Academic journal article Military Review

Restructuring the Division: An Operational and Organizational Approach

Academic journal article Military Review

Restructuring the Division: An Operational and Organizational Approach

Article excerpt

An operational and organizational concept is intended to convey ideas, thoughts

and general notions that describe what capabilities are required to conduct combat, CS and CSS battlefield operations.... Normally, a concept would be developed without parameters, and then a force designed to meet the concept. In this case, the basic force structure, the 4th ID (M) was already in place, and the final decision . . confirmed the new division would be limited to approximately 15,000 soldiers.

THE DISSOLUTION of the former Soviet Union effectively ended the Cold War and simultaneously ushered in an era of massive change within the NATO military alliance that had faced Soviet divisions across the inter-German border for more than four decades. Each NATO partner grappled with these unforeseen circumstances in its own way. The United States was faced with its own unique set of conditions. These included the integration of information-age technologies within its military forces, addressing the rising cost of cutting-edge weapon systems in the face of an absent peer competitor and determining who really posed a threat to its national security. These initiatives were undertaken within a framework featuring the US military simultaneously converting from a predominately forward-deployed force to a Continental United States (CONUS)-based, power-projection force. By examining competing post-Cold War challenges, senior US Army leaders determined that a fundamental revision of basic warfighting organizational structures was urgently needed.

In 1991, the US Army began to seriously re-evaluate global threats, refine its strategic deployment requirements and examine how new technologies could be leveraged to maximize the combat effectiveness of land combat organizations and equipment. The changing strategic vision clearly indicated that the diminished number of forward-based heavy divisions did not provide the National Command Authorities sufficient flexibility to address evolving military and political needs.

The Gulf War had also highlighted the incredible hurdles associated with moving US Army, Europe and CONUS-based heavy forces to immature theaters. For decades, the Army had relied on prepositioned equipment stocks to significantly reduce shipping requirements and movement times for heavy forces tabbed to reinforce forward-deployed divisions in Germany and Korea. Now the Army had to prepare itself to face unexpected and unfamiliar strategic challenges globally.

The Army quickly realized that it could no longer afford a warfighting campaign strategy focused exclusively on European pre-positioned equipment. Heavy divisions, the striking power of the land component commander's (LCC's) campaign forces, must now move their equipment from CONUS to other theaters where supporting infrastructure must be developed simultaneously with combat forces deployment. These new challenges quickly called into question the feasibility of existing Army of Excellence (AOE) divisions designed to fight a familiar foe amid a mature theater infrastructure.

Creating a New Division Structure

In response to the acknowledged need for change, the Army opted to conduct extensive experimentation to identify the optimal organization for future divisions. In preparation for advanced warfighting experiments (AWEs), Army leaders asked the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to consider several new division designs with the aim of creating a streamlined heavy division that embraced existing information technologies to achieve a significant increase in combat effectiveness. By combining digital information systems with newly developed direct- and indirect-fire systems, commanders could ensure their maneuver forces could identify opportunities and mass overwhelming effects against an unprepared enemy at any battlefield decisive point.

In the initial stages of developing the division design for the AWE, the Army went through a number of unconstrained design iterations to determine the most affordable, effective and lethal force. …

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