The 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team is slated as one of 12 brigade combat teams to be inactivated by 2017, according to William Layer with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Media Relations Division.
Layer, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in civil affairs, explained the “BCT mix” is still in the planning process. He said decisions about the mix will not be made until the Army completes what he called a “relook” at overseas BCT structure, conducts additional stationing analysis and weighs other “programmatic variables.”
While giving up 12 BCTs, the Army is also adding a third maneuver battalion, an additional engineer and fire capability to each remaining armor and infantry brigade combat team, he said
“Although we are reducing the number of active component BCT headquarters, adding a third maneuver battalion provides additional maneuver capability, which fills a capability gap we have identified through analysis and feedback from our tactical commanders,” Layer, who is also a military historian, said. “These announced force structure reductions impact the active component force. Any changes to Army National Guard or Army Reserve force structure would be part of a separate analysis and decision-making process.”
Layer admitted it was too soon to say where the additional maneuver battalion, engineer unit or fire support would be placed within the new BCT structure or even what type of maneuver unit it might be. He noted, however, the Army will also continue to increase its aviation capabilities, Special Operations, missile defense and cyber capabilities.
He said the restructuring of the active component and end-strength reduction of 80,000 soldiers will reduce the force to 490,000 by 2017. These reductions were a result of fiscal constraints prescribed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Defense Planning Guidance issued in 2012, he said.
He added these reductions do not reflect any additional reductions that may be required if “sequestration-driven funding reductions remain unmitigated.”
Layer provided the transcript from a June 25 press conference by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno and Chief of Media Relations Division Col. Dave Patterson.
“...The Army’s in the process of undergoing one of the largest organizational changes probably since World War II,” Odierno said. “As we transition from a force at war, our decisions are in line with the fiscal year (20)13 budget submission, which implements a $487 billion reduction in (Department of Defense) funding based on the Budget Control Act of 2011. It began in fiscal year 2013 and extends over 10 years. The Army’s share of this reduction is approximately $170 billion.”
Odierno said as the Army inactivates brigade combat teams, it will “reinvest” some equipment and support personnel into the remaining brigade combat teams.
He said two overseas BCTs stationed at Baumholder and Grafenwoehr, Germany, will complete their inactivation in fiscal year 2013. This will leave only two BCTs in Europe, he said. The remaining 10 BCTs to be idled will come from the following installations between now and the end of fiscal year 2017: Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Riley, Kan., Fort Stewart and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
“In the future, we will announce an additional BCT to be inactivated, which will bring the number of BCTs to 32, but that decision is yet to be made,” Odierno added.