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Briefing on the Force Rotation Plan

Presenter: Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton Schwartz
November 06, 2003 12:30 PM EDT

(Participating were Air Force Norton A. Schwartz, director of operations, J-3, Joint Staff; Army Lt. Gen. Richard A. Cody, deputy chief of staff, G-3, U.S. Army; and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jan C. Huly, deputy commandant for plans, policy and operations, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps.  Slides shown during this briefing can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2003/g031106-D-6570C.html.)

 

     Schwartz:  How about we talk a little bit about rotation plan first?  This'll be my first opportunity to sort of manage questioning from the crowd.  So if I'm an amateur at this, please forgive me.

 

     Let me first introduce the participants in this effort.  To my right and your left is Lieutenant General Dick Cody.  He's the Deputy Chief of Staff Operations for the United States Army.  To my left is Lieutenant General Jan Huly, who is Dick's counterpart in the United States Marine Corps.  Down below is Lieutenant General Steve Blum, who is the director of the National Guard Bureau.  And to his left is Brigadier General Gary Proffit, who is the deputy in the Army Reserve organization.  So you have that -- folks here that can answer virtually any number of questions.

 

     I have some brief remarks.  Both Dick and Jan will follow up with some brief remarks.  And then we'll be happy to take any questions that you might have.

 

     Q:  Will there be a handout on the units actually being activated, General?

 

     Schwartz:  There will, and that'll be posted, I'm told, on the Web for all to have access to.

 

     [NOTE:   Each service will post the list of activated units on its service Web site.]

 

     Q:  When, do you know?

 

     Schwartz:  I don't know precisely, but very soon.

 

     Back in July General Keane and Major General Stan McChrystal stood at this podium and presented the force rotation plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  We are now at the point of announcing the plan for the next units, the next increment that will rotate into Iraq and Afghanistan in the first few months of next year.  We are ready to announce most of the forces for Operation Enduring -- I should say Iraqi Freedom 2 and Operation Enduring Freedom 5.  In the weeks ahead we will be announcing the remainder.

 

     The overall footprint of our forces derives from a number of considerations:  as you heard earlier, clearly non-Iraqi coalition forces, U.S. forces, both active and reserve, contractors, and then Iraqi coalition forces.  Lieutenant General Cody and Lieutenant General Huly are with us and, of course, they'll answer questions specific to their services.

 

     It's important to note that there are about a thousand Navy sailors and perhaps 2,000 Air Force personnel who will provide direct support to the joint force on the ground in addition to those that are either at air bases in Iraq or at sea.  But primarily today we will be addressing the ground force units as this unfolds.

 

     Much effort has gone into the planning for the rotation.  As can be expected, when our nation is at war -- and indeed, that is the condition we face -- we are asking much of our military and much of our own people.  As such, there were a number of factors that we considered in the formulation of this rotation game plan.   First of all was the forces that are destined to Afghanistan; other forces supporting commitments in the Balkans -- that is, Kosovo and Bosnia; units that are required for potential contingencies elsewhere.  And finally, there are some service-specific requirements that need to be considered when we put together a plan like this.

 

     It is -- this plan is a capabilities-based plan, and it allows the military to provide trained and ready units while providing greater predictability and stability for our service men and women, their families, their employers and their communities.

 

     As a recap of the current force disposition, may we bring up slide number one, please.

 

     The 101st Airborne Division, as you can see, is in the north. The 82nd is in the western part of Iraq.  The 4th Infantry Division is in the central zone.  The 1st Armored Division is in Baghdad.  And then, the Polish and the U.K. multinational divisions are in the southeast and south -- the south-central and southeast sectors, respectively.

 

     Next slide, please.

 

     This slide highlights the current security situation in terms of forces in Iraq.  As referenced by the secretary and the chairman earlier, we have roughly 275,000 personnel performing all types of security in Iraq today.  While the U.S. and non-Iraqi coalition forces have remained relatively steady, the Iraqi coalition numbers have increased substantially over the last couple months, and no doubt will increase in equal measure in the months ahead.  As you heard the chairman indicate, that is part of the strategy embedded in the supplemental funding.

