Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen lauded plans announced today by the United States Army to constitute two Active Component/Army National Guard (AC/ARNG) integrated divisions.
"This new initiative helps us create a seamless Total Army for the 21st Century," said Cohen, "integrated so that it captures the core competencies of each of the Service components. It increases the Army's readiness and capability to respond in an ever-changing environment."
The plans, announced by Secretary of the Army Togo D. West, Jr., identified the Army National Guard (ARNG) enhanced separate brigades and the installations selected as headquarters for the two integrated divisions. This supports the earlier Army decision to stand up two AC/ARNG Integrated Divisions. Each division will consist of an active component division headquarters company and three ARNG enhanced separate brigades.
The announcement is a major step in implementing Secretary Cohen's recent memorandum calling for further integration between the active and reserve components in the Total Force. "In order to ensure readiness and face the threats of tomorrow and beyond," said Cohen, "our Total Force must work together. We can no longer achieve our operational goals as separate Active and Reserve components. The creation of a seamless Total Force is one of my highest priorities."
The move is consistent with a recommendation recently made by the National Defense Panel (NDP), which called on DoD to "enhance the capability of the Guard as a component of the Total Force.
"Given the changing character of warfare and the threats we face, Guard divisions should begin now to organize under the concepts proposed in 'Army After Next,'" the NDP noted in its report released December 2. "The enhanced brigades should report to an active Army command. The active commander would have clear responsibility and authority to oversee training and to ensure the brigades meet their readiness goals."
The first division headquarters company (main) will be located at Fort Riley, Kan., with a forward element at Fort Jackson, S.C. The second division headquarters company (main) will be located at Fort Carson, Colo., with a forward element at Fort Polk, La. Each division headquarters will be commanded by an active component major general, with approximately 200-plus personnel assigned. The forward element, led by a brigadier general, will consist of approximately 15 - 20 personnel.
The enhanced Separate Brigades selected as part of the first division are the 30th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of North Carolina, the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of South Carolina, and the 48th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of Georgia. Those brigades selected as part of the second division include the 45th Infantry Brigade of Oklahoma, the 39th Infantry Brigade of Arkansas, and the 76th Infantry Brigade of Indiana.
This initiative is fully supported by the Guard's Adjutants General for all 15 affected states. "The National Guard leadership is supportive and enthusiastic about this significant step that furthers the integration of the Active and National Guard combat structure," according to Maj. Gen. William A. Navas, Jr., director, Army National Guard.