The US Army is solidifying plans to reorganise the combat command structure that has been in place since the Second World War. The service is creating three new echelons to replace the existing four: the brigade, division, corps and army.
The new echelons will be:
# the ‘unit of action’ or UA, which is roughly analogous to the current brigade but which has more support structure inside it to allow it to deploy independent of a division;
# the ‘unit of employment X’ or UEX, which will only be a headquarters staff along with operational support structure such as base security, liaison officers and network support; and
# the ‘unit of employment Y’ or UEY, which will be a regionally based theatre-level support headquarters.
The terms for the new echelons are only temporary and army officials are treading lightly on what could be a controversial topic given the history and tradition associated with the army’s current divisions and brigades. “There’s an exciting discussion under way on that,” Major General Robert Mixon, the head of the task force examining army reorganisation, told JDW. A decision will likely be made in the second quarter of 2005, said Gen Mixon.
The 3rd Infantry Division has already been partially reorganised, especially at the brigade/UA level. There is also a hybrid of the UE level along with the normal division structure, said Gen Mixon. For example, a signals battalion is performing the job that a network support company should do, the liaison office is not set up and the security company and main command post are not as large as they will eventually be. Still, “the structure is maturing very rapidly”, Gen Mixon said.
Central to the reorganisation effort is the frustration that comes from the time-consuming process of forming joint task forces when the US wants to take military action. The new structure will more closely resemble the way the army actually organises forces for combat, army officials say.
ANOTHER ARTICLE IN THE FORM OF A LETTER FROM A REGIMENTAL COMMANDER
In 29 years of service, I’ve not seen the Army change as much and as quickly as it is changing today. My intent in this Army Communicator is to begin to describe some of these changes and their impact on our Regiment. First, the Army is streamlining its command echelons by removing an echelon, trimming down from BDE-DIV-CORPS-ASCC * (such as USAREUR or USARPAC) to Unit of Action(UA)–Unit of Employment(x)–Unit of Employment(y), referred to as UA, UEx and UEy. Second, the fundamental combat formation is shifting from a division to a brigade. Finally, Signal support to combat formations is adjusting to the shift from division-centric to brigade-centric, with organic Signal formations at brigade (or UA) level.
UA-UEx-UEy: Army Transformation thus far has focused mostly on the maneuver Unit of Action. The UA is roughly equivalent to today’s combat brigade, beefed up with slice elements from the division. At the same time, the Army is developing the UEx, roughly equivalent to today’s division, but with no “assigned” UAs, or brigades. The UEx consists of a headquarters plus five support UAs (Fires, RSTA, Sustainment, Maneuver Enhancement and Aviation). The UEy is the top echelon and fills a role somewhere between a traditional corps and an Army Service Component Command.
Brigade (UA)-Centric: The basic fighting force of the past has been the division. A division has had organic maneuver brigades with support organizations that typically “chop” to the brigade, such as the Small Extension Node team from the Signal Battalion. There are 33 combat brigades across the force today. The Army’s transformation goal is to increase from 33 maneuver brigades to 48 maneuver UAs. Each UA will be structured to fight in a joint environment, sometimes under a UEx HQ, but often not, and with much less task organization.
For example, previously “chopped” forces will be organic to the UA. The goal is 48 (almost) identical UAs, with no UA directly assigned to a specific UEx, that can fight as part of any of the ten UEx headquarters, and/or alongside any combination of other UAs. Task Force Modularity, one of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s fifteen original focus area task forces, and TRADOC are the driving force behind these changes.
