Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1988
Structuring the Force
The term "force structure" refers to the fighting and support units as well as the sustaining base, which ,comprise the Total Army. Establishing the Army's force structure begins with submission by the warfighting. CINCs of their preferred combat force requirements to support their war plans. Budget realities, an acceptable level of risk in view of the international threat, along with the combined priorities set by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directly influence the force structure design process. The Army leadership then evaluates and integrates other factors-the appropriate mixture of active and reserve component personnel with the civilian work force; a proper ratio of combat, combat support, and combat service support units; the proper balance of heavy, light, and Special Operations Forces organizations; and an effective combination of stateside and overseas basing of forces. Budget cuts necessitated a reduction of about 20,300 active component personnel and civilians in FY88. The loss of 2,330 commissioned officer, 170 warrant officer, 6,170 enlisted soldier, and 11-,690 civilian spaces posed additional problems for force structure planners.
By the end of FY 88 the Total Army consisted of 772,000 active component personnel, a reserve component Selected Reserve strength of 458,000 National Guardsmen and 305,000 Army reservists, and 393,000 civilians. The reserve component has assumed a major role in the Army's force structure. The National Guard provides 10 of the Army's 28 combat divisions, while reserve component Roundout brigades augment 6 of the 18 active component divisions. Reserve component personnel also supply about 60 percent of the Army's support units. In response to congressional requests for measuring how expanded resourcing of the armed services in the 1980s has improved their combat capability, the Army developed the Measuring Improved Capability of Army Forces (MICAF), now called Force Evaluation (FORCE). With a computer simulation, FORCE matches U.S. Army divisions, separate brigades, and armored cavalry regiments with appropriately
sized constant 1993 Soviet counterparts. FORCE indicates significant increases in combat capability vis-a-vis the Soviets during the 1985-88 period-37 percent for the active component, 45 percent for the reserve component, and 39 percent for all Army major combat units.
The Army has organized its combat divisions into three basic categories-heavy, light, and standard infantry. It has designed its heavy, primarily armored and mechanized infantry, divisions to fight against a mechanized enemy on a mid- to high-intensity battlefield. Armored divisions have about 16,800 soldiers with 6 tank and 4 mechanized infantry battalions. Mechanized infantry divisions have about 17,100 personnel with 5 tank and 5 mechanized infantry battalions. Heavy divisions have benefited from several improvements in the 1980s. Fielding of the Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, and the Apache attack helicopter is providing increased firepower and mobility. Placement of a forward support battalion in each brigade and a main support battalion in the division rear area enables the division support command to provide faster repair and resupply to the combat arms unit. Heavy division artillery elements have three 155-mm. self-propelled howitzer battalions, a multiple launch rocket system battery, and a target acquisition battery. During FY 88 heavy divisions in both Europe and CONUS continued to convert to the new unit designs as new equipment and facilities became available. Reserve component Roundout units for heavy divisions are converting to new unit designs at about the same pace as their parent divisions.
The 2d Infantry Division, assigned to Korea, and the 9th Infantry Division (Motorized) located at Fort Lewis, Washington, have modified designs that qualify them as heavy units. With its unique needs, the 2d has three brigade headquarters, two standard heavy division tank battalions, two standard heavy division mechanized battalions, and two air assault infantry battalions. Its division support command is re-forming to the heavy division design with a main and three forward support battalions. In 1985 the Army leadership approved a new motorized division design for the 9th Infantry Division that included three infantry brigade headquarters, five heavy combined arms battalions, two light combined arms battalions, and two light attack battalions. Additionally, the division has a combat aviation brigade and divisional artillery which consists of three M198 155-mm. towed artillery battalions
and a composite 105-mm./multiple launch rocket system battalion. Tactics and equipment of the 9th emphasize high tactical mobility and firepower while maintaining strategic mobility similar to the light division. Because of the reduction of 8,600 active component soldiers in FY 88, the Army inactivated the 9th's 2d Brigade. An interim design placed the 81st Separate Infantry Brigade (Heavy) of the state of Washington National Guard as a Roundout unit for the 9th.
