|New IBCTs Could Begin Fielding in '04|
New IBCTs Could Begin Fielding in '04
By Joe Burlas, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) July 12, 2001 -- Pending the outcome of environmental impact studies, the fielding of four new Interim Brigade Combat Teams could begin as early as 2004, said the Army's top civilian leader.
Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White identified the next four brigades slated to make the transformation at a Pentagon press conference July 12.
Those units are the 172nd Infantry Brigade, stationed at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska; 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Polk, La.; 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and the 56th Brigade, 28th ID of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
"We are working to determine appropriate ways to accelerate the fielding of the Interim Armored Vehicles for the first two interim brigades standing up at Fort Lewis," White said. "Our objective is to complete the fielding of the interim vehicle for the other four brigades within three years after the Fort Lewis brigades are fielded."
The first two interim brigades, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd ID and 1st Brigade, 25th ID at Fort Lewis, Wash., which began standing up in 1999, are expected to complete transformation to IBCTs in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
Transformation to the IBCT design should take about one year for an active-component brigade, and about two years for an Army National Guard brigade, White said. The price tag for each new brigade is about $1 billion.
The Army hit a roadblock after selecting GM GDLS Defense Group L.L.C.'s IAV design as the primary workhorse in the IBCT formation when United Defense Limited Partnership formally protested the decision late last year. The Government Accounting Office investigated the contract bidding process and reaffirmed the decision to go with GM GDLS Defense Group in April. The delay put the Army months behind schedule in getting IAVs to the Fort Lewis IBCTs.
In addition to being an important stepping stone to the Army's future Objective Force, the IBCTs will fill a current strategic mobility shortfall in unified commands' war plans and better balance the Army's warfighting posture between Europe and the Pacific -- a Department of Defense priority, White said. Though designed to be more capable of deploying anywhere in the world compared to current Legacy Force units, four of the IBCT brigades will be focused west and the other two, east.
"The Army is transforming in profound and comprehensive ways to meet the demands of the 21st century security environment as an integral part of the secretary of Defense's Quadrennial Defense Review, and the establishment of national security strategy that will flow from that," White said. "...Above all, this transformation is being accomplished while maintaining our non-negotiable contract with the American people to fight and win our nation's wars decisively."