 

     Next slide, please.

 

     As you see in the third slide, we will begin the rotation early next year.  We envision going from four divisions and 17 brigade equivalents to about three divisions and 13 brigade equivalents. Elements of the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Marine Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, will succeed the 101st Air Assault, the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Armored, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment.  The brigade from the 2nd Infantry Division -- that was the Stryker Brigade that the chairman referred to -- a brigade from the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, the 39th Enhanced Separate Brigade -- that is a National Guard unit from Arkansas -- the 30th Enhanced Separate Brigade -- likewise a National Guard unit; in this case, from North Carolina, West Virginia and New York -- and finally, the 81st Enhanced Separate Brigade from Washington and California will also deploy in support of Iraqi Freedom 2.

 

     (To staff.)  Next slide, please.

 

     With respect to Afghanistan, on this slide, you can see that elements of the 25th Infantry Division will succeed the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan next year, as well.  The 10th Mountain Division, currently in Afghanistan, will serve an extended tour of up to nine months, and when the 25th Infantry Division arrives in the spring, its tour length will be up to 12 months.  Let me stress a couple of items before I hand the podium over to my colleagues.

 

     There are still some capabilities that have not been satisfied in terms of what General Abizaid has asked us to provide.  We've covered most of them today, the vast majority, but there are still some units that we need to identify and alert, and that will occur in the next few weeks.

 

     Additionally, there will be some force management policies implemented by the services to enable execution of this plan.  The implementation of those service-specific policies will be discussed by Dick and by Jan here in a minute.

 

     Our plan, with a coalition team, addresses the security situation in Iraq as we know it today.  The combatant commander, General Abizaid, will continue to assess that situation in the weeks and months ahead.  If General Abizaid needs more or less capabilities, or more coalition forces materialized, we may adjust this plan accordingly.

 

     Finally, we are proud of the accomplishments of our armed forces to date, but we have to be most proud -- and I know that you are as well -- of the dedicated young Americans -- soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- who continue to show their skill, their professionalism and their commitment to help the Iraqi people secure a free Iraq for the future.

 

     And with that, I'll turn the podium over to Dick Cody and subsequently Jan Huly.  Dick?

 

     Cody:  Thanks, Norty [Lt. Gen. Schwartz].

 

     Good afternoon.  Your Army soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and all around the world continue to do an incredible job each and every day.  We have asked our soldiers and their families to sacrifice much since 9/11.  Our soldiers are in harm's way every day.  Just this past weekend, the downing of the CH-47 Chinook that was flying soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cav Regiment was a reminder that 15 of our soldiers have had to -- made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of the families and communities that have lost a son or daughter, our nation's most precious resource.

 

     As all of you know, the road to stability in Afghanistan and Iraq will be paved with additional challenges in the foreseeable future. But I have witnessed firsthand the incredible determination and warrior spirit that sustains our soldiers and their leaders every day. They are tough, they are ready, they are committed to winning this global war on terrorism.

 

     The rotation plan unveiled today continues to be a total joint effort.  For the Army, this second rotation provides a mix of active component, National Guard, and Army Reserve units, like we witnessed in the first rotation, but at reduced levels.  The Army, along with our Marine and joint and coalition forces, will forge a solid team, providing the combatant commander with a responsive, agile and strong force that can meet the many challenges of this complex environment.

 

     As Norty [Lt. Gen. Schwartz] talked about, the divisions going in for OIF 2 are, in name only, tank divisions and mechanized infantry divisions.  They're actually going in as motorized infantry divisions, as well as the enhanced separate brigades.  And we can handle that in Q&A later, if you have questions on it.

 

     We'll continue to see our deployed forces conduct up to 12 months boots-on-the-ground tours during this rotation.  This may be reduced in the future, based upon what General Abizaid and General Sanchez decide.  But currently, for OIF 1 and OIF 2, it is 12 months boots on the ground -- the policy is in effect.

