The Army is keeping quiet about official details, but Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins said the service intends to announce its formal plan for cutting the active force in the coming weeks.
Currently, the Army’s active ground force is made up of 22 infantry BCTs, 15 heavy BCTs, seven Stryker BCTs and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has been designated to transform into another Stryker BCT.
For now, the Army plans to retain all of its Stryker BCTs. Stryker units are the largest in the BCT structure, with three maneuver battalions.
It’s still unclear which of the five heavy and five infantry BCTs the Army will cut from the active force, but combat capability and strategic location inside the U.S. and abroad are some of the considerations Army planners will look at when cutting, said the official who spoke to Military.com.
Army leaders say 520,000 is the right number for the active component. Army planners would have to get very creative if the economic state of the country forces the service to cut to a number below 500,000, the senior Army official said.
“You’ve got to look at support brigades and headquarters elements,” the official said. Maybe “one HQ can take care of 10 units. We are looking at division, corps and theater assets.”
Another option is to look at cutting headquarters elements from some BCTs and attaching the maneuver battalions to other BCT formations. “If I cut five more BCT HQs and take all of the battalions and put them in other units, have I reduced the combat power?” the official asked.
A recent study by the Institute for Defense Analysis recommended that that Army move some of its heavy BCTs over to the National Guard. But this is not a popular solution inside the Pentagon, since it would take longer to bring a heavy unit in the Guard up to deployment readiness, the official said.