Signal Regiment in Support: CSA has put the entire Army on notice that The Network is the “greatest among equals” of all of the future fighting systems. The Network will be the key enabling capability of our Army. Because The Network will be pushed all the way to maneuver battalion level and be the direct responsibility of maneuver commanders, the division Signal battalion will no longer exist. Instead, each maneuver UA will have an organic Signal company (about 68 Soldiers). Each support UA will also have an organic Signal company of varied size, but about 60-65 Soldiers. The assets of today’s division Signal battalions and some of the assets of today’s corps Signal brigades will be used to resource these essential organic Signal companies. In addition, each UA will have a brigade S6 major who will serve as the senior signaleer in the UA. Each UA will “own” its Signal company, with assets to conduct combat operations with its battalions, link to other UAs, and provide initial connectivity to a JTF when required. As elements of the UEx arrive, a large Signal company organic to the UEx, commanded by a major, will bring more robust assets for command and control. The top Signal officer in the UEx is the G6, a lieutenant colonel. The G6 will be responsible to provide the network internal to the UEx and to lateral headquarters. The G6 will have authorities that allow him or her to execute collective training and ensure a UEx “enterprise” can be achieved on the battlefield.
This is a clear and major change to how we’ve done business. Under this structure, although there will be more Signal Soldiers in a UEx than in one of today’s divisions, those Soldiers will no longer be in the familiar division Signal battalion. Responsibility for the Network will extend to every maneuver and supporting UA commander, with responsibility for pulling it together at the UEx G6.
The importance of the Regiment’s Functional Area officers is reflected in their increased numbers, too. The rapid pace of change has made it clear that the way we bring on our Functional Area officers Army wide has to change. We need to produce FA officers earlier, and we’ll have to figure out how to do that. Total numbers of warrant officers, 74Bs and 31Us will also increase. New equipment and technology fielded to the force in the future may actually reduce total Signal presence in the UEx and UAs, but the dynamics of organic versus “chopped” will remain.
What emerges from these changes are an increased imbedded presence of Signal Soldiers across the force, vastly increased command opportunities at the captain level, and vastly increased major branch qualification positions in the UAs and the UEx. The Signal Regiment will retain healthy battalion command opportunity in the UEy in both theater tactical and strategic Signal battalions. The result of all of these changes will be increased readiness of our combat formations, increased emphasis and absolute reliance on the Network, greater ability to deliver network operations for our Army, and a streamlined, more efficient fighting force.
In the schoolhouse, we’re right now looking at how the training base will need to transform in order to deliver the right training, integrate new equipment coming to the force (such as 3ID is being fielded) right now, cover down on joint imperatives in officer and non-commissioned officer training, and fully train NETOPS (information assurance, information dissemination management and network management). Both the Officer Education System and NCOES are being revised to better reflect what our Soldiers in the field need to know. NCOs scheduled for an NCOES class will be afforded that opportunity but under the “Train, Select, Promote” methodology, instead of the old “Select, Train and Promote.” You’ll hear much more from the command sergeant major on this subject.
You have read in previous editions what your Regiment is doing in Lifelong Learning (uit.gordon.army.mil). Signaleers at all grades will require more training more often during their career. We are building an essential enabling capability for our Soldiers to reach back to training from anywhere. The infusion of new technologies and structure into our combat formations and organizations and the ability to provide training virtually are also causing us to re-look our total MOS structure.
As the CSA makes decisions that clarify our path to the future, be attentive to Army messages that inform the force of those decisions and what they mean to the Army. We will try to interpret them in terms of impact on the Signal Regiment, and will stay in touch with you. We want to know what you think and we want to hear your ideas. As I’ve asked many, many times, “What does the Regiment think?” Now, more than any other time since I’ve become your Chief of Signal, that question is essential. I am convinced of the need for the changes we’re seeing in order to support the war on terrorism while, at the same time, provide the best possible environment for our Soldiers and their families. We will go through some turbulent times in the near term, but will come out a better Army in the future. Your Signal Regiment will remain a vital part of that team.
* ASCC–Army Service Component Command
C2–command and control
CSA–Chief of Staff of the Army
CSM–Command Sergeant Major
NCOES–Non-Commissioned Officer Education System
MOS–Military Occupational Specialty
OES–Officer Education System
SEN–Small Extension Node
UA–Unit of Action
UA–Uex-Unit of Action-Unit of Employment(x)
UA–UEy-Unit of Action-Unit of Employment(y)
COPYRIGHT 2004 U.S. Army Signal Center