 

     In Afghanistan, we originally planned on six-month rotations. That's what you were briefed on in July.  Since having to restructure the amount of active and the restructuring of the enhanced separate brigades, we're going to have to extend to nine months boots on the ground for the 10th Mountain Division.  This is caused by pulling the 25th Infantry Division's brigade out of Hawaii and putting it into Iraq.  We'll probably have to extend -- and right now we believe we will -- a 12 months boots on the ground for the rotation following the 10th Mountain with the 25th Infantry Division and its other remaining brigade that's coming out of the island of Oahu, and that will start in April of 2004.

 

     Our National Guard enhanced separate brigades and other combat support and combat service support units who continue to do great things in OIF 1 will be rotated out on their 12-month mark in the OAR.

 

     As was briefed earlier, we'll start deploying the 30th Brigade out of North Carolina with the 1st Infantry Division from Germany. Those two units have already linked up; that brigade has been mobilized.  The 39th Brigade out of Arkansas will deploy with the 1st Cav Division.  Soldiers from the 39th are down at Fort Hood now, linked up and training with the 1st Cav Division.  And the 81st Separate Brigade out of Washington will be in direct support of CJTF-7 commander for operations in Iraq, as well as security operations in Kuwait.

 

     These units will be trained and readied at our combat trainings in Hohenfels, Fort Polk and Fort Irwin.  And they'll start their training side by side with their active-duty counterparts, ensuring that they are fully trained to the challenges they'll face in Kuwait, Iraq and in Afghanistan.

 

     General Schwartz covered all of the major points.  So in closing, I just want to emphasize the incredible work being done by the young men and women of the United States Army today.  We have some 355,000 deployed today in 120 countries.  They appreciate the support of the American people and continue to serve this great nation with pride.

 

     I'll look forward to your questions.

 

     Huly:  Thanks, Dick.

 

     I'm Jan Huly, the deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations for the United States Marines.

 

     Commencing in March of 2004, the Marine Corps will deploy about a division-sized task force to Iraq.  We will be in the zone where the 82nd Airborne is currently designated on that map, to conduct stability and security operations.  This task force will be centered around the elements of the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, California.  It will consist of a ground combat, aviation combat and a combat service support element.  These elements will be sourced from the Marine Corps worldwide.  It will also be consisting of both Reserve and active-component United States Marines.

 

     We plan on accomplishing our one-year tour of duty over there in two increments of seven-month deployments for our tactical units.

 

     I look forward to your questions.  Thank you.

 

     Q:  General Huly?  General Huly?

 

     Schwartz:  Can we start here, sir?

 

     Q:  General, thank you very much.  I'm a little confused. First of all, I'd like to get the numbers straight again.  Secretary Rumsfeld, I believe, gave 85,000 total, of which 43,000 Reserve and Guard are going to Iraq and 7,000-plus going to Afghanistan.  Is that correct, sir?

 

     And then, for General Huly, is the whole 1st MEF going over?  You kind of broke it down a little bit, but is all of that going over?

 

     And are these really mostly volunteers that are going over, or are they just getting the word, "You will follow me"?

 

     Schwartz:  Sir, to answer the first question, the numbers are additive.  The 85,000 includes some of that which was announced in July.  In addition to those additional parts of the force -- for example, the Marine division and the Army brigade that’ll go this time -- active duty -- that's 85(,000) plus the 43,000 that the secretary mentioned for Reserve mobilization.

 

     Q:  (Off mike.)

 

     Schwartz:  That's correct.  What we will end up with is -- at the moment there are roughly 130,000 in Iraq.  I'm speaking Iraq, not with Kuwait.  That is about 102,000 active and roughly 28,000 Reserve.  That will morph, if this plan is executed as we currently have it formulated, to around 105,000 in Iraq, of which 66,000 will be active duty and 39(,000) will be Reserve.

 

     Q:  General Huly, is this the 1st MEF?  I didn't get an answer on that.

 

     Huly:  Yeah, I'll answer that question.  This is not the entire 1st Marine Expeditionary Force going.  This is elements of the 1st Marine Division, that we're drawing on other parts of the Marine Expeditionary Force to flesh out the 1st Marine Division.  The 1st Marine Division does not normally have helicopters or C-130s in it, so we're bringing them.  But I just want to reiterate we're drawing these units from throughout the Marine Corps.  So there will be some units coming from the 2nd Marine Division, some Marine units coming from throughout our Reserve component as well.

