New Division Design Centralizes CSS
The Army unveils a new heavy division that incorporates Information Age technologies. For logisticians, the new design means a centralized support structure and an anticipatory, distribution-based support system.
The Army of the future took a major step toward reality on 9 June with the announcement of the new design for the heavy division. As General Dennis J. Reimer, the Chief of Staff of the Army, observed of the new design
Today is an important day in the Army's history. The division design is one of our key milestones as we prepare for the 21st century. We have developed a division that is strategically deployable, agile, flexible, and the type of decisive, full-spectrum force we need in the 21st century. The new division design takes full advantage of Information Age technologies and new modular distribution systems. It is also an important step toward fully integrating active and reserve component forces.
The new division will be smaller and somewhat lighter than the current division, but more lethal and more rapidly deployable. It will be capable of fighting across the larger, noncontiguous, nonlinear battlefield environment of the future foreseen by Army planners. And its logistics support will be based on two significant innovations: a centralized combat service support (CSS) structure and a distribution-based, anticipatory logistics support concept.
According to General William W. Hartzog, the commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and the senior architect of the division redesign, "By far the most significant change is the command and control apparatus . . . This is a near paperless operation in that most of the information passes back and forth at the speed of computers." When combined with new weapons systems, this digitized communications capabilitywhich will greatly increase situational awareness on the battlefieldwill create a more lethal and responsive combat force.
Selecting a New Division Design
The division redesign is the result of a study begun in 1994 under Force XXI to find a successor to the Army of Excellence (AOE) division. The AOE division, designed and fielded from 1984 to 1986, was configured primarily to fight Warsaw Pact forces in Europe. The AOE heavy division has 18,069 soldiers (at any given time, on-the-ground strength of actual divisions can vary) and is a heavily armored force. However, with the end of the Cold War and post-Cold War reductions in military spending, the Army decided that a new division was needed to meet the changed geopolitical and fiscal realities.
Army force developers originally considered 11 possible designs for the new heavy division. After much analysis, the 11 alternatives were reduced to 3: a strike force division, which incorporated a large force of helicopters; a "brigadist" division, which was a loosely bound organization of several brigades; and a "conservative heavy" division. Following testing, including the Task Force Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) in March 1997 and the Division AWE in November 1997, the Army selected the conservative heavy division design. Analysis found that the strike force design had the greatest lethality and the second highest rate of survivability, but the highest cost. The brigadist organization was the least lethal and survivable of the three options; the Army found that the brigades fought well separately against small threats but did not coalesce well against a major opponent. The conservative heavy division was not quite as lethal as the strike force, but it ranked first in survivability and was the easiest to sustain.
The new heavy division will have a strength of 15,719 soldiers, down 2,350 (or 13 percent) from the AOE division. Of this strength, 15,302 will be active-duty soldiers and 417 will be reserve component (RC) soldiers integrated into the division when it deploys. The division will have organic RC positions and organizations. The RC soldiers will perform various command and control and staff augmentation, signal, aviation support, maintenance, and medical missions.
The basic structure of the new heavy division will look like that of the AOE division: three maneuver brigades (one armored and two mechanized infantry), division artillery, aviation brigade, division support command (DISCOM), and several separate battalions. However, there will be significant changes within those organizations.
Each of the nine maneuver battalions (three in each brigade) will have three instead of four companies. Each armored battalion will have 45 of the Army's latest tank model, the M1A2 Abrams, and each mechanized infantry battalion will have 45 new M2A3 Bradley fighting vehicles. (Each battalion now has 58 tanks or fighting vehicles.) Each maneuver brigade will have its own scout capability in the form of a brigade reconnaissance troop.
Innovative Combat Service Support
Changes in CSS are needed to support the larger, faster, nonlinear battlefield on which the new heavy division will operate. As explained by Colonel John D. Kennedy of the CSS Battle Lab at Fort Lee, Virginia
To achieve [the necessary] agility and mobility, we had to get rid of all of those stocks that we carry around with us on the battlefield. We had to change our logistics concepts so that we could keep up with maneuver commanders and allow them to maintain their momentum.
To achieve this capability, support will change from a reactive, supply-based system, in which large quantities of materiel are stockpiled to meet the incoming demands of maneuver commanders, to an anticipatory, distribution-based system, in which logisticians use their information capabilities to anticipate demands and get supplies where needed, when needed.
In the new division, CSS will be centralized: CSS assets previously in maneuver units will be reorganized and assigned to the DISCOM, and control of CSS will move from the commanders of the maneuver battalions to the CSS chain of command. Each maneuver brigade will receive support from a forward support battalion, and each maneuver battalion will be supported by a forward support company. According to Kennedy
Because of situational awareness, the forward support battalion commander is much more able to anticipate the requirements of the supported maneuver commander and begin pulling CSS capabilities through the logistics pipeline. Even before the brigade commander realizes he needs it, the logistician should have already anticipated that requirement. The same thing is repeated down at the maneuver battalion level with the relationship between the forward support company commander and the maneuver battalion commander.
The CSS capabilities required for the new heavy division will be attained by such innovations as
· The CSS Control System.
· The Mobility Tracking System.
· The Forward Repair System_Heavy (FRS-H) vehicle, which will function as a front-line maintenance workstation capable of lifting tank engines. Fielding of the FRS-H will free the M88 recovery vehicle to concentrate on its recovery mission.
· "Multicapable" mechanics, who can perform both organizational and direct-support repairs. These mechanics will be trained to replace equipment components forward and fix vehicles in the rear.
Making the New Design a Reality
The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas, which has been serving as the Force XXI Experimental Force, will be the first division to convert to the new heavy division design. It will have the majority of its new capabilities in place in 2000. The Army plans to convert the 1st Cavalry Division, also at Fort Hood, to the new design in 2003, and make III Corps into the Army's first digitized corps in 2004.
The Army also is working to modernize its light forces. The XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the Army Infantry Center and School at Fort Benning, Georgia, are leading the effort to develop a new light division design. The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), at Fort Drum, New York, will conduct most of the light division experimentation. A fast, lethal strike force of no more than 5,000 soldiers that can be deployed in 5 days or less also is under development. The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana, will conduct strike force experimentation.
As General Hartzog noted, "The Army is moving itself into the Information Age." The goal is to use Information Age capabilities to make a quantum leap forward in the Army's survivability, lethality, operational tempo, sustainability, deployability, versatility, and ability to participate in joint and combined operations. The new heavy division design is a major milestone on the road to Army XXI. ALOG
Army Logistician thanks Jim Caldwell of the Army Training and Doctrine Command Public Affairs Office at Fort Monroe, Virginia, for his assistance in writing this article.