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Army Transformation to Mean Less Stress on Soldiers, Families

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2005 – The Army's shift to a modular force made up of smaller, more rapidly deployable units will not only improve warfighting capabilities, but will reduce stress on soldiers and their families, the secretary of the Army said.

The new Army force model will consist of 77 brigade combat teams -- 43 active duty and 34 National Guard, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said in a recent Pentagon Channel interview. In the active-duty units, soldiers will be deployed or ready for deployment one year in every three, which means they will have two years at home station, Harvey said. In the National Guard units, soldiers will be deployed or ready for deployment one year in six, he said.

In conjunction with this new structure, the Army is launching a force-stabilization initiative, Harvey said. This initiative creates "life cycles" for each unit, which guarantee soldiers will be at one post for three years, he said. At the end of the first cycle, soldiers can decide if they want to stay for another three years.

These changes, in conjunction with existing programs, like family readiness groups and Army Community Service, will give soldiers and their families predictability and stability, Harvey said.

"For sure, the number one priority is the well-being of soldiers," he said.

The transformation to brigade combat teams is completely redesigning the operational Army by taking functions that used to be handled at the division level and putting them at the brigade level, Harvey said. This means the BCTs will be self-sufficient units that are flexible and capable across the full spectrum of military operations, he said.

The shift to BCTs began a year ago, Harvey said, and is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2007.

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Francis J. Harvey

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