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U.S. Army's Way Forward: 5 New Division Organizations

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

8 April 2023: This article was originally published in January 2022 referencing late 2021 proposals and has been updated with early 2023 proposals.

As the U.S. Army is refocusing on division-centric large scale combat operations (LSCO), it is planning on reviving the division as a proper tactical units.


From the late 2000s, the Brigade Combat Team had become the Army's units of action as part of its modularity concept. At that time, divisions became primarily administrative bodies that would deploy piecemeal. The Division Headquarters could be deployed to a combat zone as an operational headquarters and command any BCT from any other division, which they did during its counter-insurgencies. Theoretically, even if a heavy Armored Division had light Infantry BCTs in it, it wouldn't matter that much in practice. However, with large-scale conventional war on everyone's mind, the Army believes larger units capable of fighting at the corps/theater-levels with capabilities aligned to conventional warfighting will be required. Divisions will become units of action again wielded by corps, rather than brigades being the focus.


To this end, TRADOC dropped a video in December 2021 that lays out five tentative division organizations that will replace the current state of modular division headquarters. Three will be specialized and will likely be few in number (the Armor [Reinforced], Airborne and Air Assault Divisions), while two standard layouts will constitute the bulk of the Army's force structure (the Armor Division and Light Division). The development of specialized divisions is so units are adequately aligned to certain operational niches, which they can then be equipped for and train to become particularly proficient in.


NEW APR 2023: Since the original 2021 announcement, much has been clarified and some changes have been made. The effort has been branded Army of 2030, as opposed to Waypoint 2028 (Force Design 2030 much?). A Maneuver Warfighter Conference took place in early 2022 that shed some light on the purpose of specific subunits, more articles have been written about the efforts of specific communities (especially sustainment), and additional proposals at TRADOC were drafted in December 2022 and published as a White Paper in February 2023. I will be updating this article to include those changes.


I've also added a list of things that I got wrong with my 2021 article and graphics at the end of this article. This is less changes to the proposal and some errors/assumptions made due to a lack of public information at the time.

White_Paper---How_the_Army_2030_Divisions_Fight
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This article does not cover the numerous units which may be attached to divisions in direct or general support from the Corps-level.


Armor Division (Reinforced), formerly Penetration

The Armor Division (Reinforced) is the heaviest of the types, with a clear focus on penetrating the enemy's frontline directly (as opposed to flanking) and exploitating that penetration in his rear area. Commensurate with this role, the division has a very large contingent of engineers and bridging equipment (for river crossings), the most capable organic artillery, and the heaviest mix of maneuver units.


The 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored, and 34th Infantry (NG) will be the Armor Divisions (Reinforced).


The Maneuver includes 3 Armored Brigade Combat Teams. Each will include an HHC, 3 Combined Arms Battalions (CAB), 1 Armored Cavalry Troop (ACT), 1 Signal Company, and 1 Brigade Support Battalion. The initial proposal included an Engineer Battalion, but this was not present in the December 2022 draft.


The CABs will most likely retain their 2 tank-heavy and 1 infantry-heavy structure, although this may get seriously shaken up with OMFV and robotic combat vehicles (RCV) coming down the road. People have been throwing around the Armored Assault Vehicle Company concept, but I'm told this is still experimental. One 2021 paper referenced that an RCV-M company could come to one of the Armor CABs to "[provide] the commander with additional lethality, mobility, reconnaissance and electronic-warfare (EW) capabilities." The initial December 2021 proposal did include a separate RCV company in the brigade, but this was not explicitly on the December 2022 proposal (but I don't think this means there are no RCV-Ms in the brigade). I haven't seen much on the matter since then, but MG Richardson's talk did include a slide with 2 armor and 1 infantry CAB.

Don Sando's talk "Building Tomorrow's Maneuver Force Today" with Armored Assault Vehicle Company part time stamped: https://youtu.be/y7NqN-c3rQI?t=1188


Note each Combined Arms Battalion will also get a Scout Platoon in its HHC with 6 Bradley fighting vehicles.

