Brigades At 10 U.S. Bases By 2017

NCO Journal

June 25, 2013

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The Army announced Tuesday it is cutting the number of brigade combat teams from 45 to 33 during the next four years as part of a major force reduction that shifts thousands of Soldiers throughout the country and moves the Army closer to spending cuts outlined by legislation from 2011.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno announced the cuts, which are part of a reduction of force strength from its current level of 541,000 to 490,000 by 2017 to meet the $487 billion in cuts mandated in the budget control act.

The Army had previously identified two brigades in Germany for elimination. On Tuesday, Odierno identified 10 other s throughout the nation that will be dissolved by 2017. He said selections for the brigade cuts were made based on various factors including geography, cost and local economic impacts. Odierno warned further cutbacks could be in the future if full sequestration continues.

A brigade is normally comprised of about 3,500 Soldiers. Some can be as large as 5,000.

While 10 brigades will be eliminated from the Army, some of the components from those brigades will be put into remaining BCTs. In particular, Odierno said, a third maneuver battalion, and additional engineer and fires capabilities will be added to each armor and infantry brigade combat team.

That, Odierno said, will make those remaining BCTs “more lethal, more flexible, and more agile.”

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell said that the changes to the brigades make the remaining BCTs more capable.

“We had the ability to make the brigades more capable,” he said.

Campbell said that some Soldiers will need to move as part of the changes. But for the most part, moves will be from one unit on an installation to another.

“A majority of that will stay on that post,” Campbell said. “But we will have to add some, (in) some places. Some will have to move.”

With the expected cuts in BCTs, the Army will be left with a mix of 12 armored BCTs, 14 infantry BCTs, and seven Stryker BCTs. Those numbers could change in the future. Campbell said he feels confident that the brigades identified already would be the ones to be “reorganized.” But if the Army finds, in the future, that it needs a different mix of brigades than what has already been identified — some existing brigades might instead be changed to meet the new requirements.

Brigades marked for reorganization include:

  • The 4th Stryker BCT, 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
  • The 3rd Armored BCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
  • The 4th Infantry BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
  • The 4th Infantry BCT, 101st Air Assault, Fort Campbell, Ky.
  • The 3rd Infantry BCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.
  • The 3rd Infantry BCT, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
  • The 4th Infantry BCT (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
  • The 2nd Armored BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
  • The 4th Armored BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
  • The 3rd Infantry BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
  • C. Todd Lopez of the Army News Service contributed to this report.