Brigade combat team

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Over 4,000 members of the 1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division in a special formation for a farewell ceremony.

The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branch maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. A brigade combat team is generally commanded by a colonel (O-6), but in rare instances it is commanded by a brigadier general. A brigade combat team carries with its support units necessary to sustain its operations away from its parent division. BCTs contain organic artillery support, formerly received from the division artillery (DIVARTY).

Currently, the U.S. Army is structured around the brigade combat team[1] In this program, divisions that previously had not deployed individual brigades due to lack of integral support have now been restructured. The 1st Armored Division, 25th Infantry Division, etc. now have the ability to deploy one or more BCTs anywhere in the world. These BCTs are intended be able to stand on their own, like a division in miniature. The soldiers assigned to a BCT will stay at their assignment for three years; this is intended to bolster readiness and improve unit cohesion.

Infantry brigade combat team[edit]

Infantry brigade combat team table of organization

The infantry brigade combat team, as of 2014, contains 4,413 soldiers and is organized around three battalions of infantry. Each type of brigade (light infantry, air assault, or airborne) has the same basic organization. Each infantry brigade is capable of air assault operations, whether or not it is officially designated as an air assault brigade. Also, most units typically maneuver in HMMWVs when deployed and operate as "motorized infantry" to facilitate speed of movement.

The infantry brigade combat team consists of seven battalions: one cavalry (RSTA), one brigade support, one engineer, three infantry and one field artillery.[1]

Infantry battalion (× 3)[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Rifle company (× 3)
  • Weapons company

Reconnaissance squadron[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters troop
  • Mounted reconnaissance troop (× 2)
  • Dismounted reconnaissance troop

Field artillery[edit]

Brigade Special Troops Battalion[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Military intelligence company
  • Signal network Support company
  • Combat engineer company (× 2)

Brigade support battalion[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Distribution Company
  • Field Maintenance Company
  • Medical Company
    • Headquarters Platoon
    • Treatment Platoon
    • Medical Evacuation Platoon
  • Forward Support Company (Reconnaissance)
  • Forward Support Company (Engineer)
  • Forward Support Company (Infantry) (× 3)
  • Forward Support Company (Field Artillery)

Stryker brigade combat team[edit]

Stryker brigade combat team table of organization

The Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) is a mechanized infantry force structured around the Stryker eight-wheeled variant of the General Dynamics LAV III, chosen as "interim armored vehicle" for the US Army. A full Stryker brigade was intended to be C-130 Hercules air transportable into theatre within 96 hours, while a division-sized force is expected to need 120 hours. The Stryker brigade is an organic combined arms unit of light armored vehicles, and is organized differently from the infantry or armored brigade combat teams. The Stryker brigades are being used to implement network-centric warfare doctrines, and are intended to fill a gap between the United States' highly mobile light infantry and its much heavier armored infantry. The BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program is the planned successor of the interim armored vehicle. The team also receives training in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN defense).[2]

Each Stryker brigade combat team consists of three infantry battalions, one reconnaissance (cavalry) squadron, one fires (artillery) battalion, one brigade support battalion, one brigade headquarters and headquarters company and one brigade engineer battalion. A Stryker brigade is made up of more than 300 Stryker vehicles and 4,500 soldiers.[3]

Infantry battalion (x3)[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Infantry company (Stryker) (× 3)

Reconnaissance squadron[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters troop
  • Mounted reconnaissance troop (Stryker) (× 3)
  • Surveillance troop

Field artillery[edit]

Mobile Gun System
  • Headquarters and headquarters battery
  • M777A2 howitzer 155mm battery (3 batteries x 6 guns)
  • Target acquisition team
  • WLRS team
  • Meteorological team
  • Survey section team
  • Counterfire operations section

Brigade support battalion[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Distribution company
  • Field maintenance company
  • Medical company
  • Forward support company (reconnaissance)
  • Forward support company (engineer)
  • Forward support company (infantry) (× 3)
  • Forward support company (field artillery)

Brigade engineer battalion[edit]

  • Brigade headquarters and headquarters company
  • Military intelligence company
  • Signal company
  • Engineer company (x 2)
  • Anti-tank company

Stryker vehicles[edit]

Armored brigade combat team[edit]

Armored brigade combat team table of organization

The armored brigade combat team is the army's primary armored force. It was designed around combined arms battalions that contain both M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Other vehicles, such as HMMWVs and variants of the M113 armored personnel carrier, operate in a supporting role. In the future, it will also contain vehicles from the BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program.

An armored brigade combat team consists of seven battalions: three combined arms, one cavalry (RSTA), one artillery, one engineer and one brigade support battalion. As of 2014, the armored brigade combat team is the largest brigade combat team formation with 4,743 soldiers. Prior to 2012, the armored brigade combat team was named the heavy brigade combat team.[1]

An ABCT includes 90 Abrams tanks, 90 Bradley IFVs, and 112 M113 vehicles. The operational cost per mile with these combat systems is $66,735 per mile. The range of the Abrams limits the brigade to 205 miles, requiring fuel every 12 hours. The brigade can self-transport 195,000 gallons of fuel, which is transported by 15 5,000-gallon M969A1 tankers and 48 2,500-gallon M978 tankers.[4]

Combined arms battalion (× 3)[edit]

Armored reconnaissance squadron[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters troop
  • Reconnaissance troop (× 3)

Field artillery[edit]

Brigade engineer battalion[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Military intelligence company
  • Signal network support company
  • Combat engineer company (× 2)

Brigade support battalion[edit]

  • Headquarters and headquarters company
  • Distribution company
  • Field Maintenance company
  • Medical company
    • Headquarters platoon
    • Treatment platoon
    • Medical evacuation platoon
  • Forward support company (Reconnaissance)
  • Forward support company (Combined Arms) (× 3)
  • Forward support company (Field Artillery)
  • Forward support company (Combat Engineer)

Modernization[edit]

The U.S. Army plans to implement elements of the BCT Modernization program in 2010. This program utilizes elements from the Future Combat Systems Program that was canceled in early 2009.

The program comes in two segments. The first to be implemented would be the Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team Capability Package (Early IBCT Package), which would modernize infantry brigade combat teams. The second to be implemented would be the Follow-on Incremental Capability package, which could modernize all brigades.

Downsizing[edit]

After the current round of de-activations and downsizing, the below numbers represent the number of BCTs that will be left in the US Army's Active Component. (Numbers after the re-organization in brackets)

Combat brigades: 45(33)[5][6]

  • 17 (11) armored brigade combat teams
  • 8 (8) Stryker brigade combat teams
  • 10 (6) infantry brigade combat teams (light)
  • 6 (5) infantry brigade combat teams (airborne)
  • 4 (3) infantry brigade combat teams (air assault)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "MCOE Supplemental Manual 3-90". U.S. Army. September 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Limardo, Jessica (February 12, 2014). "Army unit trains to handle CBRNE threats". BioPrepWatch. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ashton, Adam (February 17, 2014). "Stryker crews find ways to defeat armored enemy". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ Abrams Dieselization Project: Doing the Math - Defensemedianetwork.com, 7 November 2013
  5. ^ http://www.army.mil/article/106373/Brigade_combat_teams_cut_at_10_posts_will_help_other_BCTs_grow/
  6. ^ http://www.carson.army.mil/units/4id/units/1bct/index.html

References[edit]