Army Communicator Summer 1998

Conservative heavy division: a Signal perpective

by Bill Evans

The Army division has been redesigned to take advantage of technology for information dominance and situation awareness. Situation awareness -- knowing where you are, where other members of your team are and where the enemy is -- is a combat multiplier that allows quicker response, independent operations and a more lethal force.

The conservative heavy division retained its traditional structure with maneuver brigades, division artillery, aviation brigade and division support (see related story). There no longer is an engineer brigade or chemical company in the division. The figures below compare the new division design to the former design (Army of Excellence).

Newdiv2.JPG (2901 bytes) New conservative heavy division design.
Armyexc2.JPG (1534 bytes) Army of Excellence division.

Since many of its "customers" remain unchanged and funding is limited for new equipment, the division Signal battalion has kept its basic design but will be enhanced to support the division’s larger battlespace (120x200 kilometers) and more data requirements (figure below).

chdbn2.gif (1357 bytes) Changes in the Signal battalion under the new division design.

Some of those changes are outlined, following:

Tactical Internet. Situation awareness starts at the fighting platform. The Global Positioning System feeds an onboard computer that displays platform location and other "friendlies." This information is sent over the tactical Internet -- made up of upgraded single-channel ground and airborne radio system and enhanced position-location reporting system radios interconnected by internetwork controllers within tactical organizations (platoons, companies, battalions: up to brigades). Here the tactical Internet is interfaced with the mobile-subscriber equipment network through a tactical multinet gateway. This process allows commanders at all echelons to see where their forces are. More feeds from intelligence sources are sent to units to indicate enemy locations.
74B (information-systems operator/analyst) and 31U (Signal-support systems specialist). During a "council of colonels" with the force-design directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., FDD directed that each battalion-sized unit and higher would have three 74Bs to provide network management and security for the tactical local-area networks. At brigade level there would be, in addition to the S-6, a 53A captain (systems-automation officer) and a 251A warrant officer (data-processing technician). The number of 74Bs went from 20 in an Army of Excellence division to 120 in the new CHD. There are more 31Us to support the vast increase of communications and automation equipment required throughout CHD.
Conservative division Signal battalion. CHD’s Signal battalion has kept its traditional six-node structure. There is a headquarters company, three area companies and a support company. The total battalion strength is 616.

The most obvious differences in the headquarters company is the addition of medics and the absence of the G-6 section, including the battlefield videoteleconferencing section and automation-support teams. There is a medical-treatment team consisting of a physicians assistant, medical noncommissioned officer and two combat medics. There are six more combat medics, one per Signal node. These six medics are Reserve Component.

The medical team is an effort to keep active strength at a minimum and document multicomponent organizations. This is a trend we will see more of in future table of organization and equipment documents.

The G-6 section was beefed up to support a digitized force. There are two automation-support teams to support main and tactical centers. There is a BVTC section designed to support main and tactical centers.

The area companies were the least effected. Each provides a node center, four small extension nodes and a local and remote radio-access unit. However, one line-of-sight Version 1 unit per node was deleted to meet endstrength requirements (12 secure, mobile, antijam, reliable, tactical terminals supporting the company will offset this loss).

In the Signal-support company, there’s a Global Broadcast System tactical-insertion point section consisting of a satellite terminal and a multimedia work center to broadcast local division-wide information to subordinate units. There are 12 SMART-Ts for range extension and three frequency-modulation retrans teams, each with quad retrans capability. Due to the enlarged battlespace (120x200 kilometers), normal retrans will only be capable of extending the doctrinal division FM nets from the tactical center forward to the maneuver brigades and division artillery. There is an additional EPLRS section (total five) to cover the extended battlespace. There are three wire teams to assist the Signal battalion in performing its mission, and could provide assistance at the division main and tactical command posts.

The multichannel line-of-sight radios will have increased bandwidth enhancements and the switches will have asynchronous-transfer-mode capability.

CHD will depend heavily on digital communications capability provided by our Signal organizations and soldiers. Only through constant training and modernization of equipment can we maintain information superiority.

Mr. Evans, a retired Signal officer, works as a telecommunications specialist in the Signal Center’s combat-developments directorate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Benedictine College in Kansas and two master’s degrees – one in education and one in public administration from Georgia Southern. A graduate of Signal officer-candidate school and the Signal officer advanced course, his military experience includes division-artillery signal officer; commander, Company A, 143d Signal Battalion; battery commander in 212th Field Artillery Group; and senior instructor at the Regimental officer academy.

Acronym quick-scan
BVTC – battlefield videoteleconference(ing)
CHD – conservative heavy division
EPLRS – enhanced position-location reporting system
FDD – force-design directorate
FM – frequency modulation
SMART-T – secure, mobile, antijam, reliable, tactical terminal