"It eliminates one echelon of the chain of command," he said.
The fires brigade allows the division to assume some of the duties that III Corps performed. The fires brigade and the division are therefore more efficient and self-reliant, which falls within the Army's modularity plan.
Another major improvement under the new design is the fires brigade will now house its own support and maintenance units, said Sgt. Maj. Reginald Allen, S-3, HHB, DIVARTY. Instead of requiring additional resources from outside the brigade, it will be more self-reliant.
The brigade can also work with units from other armed forces to support joint operations, said Knowles. DIVARTY can utilize the firepower other services have to offer with greater efficiency.
"Our capability to function will be enhanced immensely," he said. "Some of these assets will help us support the commander with capabilities that we haven't had before."
In addition, personnel assets include a Marine officer, Air Force personnel, and sections for space command, information operations, psychological operations, civil affairs and a fires and effects cell, said Knowles. These sections will be permanently housed within the fires brigade headquarters.
The fires brigade is not yet at full strength and is currently building its support units from the ground up, said Knowles, but the brigade is operational.
Under the modularity design, the fires brigade will consist of a brigade headquarters, a target acquisition battery and a Multiple Launch Rocket System battalion as its permanent elements, said Maj. Scott Gerber, G-7. Depending on the mission, the DIVARTY will receive other units as needed to execute its mission. The Army is currently finalizing the manpower and equipment requirements of the fires brigades.
The creation of the fires brigade, said Gerber, supports the Army-wide plan of modularity. The Army is adapting its structure to modularity because the threat within war has changed, said Gerber. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, the Army focused on having to fight large campaigns. Since then, the Army has switched from large campaigns to smaller operations, like those experienced in Haiti, Kosovo and Somalia.
Modularity provides brigade combat teams, such as the fires brigade, to deploy independently of the division, said Gerber. Another major benefit is that Soldiers within this self-supported unit will train together and fight together, establishing greater unit cohesion.
As the first Army fires brigade, it will lead the way for the 10 additional fires brigades slated to be developed throughout the Army.