 

     Q:  (All Marines?), sir?

 

     Q:  A follow-up on that, General Huly.

 

     Q:  Yesterday, Senator McCain --

 

     Schwartz:  We'll take a question from --

 

     Q:  Could you just give us some more detail about how you're able to draw down that many forces, I guess close to 30,000 forces, by next May?  Or the hope is there anyway.  Understanding, of course -- I know Iraqi forces are increasing.  And yet the security situation has not stabilized.   How are you able to take that many U.S. forces out of there?  Is that hoping it will stabilize?

 

     Schwartz:  No.  We will have an opportunity to review, as we go ahead, the security situation.  The combatant commander will do that.  This is not a plan which is fixed and unchangeable.  As I indicated earlier, if General Abizaid determines that he needs more or less, or we have the good fortune of getting additional coalition support, we'll adjust accordingly.

 

     The key point is that -- is just what was said, this is a capabilities-based plan, it is not a one-for-one replacement of the persons that are there now.  These organizations are optimized for this task.  Both Dick and Jan can make that clear.  And so I think the bottom line is this is the combatant commander's best assessment right now.  And it is also true that you need to take this in context of the two multinational divisions which are continuing to stay with us through this second iteration of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the sizable number of Iraqi security forces.

 

     Let -- let -- let's --

 

     Q:  Can you just do a little clarity, then, on who's -- what you don't need, how you can reduce it.  I mean, just define what you don't think you need if all goes well.

 

     Schwartz:  Let me -- let me give you an example.  We are -- we are going from seven bridging companies to two because we're contracting out some of the bridging requirements.  We are going from a larger number of truck units to a smaller number because we are contracting some of that out.

 

     The point is that some of the drawdown is in the combat support side, some is in the headquarters, and some is in the combat force. But the bottom line is that the combatant commander will adjust the footprint of the forces according to the need.  And as you recall, the north and the south and the west are relatively stable.  It is the central sector in which we continue to experience the vast majority -- well over 80 percent -- of the attacks.  There's a --

 

     Q:  General --

 

     Schwartz:  Let the -- the gentle lady in the white, please. And then we'll come to you, sir.

 

     Q:  Okay.

 

     Q:  Could you tell us exactly how many Marines are involved in this call-up?  And then a question for both you and General Cody:  is the activation of Marines for this some indication that you need more soldiers?  Because the Marine division, they're pretty clear that their job is not sustainment and stability operations, but instead kicking in the door.  Is the fact that you're calling on Marines --

 

     Schwartz:  General -- General Huly will take that.  But let me give you the overarching numbers in terms of what was alerted last night.  It's 43,000 personnel:  about 37,000 Army and the remainder -- just under 6,000 -- from the United States Marines Corps.  They were alerted.

 

     Now, it's important to understand, though, that some will be mobilized in about 30 days, not -- not less than 30 days; a significant number will be mobilized later on.  The principle that we are working to here is alert early to provide predictability and make   sure that families and employers and others have a sense of ground truth, but mobilize as late as possible in order to -- that still assures training can be accomplished and arrival in theater by the latest arrival date that the commander requests.

 

     You want to take the other question, General?

 

     Huly:  Yeah.  Thanks, Norty [Lt. Gen. Schwartz].

 

     Okay.  We're rotating the Marines in, in two rotations.  Each rotation's going to be about 21,300 Marines.  In the first rotation we'll have about 1,500 of those 21,000 will be Reserves -- come from the Reserve component.  In the second rotation about 4,500 will come from the Reserve component.

 

     Your -- the other part of your question was the role of the Marine Corps in sustainment and stability operations.

 

     Q:  Yeah.  I know they can do the work --

 

     Huly:  We can -- right.

 

     Q:  -- but that's not really what they're designed to do.

