Ray Odierno: Brigade
combat teams cut at 10 posts will help other BCTs grow
June 26, 2013
The Army announced June 25 that 10 brigade combat teams based in the
United States are slated to be reorganized by the end of fiscal year
In addition to the 10 brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, announced
today, the Army also announced last year it would cut two brigades in
Germany that complete inactivation this fiscal year. These changes will
reduce the number of BCTs in the Army from 45 to 33.
"Based on extensive analysis, the lessons of twelve years of war and the
need to increase the Army's operational capability and flexibility, the
Army is reorganizing our brigade combat teams to reduce the number of
headquarters while sustaining as much combat capability as possible,"
said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno during a press
conference at the Pentagon. "In other words, we are increasing our
It is expected that at a later date, the name of an additional BCT will
be announced that will also be reorganized, Odierno said. When that
happens, it will bring the total number of remaining BCTs in the Army
down to 32.
While the number of BCTs will be reduced, the size of remaining BCTs
will increase, on average, to about 4,500 Soldiers. That will be
accomplished, in many cases, by moving assets from existing BCTs into
"We will reinvest some of the Soldiers, equipment and support personnel
into the remaining BCTs," Odierno said.
The Army's decision to cut those 10 BCTs involved "extensive BCT
analysis that included over 6,500 hours of simulated combat in 34
separate scenarios and extensive interviews with our commanders,"
Odierno said. "We also conducted a programmatic environmental analysis
that looked at both the environmental and socio-economic impacts.
Additionally, we conducted listening sessions at 30 installations with
Soldiers, families, local leaders and the business community to better
understand the impacts of all potential decisions."
The general also said the Army saved nearly $400 million in military
construction dollars by putting projects on hold until the final
decisions were made about which brigades to reorganize.
BOLSTERING REMAINING BRIGADES
While 10 BCTs 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
That, Odierno said, will make those remaining BCTs "more lethal, more
flexible, and more agile."
Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, director of force management with Army
G-3/5/7, said the Army will convert brigade support troops battalion
within remaining BCTs into "brigade engineering battalions."
Additionally, he said, BCTs will get additional "gap-crossing"
capability, and route-clearance capability.
"We will also increase the fires capability," Murray said.
"Specifically, we'll go from a 2x8-gun fires battalion to a 3x6. So two
additional guns, one additional battery to support the three maneuver
battalions. And then in order to do that, some of the
echelon-above-brigade structure in terms of engineers will have to be
reorganized to provide that additional engineering capability to the BCT."
Stryker brigades, Murray said, currently have three maneuver battalions,
but no brigade support troops battalion. Those brigades will get a
brigade engineer battalion.
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. "We are
getting rid of a lot of the headquarters, the 0-6 headquarters. So the
tooth to tail goes down."
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,
-- 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,
-- 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
It's expected the current slate of proposed changes will be complete by
the end of fiscal year 2017, though Odierno said that continued
sequestration could make it happen faster. He also said that the current
changes are not a result of sequestration currently in place -- but are
instead a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
"These end-strength and force-structure reductions predate sequestration
and ongoing fiscal year 2013 budget reductions," Odierno said. "If
sequestration continues into fiscal year 2014, Army reductions to end
strength, force structure and basing announced today will be only the
The Army is currently planning to reduce its end strength to 490,000
Soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017.