As a result of the continuing need for combat divisions that could deploy more rapidly and function with less attached support than the standard infantry division, the Army created its light infantry division in the early 1980s. The light infantry division has about 10,800 soldiers with nine light infantry battalions, three 105mm. towed howitzer battalions, and one 155-mm. towed howitzer battery. Although primarily intended as a contingency force for low-intensity conflicts, the light infantry division can fight in mid-and high-intensity scenarios as part of a corps. With increased foxhole strength and a higher combat-to-support ratio than the standard infantry division, the light division follows a training program that emphasizes fighting at night and in restricted and urban terrain. The division can deploy in about 500 C-141 sorties. It requires one-third the strategic airlift of a standard infantry division, demands less intratheater mobility support, and has sufficient organic tactical mobility assets to lift one infantry battalion by helicopter and transport another on the ground.
The Army has five light infantry divisions, four in the active component and one in the reserve component. Stationed at Fort Ord, California, the 7th Infantry Division converted to the light design in FY85 and now maintains a rapid deployment posture for specified contingency missions. The 25th Infantry Division completed conversion to the light design at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in October 1987 and also maintains a rapid deployment posture. Using the 172d Infantry Brigade as a nucleus, the 6th Infantry Division began conversion to the light design in March 1986 at Forts Wainwright and Richardson, Alaska. Rounded out by the 205th Infantry Brigade, a Minnesota Army Reserve unit, the 6th Infantry Division will continue to form as a light unit through FY 89. FY 88 budget reductions canceled activation of two infantry battalions intended for the 6th. An Alaskan National Guard infantry battalion will replace an active component battalion of the 6th in FY89. The 10th Mountain Division, activated at Fort Drum, New York, in February 1985, will continue to form as a light division into FY89. The National Guard's 29th Infantry Division formed in October
1985 from the assets of the 116th Separate Infantry Brigade of Virginia and the 58th Separate Infantry Brigade of Maryland. Located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the 29th serves as the reserve component light division. It has completed formation except for an air defense artillery battalion programmed for FY 91.
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 82d Airborne Division recently completed force structure changes based upon the light infantry division design but modified to accommodate their unique mission requirements and specialized training. These force design changes increased their tactical mobility, improved reconnaissance capabilities, increased the range of communications assets, and enhanced organic NBC decontamination capabilities with smoke support. The National Guard has all of the Army's standard infantry divisions. The current force design for a standard infantry division calls for seven infantry, two armor, and one mechanized battalions. Army force structure planners continue to study organizational alternatives for the standard infantry division in an effort to design heavier, units based on both the CINCs' wartime needs and the training needs and capabilities of the reserve component.
Special Operations Forces
The Army continues to revitalize its Special Operations Forces (SOF)-Special Forces, Rangers, Special Operations Aviation, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations-which serve as part of the combined arms team with heavy and light forces. Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-34, Special Operations Forces, specifies that SOF missions support national objectives with foreign internal defensive operations in remote, urban, or rural environments during peace and war to promote national and regional stability. SOF have about 25,000 personnel, 14,500 in the reserve component and the balance in the active component. Special Forces both teach foreign military and paramilitary forces and also perform the skills associated with unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance missions. Currently, the Army has four Special Forces Groups, two in the Army Reserve and two in the National Guard. Army Rangers, highly skilled light infantrymen employed in unique support of conventional operations or deep in enemy areas for special missions, number about 1,800 officers and men. All of them serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment, an active component unit.
Army Special Operations Aviation units support SOF with their attack and lift helicopters. Equipped with modified aircraft, these crews can perform high priority missions at night and in poor weather. Present Special Operations Aviation assets include one group and one detachment in the active component and one reserve component battalion. Civil affairs forces assist with host-nation support, train foreign internal defense forces in peacetime, and provide technical civil assistance to local governments. More than 4,800 soldiers serve in 36 reserve component civil affairs units in 22 states, while the active component has only one civil affairs battalion. Psychological operations forces influence both friendly and enemy forces as directed by the American force commander. They consist of three reserve component groups stationed in 19 states and one active component group.