Early 2022 proposal for DIV CAV and ACT

The Recon & Security includes the reformed Divisional Cavalry Squadrons. This squadron will include 3 Division Cavalry Troops (which include 2 Bradley Scouts platoons, 2 Tank Platoons, 1 Robot Combat Vehicle Platoon, and a 120mm Mortar Section), a Cross Domain Troop, and a Forward Support Troop.


The Cross Domain Troop is a "landing place for new technologies" which will allow the division to integrate stuff like robotics and UAS tech without taking away staff from other duties (and so there are specific people who will integrate it). Light infantry battalions are templated for a "Cross Domain Platoon" that does similar. But the Div Cav's Cross Domain Troop currently has an HQ and Aviation Platoon (same strength as a current Shadow UAS platoon) which suggests a particular focus on UAS.


The Fires includes the Division Artillery with the ABCT's cannon battalions shifted up. It will have 3 Field Artillery Battalions equipped with 155mm self-propelled howitzers and 1 Field Artillery Battalion equipped with the M1299 Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA). The latter is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer which pushes the M109A7’s 40 km effective range (with certain precision munitions) out to at least 70 km. It will be a general support artillery battalion supporting the entire division.


The 3 Paladin battalions meanwhile will act as direct support artillery at 1 per BCT, maintaining habitual relationships with their supported BCT, but at the end of the day available for the DIVARTY to re-task in general support of other BCTs. The phrase "don't hold artillery in reserve" comes to mind. The DIVARTY will also be getting its own Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) to support its substantial ammunition requirements.


The Combat Support includes an Engineer Brigade and Protection Brigade. The Engineer Brigade is the beefiest of the division types, with 4 Engineer Battalions that control a total of 7 Combat Engineer Companies, 5 Bridging Companies, 2 Construction Companies, and 1 Route Clearance Company. These elements, in addition to the brigades’ own engineer assets, will enhance the division’s ability to breach obstacles, perform counter-mobility operations, make mass river crossings, and preserve mobility in the rear area.

SHORAD Transformation

The Protection Brigade meanwhile, which is a part of all divisions, will be responsible for rear area security and command & control (C2). It's basically like an organic version of the already existing Maneuver Enhancement Brigades. It will include a Military Police Battalion, Air Defense Artillery Battalion (equipped with the Stryker-based M-SHORAD, IFPC, and Counter-UAS systems in priority divisions), CBRN Defense Battalion, and its own Support Battalion.


Armor (Reinforced), JFE divisions, and the 25th Infantry are priority for the first M-SHORADs. However, based on current practice, it is possible that M-SHORAD units will end up under the DIVARTY in the field, since ADA is considered fires. The intent is for M-SHORAD to be attached in support of brigade combat teams as required, while IFPC (think Iron Dome) supports the division in protecting its rear infrastructure.


MG Ken Kamper's talk on Fires Modernization, time stamped at the ADA part: https://youtu.be/RuZxEbWV7s8?t=376

The original proposal from 2021 also included an Engineer Battalion, which may have been construction and route clearance assets for maintaining mobility in the rear area, but this has since been removed from all but the Light Division template. I'm unsure if its inclusion in the Light Division template is an error or intentional.


The Sustainment includes a Division Sustainment Brigade, which will consist of a Division Special Troops Battalion (DSTB) and Division Sustainment Support Battalion (DSSB). There is to be some pretty significant growth. In addition to the Support Maintenance Company (moved to DSTB), Composite Supply Company and Composite Truck Company which the DSB already has, the Reinforced Armor Division was being tested out in 2022 with a Modular Ammunition Company, Medium Truck Company (POL), Medium Truck Company (PLS), and an Inland Cargo Transfer Company (ICTC). Although the ICTC seems the most superfluous and unique to the Reinforced Armor Division. The other additions are common to the other divisions as well. Here is a very good article on Armor Division 2030 sustainment enhancements.

Big upgrades to divisional sustainment are already included in doctrine.

