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4th Infantry Division Gets Army's First 'Fires' Brigade
By U.S. Army Spc. Rodney L. Foliente / 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

FORT HOOD, Texas, Dec. 16, 2004 – The transformation and restructuring of the 4th Infantry Division Artillery, which is effective today, marks the Army's first fires brigade and will greatly enhance the division's war-fighting capabilities.

Of the artillery battalions formally comprising DIVARTY, only the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, will remain. The unit provides the flexibility for the other battalions to become fire support elements for the four brigade combat teams within the division.

Under the division's new modular design, the fires brigade is independently deployable and capable of absorbing temporary units into its permanent structure and to collaborate with joint armed forces fires support in accordance with the needs of the mission.

"The functions of a division artillery, a general support field artillery brigade, and the corps artillery have all been melded into one organization," said Col. Allen Batschelet, commander, DIVARTY

"The purpose of the fires brigade is to combine core artillery and division artillery into a modular brigade that can bring to a future fight a composition of field artillery elements to support the required mission," said Capt. Jeremy Hancock, transformation officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, DIVARTY.

The new mission of DIVARTY is to plan, coordinate, and execute lethal and non-lethal fire support of the designated division or joint armed forces command, added Col. Allen Batschelet, commander, DIVARTY.

Non-lethal attacks use electronic warfare, psychological operations, offensive information operations and munitions such as illumination, smoke and riot-control agents.

As commander of DIVARTY, Batschelet said the biggest change in his role involves less planning and execution of close fire support and more planning and execution for joint fire support operations.

The fires brigade is less involved with providing close fire support, such as cannon. It focuses more on precision-strikes, counterstrikes and shaping, which utilizes lethal and non-lethal means to influence the enemy and make it easier for the supported forces to accomplish the mission at hand, said Batschelet.

Under the new modular design, the role of close fire support will now fall to the artillery units assigned to the maneuver brigade combat teams, said Maj. Tim Knowles, assistant S-3, HHB, DIVARTY.

The functions of what were traditionally three separate organizations are now resident inside the fires brigade.

"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.

Last Updated:
12/01/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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