 

     Huly:  Well, that's not necessarily the case, but that is -- thanks for asking that question because a lot of people have that perception.  What makes your Marine Corps unique from some of the Army units out there is our forcible-entry capability, which is primarily amphibious.  But once we get on the ground, we can do sustainment, security, stability operations just side by side with our brothers and sisters in the United States Army, Air Force and Navy.

 

     (Cross talk.)

 

     Schwartz:  This gentleman right here, please.  Yes, sir?

 

     Q:  Just to follow up, General, yesterday Senator McCain was very specific about the need to increase the troops in the so-called Sunni Triangle, but he was also specific about having the Marines because he said that they are better equipped to deal with this kind of insurgency.

 

     My question to you, sir, if that is the case, they are better equipped, why are they not doing that now?

 

     Huly:  We're just executing the plan as for Operation Enduring Freedom for the first evolution.  It was designed that the Marine Corps would withdraw early -- not early, but when it did withdraw there was -- we have commitments elsewhere in the world that we came back, we reorganized, equipped, repaired our equipment.  And now we're ready to go for -- wherever the nation sends us, and now she's calling to go here.

 

     Q:  General?

 

     Q:  General Schwartz?

 

     Schwartz:  Right here.

 

     Q:  Many of the Marines that are going over are Marines that returned relatively recently and actually fought in the war.  And General Cody also talked about extending deployments in Afghanistan. Is the inability to raise another foreign division and the need to send people back who returned relatively recently, caused -- to follow up on Pam's question -- caused you to look at this and say we just don't have a total force big enough to deal with all the missions out there?

 

     Schwartz:  I don't accept your premise.  The truth of the matter is that out of that 43,000 or so, it happens to be 760 Army personnel who are experiencing those exceptions, and it's about 2,200 or so Marine personnel who will either be extended or remobilized.  So it's a relatively small proportion.

 

     And the key thing here is that, ladies and gentlemen, we are at war.  This is not peacetime.  And so, under the circumstances we find ourselves, we are going to respond to the nation's call.

 

     Let me take a question right here.

 

     Q:  General Huly, please?  Could you explain the difference in tour length?  I believe the secretary said it would be seven months boots-on-the-ground for the Marines, 12 months for the Army.  General Cody, could you comment on that, also?

 

     Huly:  Okay, I can't explain on the difference, but I'll give you a little background on why we go for seven months.  During the mid- to late-1970s, the Marine Corps adopted a six-to-seven month rotation tour policy to meet our commitments globally.  All Marines deploy somewhere sooner or later in their enlistment, okay?  So to meet that back in the '70s, we determined that it's a good building block of six to seven months to prepare for a deployment.  That allows you some time to train up, to deploy for six or seven months, come -- return to your CONUS base, Continental United States base, stand down and then work up for your next deployment.  That also fits nicely in a four-year enlistment for a young Marine to come in to make two deployments and have a little bit of extra time in there.

 

     So, we adopted that construct many years ago.  And could we go for longer?  Certainly.  But our -- we recruit, we train, we assign to that six-to-seven month deployment.  In this case, it's a seven-month deployment that fits our construct nicely.  We'll come back and we'll -- after a certain period at home, we'll be ready to go again.  And that's what you're seeing why the Marine Corps is where it is today.

 

     General Cody?

 

     Cody:  This plan that was laid out, to put it in a global perspective so you have a good understanding of why we're at a 12- month rotation for Afghanistan and Iraq, eight of your 12 active-duty divisions will be moving during this time frame, as well as we have tapped into 13 of our 15 enhanced separate brigades, starting from about 1999 to 2001, when you consider Kosovo and Bosnia.  And so, when we looked at the requirements for OIF 1 and 2, the requirements for the divisional base and brigades for Afghanistan, as well as our commitments for Kosovo, Bosnia, Sinai, as well as GTMO, and 31,000 troops in Korea that we have there every day, which is also a 12-month tour, in order to stabilize our force and also be able to get those redeploying forces back from OIF 1 and get them back up to a level of reset so that they could be prepared for contingencies within 120 days of getting back, we had to extend our rotation base to 12 months. Otherwise, we'd start redeploying units back into Afghanistan and Iraq a lot quicker.  So we've put the 12-month mark out there, and we think we can sustain it.

