WASHINGTON — The United States Army announced today how it will allocate thousands of additional troops that are part of an end strength directed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act.
The increase allows the Army to maintain an end strength of 1.018 million soldiers. This results in a regular Army force increase to 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard to 343,000 soldiers; and the Army Reserve to 199,000 soldiers. The increase reverses the Total Army end strength reduction originally programmed for 980,000 by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.
Major force structure decisions include establishing readiness enhancement accounts in all Army components to raise manning and readiness levels in existing combat units to support combatant commanders’ operational demands and contingency operations as defined by the defense strategy; retention of units previously scheduled for inactivation; as well as the creation of new units and personnel increases in existing organizations in the United States and overseas.
“These force structure gains facilitated by the FY17 end strength increase have begun, but some will take several years to achieve full operational capability. Implementation of these decisions, without sacrificing readiness or modernization, is dependent upon receiving future appropriations commensurate with the authorized end strength,” said Brig. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, director of the Force Management Division.
The increase will begin to address and reduce the capabilities gap against near-peer, high-end adversaries; reduce modernization gaps; and improve readiness in existing units. It also allows for the retention of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the 18th Military Police Brigade Headquarters in Europe; the 206th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas; the 61st Maintenance Company, and a combat aviation brigade in Korea.
The Army will also build a small number of units such as the continuing activation of two security force assistance brigades (SFAB) along with the Military Advisor Training Academy and SFAB proponent at Fort Benning, Georgia, and an aviation training brigade in First Army at Fort Hood, Texas. The added end strength ensures the Army increases manning in its tactical units, enhancing overall readiness across all three components.
The Army is planning to station the following units overseas: a field artillery brigade headquarters with an organic brigade support battalion headquarters, a signal company and a Multiple Launch Rocket System battalion (MLRS); two MLRS battalions with two forward support companies; a short range air defense battalion; a theater movement control element; a petroleum support company; and an ammunition platoon.
The Army will further convert an infantry brigade combat team to an armor brigade combat team and increase personnel in the Training and Doctrine Command by 1,300 spaces to mitigate manpower shortfalls to increase training base and recruiting structure.
“The end strength increase will augment deploying units, and units on high readiness status, with additional soldiers to increase Army readiness and enable us to continue to protect the nation,” said Mennes.