Academic journal article Military Review

The Modular Force: Division Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

The Modular Force: Division Operations

Article excerpt

Change is not new--our Army has been changing since day one. We are an Army that is constantly learning and modernizing.--General Peter J. Schoomaker (1)

IN SEPTEMBER 2003, the U.S. Army set in motion a fundamental shift in the way it organizes and employs forces. This transformation has affected virtually every Army formation above battalion level. Perhaps never before in the Army's history has organizational change occurred as rapidly. The evolution of the fighting force includes the creation of stand-alone command and control (C2) headquarters, standing combined arms maneuver brigades, and multifunctional support brigades; in other words, a modular force.

Set in motion by an increasingly challenging strategic environment, the Army is adapting to meet the needs of our Nation and of our allies. We have a requirement to generate more versatile expeditionary combat power to meet extended worldwide commitments. Our forces will remain engaged in full-spectrum operations across the spectrum of conflict, worldwide, for the foreseeable future. Therefore, our forces must adapt to be more responsive to the Nation's needs and the needs of geographic combatant commanders, specifically.

The modern formation, an amalgam of units selected from a menu of Army forces, is truly interoperable. The modular force division (formerly the UEx) assimilates many of the Army of Excellence (AOE) division's functions and assumes many of the AOE corps' tactical responsibilities. The force orchestrates and directs the operations of subordinate brigades.

The brigade combat team (BCT) is the centerpiece of Army maneuver. Organized as heavy, infantry, or Stryker BCTs, this combined arms organization supplants the division as the Army's largest fixed maneuver formation. Five types of multifunctional support brigades, designed around Universal Joint Task List warfighting functions, not branches, complement the BCTs and provide the division with reconnaissance and surveillance, fire support, all types of aviation support, protection, and logistics. The battlefield surveillance brigade, fires brigade, combat aviation brigade, combat support brigade (maneuver enhancement), and sustainment brigade are fundamental enablers to the division. The functions of the 14 subordinate commands normally found within an AOE division are now represented in the BCT and support brigades.

Transformed Forces

The modular force division is designed to command and control Army, other service, or multinational forces fighting as part of a joint or multinational force. As a tactical Army C2 headquarters, the division's primary task is to command and control subordinate brigade-size formations to fight battles and engagements. The modular force division fills the role of Army forces headquarters for operational tasks and, with augmentation, provides the foundation for a joint task force (JTF) or joint force land component command (JFLCC) headquarters for small-scale contingency operations. (See figure 1.)


The modular force division provides a standalone headquarters that can deploy to provide command and control unconstrained by permanent, fixed formations of organic forces. The organic structure of the modular force division, unlike the AOE division's, is limited to a headquarters and requisite support elements that provide security, network communications, and life support. The division provides the foundation for creating expeditionary force packages using the Army force-generation process.

Through a nearly unlimited combination of forces, the geographic combatant commander can tailor force packages to meet his discrete needs. The division can generally accept command and control of up to six maneuver BCTs or their equivalents and a complementary mix of supporting brigades. Division formations might include subordinate units from several different geographic locations and headquarters exercising training and readiness oversight. …

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