Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
Makes zero sense to me. I would have thought that there were always times when two battalions in a brigade were enough and always times when four were needed. Didn't three prove to be a good number to task organize up or down from for a lot of years?

I'd be curious to know how often it's been necessary to deploy one of these new brigades with another battalion opconned to them.
This was much discussed in 2004-2005, when the change initially happened. I wasn't on SWJ yet, but, at least in my mind, the change was less signficant than some. The BCT dropped an IN BN, but added a Recon SQDN. Overall, the ABN/AASLT Divisions lost 3 rifle companies and 1 AT CO, however, it gained 7 x mounted recon troops and 3 dismounted recon troops (I counted the ground cav troop in the DIV CAV the same as the mounted cav troops in the Recon SQDN, and the LRSD as a dismounted recon troop, even though the orgs and missions are not exactly the same). The light divisions didn't lose the AT COs (since they didn't have them), they actually GAINED 4 AT COs, 7 mounted troops and 3 dismounted troops for the loss of 3 rifle companies.

Since there were multiple changes happening nearly simultaneously (the modularity plus the grow the army, which modified, and is still ongoing, plus conversion of some units to SBCTs, plus conversions in the ARNG from heavy to light), it is hard to track which changes were which, but I'll try to keep the growth out, and only track SBCT and modular conversions in the active army.

Pre 1999 (IOW, pre-Stryker), the Active Army had 33 BDEs.
13 "light" BDEs (3 x 82nd ABN, 3 x 101st ABN, 3 x 25th ID, 2 x 10th MD, 1 x 172d SIB, 1 x 173 ABN BDE) provided 114 rifle companies (note, 173d had only 2 BNs) and 113 AT platoons (the ABN/AASLT Bns had an AT CO with 5 PLTs, the "light" Bns had a single PLT. Exception was the ABN BN i 172d SIB, with a single PLT, and 173d had only a single company for its 2 BNs). Additionally, the divisions/BDEs provided 4 HMMWV cav troops (82nd, 25th, 10th and 172d) and 5 x LRSD (82nd, 101st, 10th, 25th, 173d).
18 "heavy" (3 x 1st CAV, 3 x 1st AD, 3 x 1st ID, 2 x 2d ID, 3 x 3d ID, 3 x 4th ID, 1 x 3 ACR) provided 159 M1/M2 maneuver companies (Korea retained 4 x companies per BN, but stateside-even 2ID- had converted to 3 companies per BN). Additionally, BDEs/DIVs provided 27 armored cavalry troops (from 6 DIV CAV SQDNS + the ACR) and 15 (or 16) HMMWV cav troops (organized slightly differently from the light division HMMWV cav troops) from 15 (or 16) BRTs (Korea didn't have BRTs, but I don't know about the 2 ID BDE at FT Lewis). I know that M1 Cos and M2 companies aren't exactly the same, it simplifies counting. I also counted the tank Cos in the 3 ACR in the maneuver companies, but the armored CAV troops with the DIV CAV armored CAV troops. The heavy DIV LRSDs were all gone except 2ID).
The remaining 2 BDEs were special organizations- 2 LCR and 2 BDE/2d ID. 2LCR provided 9 HMMWV cav troops, and 2/2 provided 6 rifle companies, 2 weapons companies (10 platoons) and 4 M2 companies.
So, total for the army was 120 rifle companies, 123 weapons platoons, 163 M1/M2 maneuver companies, 27 armored cavalry troops, 29 HMMWV CAV troops and 6 LRSD.

Fast forward to completion of SBCT conversions and modular conversions, leaving out the grow the Army initiative, with 43 modular BCTs.
18 IBCTs (4 x 82nd, 4 x 101st, 4 x 10th MTN, 2 x 1ID, 1 x 4 ID, 2 x 25th ID, 1 x 173d) provide 108 rifle companies, 36 HMMWV CAV troops, 18 dismounted recon troops and 144 IN weapons platoons.
18 HBCTs (4 x 1st CAV, 4 x 1st AD, 2 x 1st ID, 1 x 2ID, 4 x 3d ID, 3 x 4th ID) provide 144 M1/M2 maneuver companies and 54 Armored Recon Troops.
1 x ACR provides 3 M1/M2 maneuver company and 9 Armored Cav Troops.
6 SBCTs provide 54 SBCT rifle COs (includes 54 MGS platoons), 6 AT companies (18 platoons), and 18 Stryker Recon Troops.
So, the total for the army is 108 rifle companies (plus 54 SBCT rifle companies), 144 IN weapons platoons (plus another 54 MGS platoons and 18 Stryker AT platoons), 147 M1/M2 maneuver companies, 9 Armored Cav troops,36 HMMWV CAV troops (plus 54 Armored Recon Troops and 18 Stryker Recon Troops) and 18 dismounted Recon Troops.

By comparison (trying to keep capabilities about equal):
120 rifle companies in 2003, lost 12 to create 54 Stryker rifle companies- I think everyone will agree that is an increase in capability.
163 M1/M2 maneuver companies plus 27 Armored Cav troops, lost 16 companies and 18 troops, to gain 54 Armored Recon Troops and 18 Stryker Recon Troops- definitely arguable for overall capability, but probably more appropriate capability for the current fight (more and lighter recon).
29 HMMWV CAV troops grew to 36 HMMWV CAV troops.
123 IN weapons platoons grew to 144 IN weapons platoons (plus 54 MGS platoons and 18 Stryker AT platoons),definitely an increase in capability.
6 LRSD grew to 18 dismounted recon troops. This is the most drastic change in organization/mission, but I think we can agree that this is an increase in capability for BCTs, while arguing the loss to the division.

As far as your question about task organizing a third maneuver BN, I can't speak to specifics of task organization in theater, except to say that there have been huge task org changes in theater, even attaching battalions across division lines (one of my buddies BNs was attached to a BCT in a different division). The ONLY deployment task organization I know of was my BCT giving up a BN to another BCT when they deployed from the GRF as the first "surge" BCT in 2007. They needed a BN because they had lost a BN to another mission, so it is NOT a case of adding to the modular structure, but instead of maintaining that organzation. I guess you could argue that a three BN BCT could have given up the BN and not needed another, but creating the required third TF from their Recon SQDN, but I don't think it really answers to scenario you asked for (a BCT that needed an additional maneuver BN).