Every other brigade in the division also has an organic Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), which the DIVARTY currently doesn't have. However, the 82nd Airborne Division appears to be testing out having all the BSBs organic to the Division Sustainment Brigade (DSB) as of April 2023. Back before modularity and permanent BCTs, divisions had "Forward Support Battalions" for supporting brigades directly under its Support Command (DISCOM). Consolidation of support at higher levels is a recurring theme of large-scale combat operations' return as the main focus. But, it remains unclear whether this will actually be applied across the board, of if CASCOM is just testing out the concept on a limited basis.


The Aviation includes a Combat Aviation Brigade (Heavy) with an Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Assault Helicopter Battalion, Attack/Reconnaissance Squadron, and UAS Company as its flying units. It is unclear to me (due to a lack of sourcing on aviation developments) how or if they will replace the niche capabilities, like MEDEVAC, currently found in General Support Aviation Battalions (GSAB). I haven't seen any sources on changes to internal battalion structures.


Armor Division, formerly Heavy

The Armor Division will constitute the bulk of the U.S. Army’s armored forces. It will be less specialized than the Reinforced Armor Division (with fewer engineers no general support artillery). But, it is perhaps more flexible due to its larger complement of Stryker infantry which can help the division during defensive operations, operations in complex terrain, and rapid self-deployment.


The 1st Infantry, 3rd Infantry, 4th Infantry, and 36th Infantry (NG) will be Armor Divisions.


The Maneuver includes 2 Armored Brigade Combat Teams and 1 Stryker Brigade Combat Team.


The ABCTs are similar to those in the Reinforced Armor Division, but for some reason lacking a Signal Company (not sure if this is intentional). Unlike the Reinforced Armor Division, the Armor Division lacks a Division Cavalry Squadron. The original proposal from 2021 included a Cavalry Squadron in this type of ABCT due to the lack of a Div Cav, but this has for some reason not been included in this iteration. (Maybe to standardize the ABCTs across the force? Give up some cavalry manpower to be reinvested elsewhere, like in 19-series Bradley crewmembers for the mechanized infantry companies?)


The SBCT meanwhile is composed of an HHC, 3 Stryker Infantry Battalions, 1 Stryker Cavalry Squadron, and 1 Brigade Support Battalion. The presence of the Strykers provides the Armor Division with additional infantry mass carried in well-armed and moderately armored carriers with lethal weapon systems (30mm autocannon and remote Javelin in the future). They are also more capable of self-deployment by road than the ABCT due to their wheeled platforms.


The Fires includes an Artillery Brigade with 2 Field Artillery Battalions equipped with 155mm self-propelled howitzers (aligned to the mobility requirements of the ABCTs) and 1 Field Artillery Battalion initially equipped with towed 155mm howitzers (aligned to the Stryker BCT). These will directly support BCTs.


The Combat Support includes an Engineer Battalion and Protection Brigade. The Engineer Battalion has a total of 5 Combat Engineer Companies. The Protection Brigade which will be the same as previously stated.


The Sustainment includes a Division Sustainment Brigade, which will be the same as previously stated, but lacking the ICTC of the Reinforced Armor Div proposal.


Additionally, while the original 2021 graphics proposal only had a forward support company for the whole DIVARTY in standard heavy and light divisions, this has been revised to a more reasonable Brigade Support Battalion (BSB).


The Aviation includes a Combat Aviation Brigade (Heavy) with an Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Assault Helicopter Battalion, Attack/Reconnaissance Squadron, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Company as its flying units.


Light Division

The Light Division will be the most numerous division in the U.S. Army, accounting for the of the non-airborne/air assault Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. Infantry BCTs in the future will become either Mobile BCTs (MBCTs) or Light BCTs (LBCTs). The former will be fully motorized, with Rifle Companies on the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), while the latter will be minimally motorized, optimized for air assaults and operations in urban, subterranean, and other complex terrain.


The 10th Mountain, 25th Infantry Divisions and 11th Airborne Divisions will be the active-duty Light Divisions. The 28th Infantry, 29th Infantry, 35th Infantry, 38th Infantry, 40th Infantry, and 42nd Infantry will be the National Guard Light Divisions.


