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Training Takes a Hit as Budgets Tighten

Oct. 22, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By MICHELLE TAN   |   Comments
2013 AUSA MWM 20131022
The Army likely will only be able to put one regionally aligned brigade through a decisive action rotation at a combat training center this year as it wrestles with tightening budgets and fiscal uncertainty, said Gen. Daniel Allyn. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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The Army likely will only be able to put one regionally aligned brigade through a decisive action rotation at a combat training center this year as it wrestles with tightening budgets and fiscal uncertainty, the top general of Forces Command said Tuesday.

“The vision for regional alignment would have us train every unit to decisive action capability,” Gen. Daniel Allyn said during a briefing with reporters at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. “That may not be possible in our current fiscal environment, so we’d train them to their assigned mission and not to full capability. We may have to take that approach with our regionally aligned forces in the near-term.”

Decisive action operations include offense, defense, mission command, sustainment and other core tasks, and these rotations prepare brigade combat teams for the full range of operations and contingencies.

Soldiers from 2nd BCT, 1st Infantry Division, the first BCT to be regionally aligned, underwent a decisive action rotation before they were aligned with Africa Command, Allyn said.

That training enabled the brigade to take on a contingency response force mission that came up during their alignment, Allyn said.

“A mission that surfaced was to provide a theater security force from within that formation after they had been employed as a regionally aligned force,” he said. “Because we had them fully prepared for a variety of missions, they had a battalion task force that could be put toward that task.”

Soldiers from 2nd BCT make up the bulk of the East Africa Response Force, based in Djibouti, ready to respond to contingencies in the region.

This year, plans call for 4th BCT, 1st Infantry Division to get the decisive action rotation, Allyn said. The 4th BCT is scheduled to replace 2nd BCT as the brigade regionally aligned with AFRICOM.

“That took a reprioritization from the [Chief of Staff of the Army] for us to be able to shift the money to do that,” Allyn said.

This decisive action rotation is the only one scheduled for a unit that’s not preparing to deploy or preparing for the global response force mission.

Allyn’s remarks about scaling back on combat training center rotations come one day after Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said only two of the Army’s BCTs are combat-ready.

The two BCTs do not have assigned missions, Allyn said. They are in addition to the units that are trained and ready to deploy to Afghanistan or Kuwait, or rotate into Korea.

“Only two are reporting C1 in Army readiness reporting, that means they’re ready for any potential assigned mission,” Allyn said. “Yes, we have been severely impacted by the Budget Control Act and sequestration. That direct effect has degraded readiness over time.”

The Army is working on “the budget or what we believe to be the budget we will receive this fiscal year” to grow that number to seven BCTs, Allyn said.

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