This past Thursday the Army released their study titled National Commission on the Future of the Army. The study itself was mandated by Congress and spanned a year in length.
Here are the some of the larger announcements from the report:
- Strength Cuts Need to Stop: the report puts it in simple terms- we cannot afford to make our military any smaller. Furthermore the report states that if we cut forces down to any smaller than 450,000 Regular, 335,000 Guard, and 195,000 Reserve we run the risk of deploying units that aren’t capable of deploying for more than 12 months.
- A BCT in Europe is Essential: due to a “changing security environment in Europe” and the value of “[the region as] a stationing location for potential contingencies in the Middle East” the Army recommends permanently stationing an armored BCT there. Due to budget cuts in 2012 two heavy brigades had been eliminated in Europe.
- More Combat Aviation Brigades: the Army wishes to keep 11 combat aviation brigades, with one permanently stationed in South Korea. The report cites “[demand for aviation assets] may grow as threats from Russia and other nations escalate”, additionally among all peacetime Army units, aviation assets are most in demand.
- Cut two Infantry BCTs: cutting two infantry BCTs will free up manpower for other critically understaffed MOSs such as tactical mobility, missile defense, CBRN capabilities, and military police.
- More Multicomponent Units: multicomponent units consist of members of both Active duty and Reserve forces. The idea behind this is that in training together now units will be better equipped to work with each other in the future downrange.
- Recruiting Overhaul: the Army suggests a pilot program that would combine recruiting efforts for Active, Reserve, and Guard forces. The ideology behind this is that in keeping them separate, the Army must compete against itself for recruits.
- AH-64s for the Guard: out of the recommended 24 Apache battalions the Army wishes to keep, it is recommended that four remain in the Army National Guard. An earlier program, the Aviation Restructuring Initiative called for the replacement of Kiowa-Warrior birds with Apaches.
- Wheeled Vehicle Shortages: there seems to be much concern out in the force that there is a serious shortage of tactical wheeled vehicles, primarily heavy equipment movers. Based on this report a follow up assessment has been ordered and will take an estimated year to complete.
- Better Utilize the Guard and Reserve: according to the commission the Army deployed “stressed Regular Army units when it could have deployed similar Army National Guard and Army Reserve units” much too often. More specifically, it was suggested that these components be used for deployments such as Kosovo and the Sinai Peninsula. Additionally, Army Guard BCTs are expected to increase their number of JRTC and NTC rotations in 2017.