 

     Q:  General Schwartz?  General Schwartz, could I ask you a couple of questions?

 

     First of all, I was wondering, why -- could you explain why the particular units are being sent to the particular places?  Why did the Marines go to replace the 82nd Airborne?  And I've forgotten who you said is replacing the 101st.

 

     Schwartz:  Sir, that'll be the 1st Infantry Division, which will go into the north.  What this is, again, is General Abizaid's and General Sanchez's view of the needs of the force in that particular area.  It's important to know that the boundaries on the chart that we showed you earlier aren't final.  As I indicated, it'll be several months until these deployments are made.  And so the boundaries and the regions, the sectors may change some.  But the key thing is, is that they made an assessment that they needed that multipurpose Marine air-ground task force in the west of Iraq to serve the target set and the missions that they see in that region.  And that's the rationale.

 

     Q:  Well, is that --

 

     Schwartz:  Let -- let me --

 

     Q:  -- is that because it's a tougher area than Mosul is?

 

     Schwartz:  Again, I think this is the assessment of the combatant commander on where -- how he optimizes the use of that particular force.  And that is not a decision that is taken here in the building, believe me.

 

     Let me -- let me go to the back here, in the blue.

 

     Q:  And to get these numbers down from 130 to 105, that is May -- May is the goal date of the 105 --

 

     Schwartz:  If -- if we execute this according to plan, that's the time frame.

 

     Q:  So then what is the assumption, or what is the estimate, of what the threat will be like in May?  I mean, obviously, to come up with these numbers you had to sort of make an educated guess or whatever of what that's going to look like.  Will there be more attacks, less attacks, the same amount, there's so many more Iraqis that we can draw down -- give us a -- give us the picture you looked at when you were able to say "We think we can actually reduce U.S. forces in Iraq and not -- keep the same" --

 

     Schwartz:  Again, this was a combatant commander assessment. You heard the chairman mention that.  We have looked at it.  The chiefs have reviewed it; likewise the secretary.  The assessment is that this capable, this set of capabilities -- again, it is essential to understand, this is not a one-for-one replacement -- that this set of capabilities is the equivalent of what is currently there or in many ways better.  The Stryker brigade is a case in point.  And that is the conclusion that we have come to.

 

     Staff:  We have time for one more question.

 

     Schwartz:  One more?  This gentleman here, and --

 

     Q:  General Huly, could you address -- you're talking about two rotations of 20,000 Marines, roughly, plus -- on each.  That's -- cumulatively it'll be about a quarter of the Corps.  Is the Corps going to have to cut back on some other things you would do around the world -- shorter deployments elsewhere, canceling deployments elsewhere -- in order to absorb that kind of a hit?

 

     And, General Schwartz, if you could address for a moment the 2,000 Air Force airmen and the thousand sailors, I think, just tell us a little bit about what they'll be doing.

 

     Huly:  Good question.  Thanks for asking that.  I meant to cover that in my opening remarks.  As a matter of fact, we're going to do this rotation without -- while continuing our other worldwide commitments that were previously scheduled.

 

     And let me just say that on any given day, about probably 30,000, 32,000 Marines are forward-deployed, forward-stationed.  Deploying is what we do for a living in the Marine Corps, okay?  And this just gives us the opportunity to do it a little bit quicker than we planned on doing it before.  (Laughter.)

 

     Thank you.

 

     Schwartz:  Let me -- let me address two things.  First of all, there will be an impact.  We have already reduced the exercise program considerably.  So, those things that are discretionary, we have already made some choices and, no doubt, will make choices in the future.

 

     With regard to the thousand and the 2,000, these are Air Force and naval personnel.  The Navy, for example, will do cargo-handling work.  The Air Force is offering truck drivers.  That's the kind of situation.

 

     Let me conclude -- we really do have to get off the stage -- just to make the point that this -- we think that this is a thoughtful plan, one that addresses General Abizaid's needs for capabilities on the ground; that it fundamentally, as well, fulfills our obligation to our people for predictability, and their families and their employers and the communities from which they come.

 

     Thank you very much.

 

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