The US Army has made few changes since the end of the Cold War. It remains organized and equipped to repel a massive Soviet armor thrust into Germany. Six of its ten combat divisions remain heavy Armored-Mechanized units with hundreds of tanks each. The only minor change was to convert several light infantry brigades into heavier motorized brigades mounted on expensive light armored vehicles. After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, President Bush declared a war on terrorism. As Generals readied for this low intensity conflict, they still made no changes to the Army's force structure. After years of peacekeeping duty in the Balkans, it was apparent the Army would need more infantry units for the occupation of Iraq. It has been over a year since President Bush told Army Generals they would invade Iraq, yet nothing has been done to organize more infantry units.
As units which invaded Iraq come home, the Army plans to mobilize three National Guard combat brigades to take their place. Most Guardsmen are not happy about this idea, especially since most regular soldiers have never served in Iraq. One National Guard sergeant expressed his view of the situation: "If we wanted to go to Iraq, we would have joined the regular army." Many Guardsmen are upset that they are pulled away from careers and families for dangerous duty in Iraq while thousands of full-time regular soldiers stay home and continue a "Cold War" routine.
Each of the US Army's ten regular divisions have ~15,000 soldiers, which total 150,000. Since the regular army consists of 485,000 full-time soldiers, where are the other 335,000 soldiers? Why are 130,000 Army National Guard and Army Reserve support troops still mobilized six months after President Bush declared an end to major combat action in Iraq? Why must Army National Guard infantry brigades now mobilize? Certainly the regular Army can mobilize by reassigning 30,000 of its Cold War support soldiers to form two additional infantry divisions for duty in Iraq.
The US Army has the resources to quickly form two additional infantry divisions. A G2mil article earlier this year, Cut Surplus Army Units, identified some 10,000 unneeded Army positions. That article proposes eliminating two of the US Army's six active duty Corps artillery brigades, each Division also has a brigade of artillery called "division artillery." However, given the need for more infantry units and upon further input by Army officers, it's best to eliminate all six Corps artillery brigades, which serve as a reserve of heavy firepower. American airpower is better suited to attack large area targets since it is far more mobile and less labor intensive than lumbering artillery brigades tied to an extensive ground-bound logistical train. Modern artillery systems fire at a much higher rate, so today's "division artillery" is far more lethal, and Corps headquarters can shift artillery assets among divisions if the need arises.
In addition, the Army National Guard has 16 artillery brigades which can be assigned for Corps support if a war with a major power erupts. I Corps has no active duty artillery brigades assigned; "I Corps Artillery" is found in Utah National Guard, an arrangement that all Corps commands can use. However, two additional divisions will require two brigades for "division artillery", so just four brigades of artillery will be cut. This manpower, along with that listed in the G2mil article, plus two thousand soldiers pulled from ROTC desk jobs can fill out a new infantry division. Cold Warriors will express alarm about eliminating four artillery brigades, however, reducing the Army from 16 to 12 active duty artillery brigades/regiments is minor. The 16 National Guard brigades remain available for wartime support, and since Corps artillery brigades are last to deploy, they will have months to prepare.
Four artillery brigades based at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, known as "III Corps Artillery", can become the nucleus for a reactivated 5th Infantry Division. One artillery brigade can become the 5th ID's "division artillery" while the other three transform into infantry brigades. III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas can be tasked with the complex job of equipping the 5th ID, so perhaps some elements will form up at Fort Hood. Most artillerymen can be assigned as infantrymen as III Corps shifts some of its assets and personnel to the 5th ID until manpower and equipment from throughout the Army can adjust to this transformation. Keep in mind that the 5th ID need not prepare to engage a modern, professional army on the battlefield during its one year in Iraq; it will be employed in peacekeeping tasks.
Germany is an ideal spot to reactivate the 8th Infantry Division since division sets of pre-positioned equipment and war stocks remain in storage there. The 1st Armored Division left Germany for Iraq and will move to bases in the USA after its one year tour, so facilities to house a new division exist. The only combat maneuver units left in Germany are two brigades from the 1st Infantry Division, yet the Cold war support structure for several combat divisions remain. The Army plans to downsize its massive base structure in Germany, yet still has over 40,000 base and 7th Army support soldiers there. The 7th Army Training Command alone has 15,000 active duty soldiers, with few units to train. 7th Army should be directed to stand up the 8th ID immediately and ready it for deployment to Iraq. V Corps' artillery brigade can become the 8th ID "division artillery" while one-third of Army support soldiers in Germany form the rest of this division.
Forming up the 5th ID and 8th ID will require some arm twisting by civilian leaders. The Army has proven resistant to change, and Army Generals hoping to expand the Army have already lined up support in Congress for more soldiers. However, recruiting and training 30,000 additional soldiers will take over two years, and the Iraq problem should be over by then. In addition, a total of 80,000 more soldiers are required to allow 50,000 for recruiting, training, administration, and support for 30,000 additional soldiers for two new divisions. Moreover, the Army must plan for smaller budgets in the coming years as soaring federal budget deficits threaten the nation. This is yet another reason to demobilize reserve units to save billions of dollars and mobilize 30,000 serving regular soldiers for two new infantry divisions.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
G2mil editorials may be freely distributed without permission
November 2003 Articles
have been returned to the Members Library
Letters - comments from G2mil readers
Roster of all mobilized Reserve units (pdf) - 169,279 reservists on active duty
Fire Rockets from TOW tubes - dumb rockets can boost firepower
OV-6B Rangers - observation aircraft are needed today
Federalize Military Prisons - transfer inmates to Federal institutions
Is Missile Defense on Target? - an expert says no
Barrett 6.8mm M-16 - to replace the 5.56mm?
CBO US Defense Plans (pdf) - costs will grow 20% annually
Invasion of the Transformers - transformation is nothing new
Insanity at the Pentagon - unknown foreigners welcome to enlist
The Unbuilding of Iraq - fools at work
Inside the Boeing Deal Scandal - the KC-767 "lease"
Every Time the Wind Blows - with the 3rd ACR in Iraq
How we trained al-Qa’eda - US tax dollars at work
Israel Deploys Nuclear Arms in Submarines - disputed by Israel and the USA
At Least 100 Bases Said to Be in Line for Closure - out of 425 major domestic bases
Too Much TV - makes most American ignorant
Previous G2mil - October 2003 issue
Past Editorials - by Carlton Meyer
Library Tour - visit G2mil's library
Library Entrance - members only
All material in G2mil Copyright 2003 G2mil, patents pending on some items. Links to www.G2mil.com are encouraged.