Although the Army continued to formulate plans for changes in the command and status of units and acquisition of converted helicopters for SOF during FY 88, few of these plans materialized. The 1st Special Operations Command, subordinate to Forces Command and located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, commands active component SOF. Reserve component SOF answer directly to Forces Command. In FY 88 the Chief of Staff approved converting the 1st Special Operations Command to a major Army command that will directly control both active and reserve component SOF. A concept still in development, it will create a closer relationship between Army SOF and the U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, which maintains operational control of all Defense Department SOF based in CONUS. A provisional Theater Army Special Operations Command organized to exercise command, less operational control of Army SOF in theater, began testing in Europe during FY 88. Army SOF units had 140 special operations helicopters in FY 88-2 UH-60A Black Hawks and 45 modified ones, 34 MH-6s, 23 UH-1s, 20 AH-6s, and 16 modified CH-47 Chinooks. Army plans call for conversion of 51 Chinooks to MH-47Es and 23 Black Hawks to MH-60Ks. These sophisticated aircraft will have more powerful engines, aerial refueling capability, precision navigation systems, and worldwide communications equipment.
Other Reserve Component Actions
Besides the coverage already given in this- chapter to reserve component force structure developments during FY 88, several other items deserve mention. Prompted by recent population shifts
from the Northeast to the South and Southwest, which influence recruiting, the National Guard conducted a reorganization which affected several units. The 26th Infantry Division, with subordinate elements in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, relinquished its 1st Brigade headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, to Texas which has excess armor and infantry personnel in its 49th Armored Division. In Texas the 36th Brigade assumed the lineage of the inactive 36th Infantry Division and became the third brigade of the 50th Armored Division of New Jersey and Vermont. The Vermont 86th Brigade, previously affiliated with the 50th Armored Division, replaced the 1st Brigade as a part of the 26th Infantry Division. These changes permit the 26th and the 50th, both priority National Guard divisions, to replace existing personnel shortages and to meet readiness goals within one to two years.
Because of high operating costs and full-time personnel requirements, the Army inactivated its only Roland air defense battalion in FY 88, the 5th Battalion, 200th Air Defense Artillery, New Mexico National Guard. Mounted atop a wide variety of vehicles that include the French AMX-30 battle tank chassis and the U.S. Army 5-ton truck, the Roland serves as an air defense missile system against low-flying aircraft in all weather conditions. American manufacturers produced a modified version of the Roland, originally developed by the West Germans and the French, which became the first major European-designed system selected for production in the U.S. The Army's Roland air defense battalion cost $50 million annually to operate and required 312 active guard/reserve personnel. The 5th Battalion, now designated the 6th Battalion, 200th Air Defense Artillery, will become a Chaparral unit and join the other four New Mexico Chaparral battalions.
The reserve component has 60 percent of the Army's corps aviation force. During FY 88 the Army Reserve continued restructuring its aviation force and introducing new units. It fielded two assault helicopter battalions, each with two companies equipped with the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter. One company from each battalion serves with the active component in Europe. The Army Reserve activated an attack helicopter battalion equipped with the AH-1S Cobra, assigned to Fifth U.S. Army, and a combat aviation battalion equipped with the UH-1 Iroquois, assigned to Fourth U.S. Army. Additional aviation units activated in FY 88 included two attack helicopter group headquarters, three combat aviation group headquarters, one theater aviation brigade headquarters, one theater aviation battalion headquarters, one theater aviation company, one air ambulance detachment, and one aviation
maintenance battalion headquarters. The Army leadership expected to continue modernization and restructuring of the Army Reserve aviation force to include combat and combat support aviation groups, battalions, and companies fielded with specific missions of Roundout divisions, corps, and echelons above corps.
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Last updated 17 November 2003