FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Release # 98- 61
January 4, 1999
The Army today announced the final phase of the Active Component downsizing program to meet the goals of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) panel recommendations. These final active duty reductions will reduce the force to an end-strength of 480,000 soldiers. To date, the Army has taken action to reduce force structure by approximately 10,000 of the required 15,000 spaces. In this final phase, approximately 5,000 spaces will be eliminated to complete the reduction program.
A key element of this plan is that necessary force structure reductions will be achieved by accelerating planned unit reorganizations, not by eliminating units from the force. This moves the Army toward the Division XXI design with minimal risks, while improving deployability and strategic mobility.
The reduction and reorganization plan began in October 98 and continues through June 2001. There are two major parts of this reorganization plan: a limited conversion of selected heavy divisions to the recently announced Division XXI design and a standardization of field artillery units into a 3-battery, 6-firing platform configuration.
The conversion reduces the number of armor and mechanized companies in each maneuver battalion while increasing the number of dismounted infantry soldiers in the platoons. A reconnaissance troop is added to each maneuver brigade. Battalion mortar assets are reduced from six tubes to four tubes.
These limited conversions will occur in the 1st Infantry Division (ID) and 1st Armored Division (AD) (both split-based in Germany and Ft. Riley, Kan.), the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, Georgia, a brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Wash and 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. The 4th Infantry Division, scheduled to become the Army's first digitized division, began conversion to the new design at Fort Hood in October 1998. Ultimately, all heavy divisions will be fully digitized and will have capabilities comparable to the 4th ID.
The second component of the downsizing program, the Artillery reorganization program, will begin in June 1999. Twelve Corps-level Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Battalions will be converted from 3 batteries of 9 launchers (or 3 by 9) to a standard 3 by 6 design in preparation for fielding the more advanced M270A1 launcher. This conversion will enable the Army to improve firepower at the division level by reorganizing divisional MLRS from 1 battery of 9 launchers to a battalion of 18 launchers. Sufficient launchers will be made available from this effort to modernize 11 existing Army National Guard cannon battalions with the MLRS system, significantly increasing firepower capability.
The Army approached the challenge of accomplishing significant QDR reductions in a systematic manner, focusing on accelerating planned unit reorganizations where possible to achieve the desired end state with the least disruption to the Army as a whole. In accomplishing these goals, the Army continues to support the National Military Strategy to fight and win in two nearly simultaneous Major Theaters of War.
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