The Maneuver includes 3 Light or Mobile Brigade Combat Teams and 1 Mobile Protected Firepower Battalion. They BCTs will have 3 Infantry Battalions (CONUS) or 2 Infantry Battalions (OCONUS) supported by 1 Light Reconnaissance Company (rather than a troop), 1 Military Intelligence Company, 1 Signal Company, and a Brigade Support Battalion. There are no Brigade Engineer Battalions in this iteration of the proposal as engineers have been fully shifted to the division-level.


COL Ryan Morgen's talk on Light & Motorized Brigades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jexO1fVJpfg

Meanwhile, the return of the divisional tank battalion (doctrinally not a tank) is interesting. This is the intended niche of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle, a light tank with moderate armor protection and a 105mm gun. The intent is to provide each BCT with an attached MPF company for direct fire support. The battalion is, for now, not intended to fight as a whole battalion, and will rather attach 1 of its companies to each BCT. As well, the MPF won't be employed like a main battle tank doctrinally due to its inferior protection and firepower. Rather, it'll likely be employed more like the retired Stryker MGS, providing infantry with direct fire support against structures, personnel and light vehicles. These are the types of targets that were referenced in the Maneuver Warfighter Conference 2022 talk on the matter.


The Recon & Security. Whether or not Light Divisions ultimately get a Div Cav is likely not finalized. The JFE divisions have generally included it (I assume because they are the priority for the light side), but I've been told it's up in the air. However, what is more clear, is LBCTs and MBCTs will get a Light Reconnaissance Company at the very least for brigade-level tasking.


The Fires includes an Artillery Brigade with 3 Field Artillery Battalions equipped with towed howitzers (not withstanding future undetermined truck-based self-propelled procurement). In the current IBCT, Field Artillery Battalions consist of 1 towed 155mm howitzer battery and 2 towed 105mm howitzer batteries. It is currently [2022] unclear whether this mix will be changed, but the white paper does reference both 105mm and 155mm. Although the Army is eyeing a truck-mounted self-propelled 155mm howitzer to align with Stryker units, it’s unclear whether this will replace the M777 in divisions with light and motorized BCTs. It is also unclear whether the 105mm light gun will get a replacement. The Army has been testing the Humvee-mouned self-propelled 105mm Hawkeye, but they've only been informal as of yet.


But what is clear is these battalions will be direct support battalions for the BCTs. There currently isn't a longer range "general support" option. They will rely on the corps to provide rocket artillery fire via its Field Artillery Brigades unless something changes with the allocation of HIMARS/MLRS.


The Combat Support includes an Engineer Battalion and Protection Brigade. The Engineer Battalion has a total of 5 Combat Engineer Companies. The Protection Brigade which will be the same as previously stated, except the Light Division graphic in the most recent white paper is the only to include an Engineer Battalion. I'm not sure if this was an error or if there's a rationale.


The Sustainment includes a Division Sustainment Brigade, which will be the same as previously stated. Noteworthy is they are currently calling the BSBs part of Light and Motorized BCTs "Light Support Battalions" or LSBs. I'm not sure what the substantive difference is but part of it, in MBCTs over the current IBCTs, will be supporting more widespread motorization.


The Aviation includes a Combat Aviation Brigade (Light) with an Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2 Assault Helicopter Battalions, Attack/Reconnaissance Squadron, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Company as its flying units.


Airborne Division (JFE)

The Airborne Division (Joint Forcible Entry) will be very similar to the Light Division, but with a focus on airborne operations. This entails motorized, airborne-qualified infantry that can be delivered behind enemy lines via parachute.


The 82nd Airborne Division will be on this organization. The 173rd Airborne Brigade in Europe will remain a fully independent brigade combat team with its supporting units (cavalry squadron, field artillery battalion, brigade engineer battalion).


Other than airborne qualification, the main difference from the Light Division is the inclusion of a divisional Cavalry Squadron (possibly because an airborne division dropped behind enemy lines has heightened security and reconnaissance requirements). This squadron will have 3 Cavalry Troops, a Cross Domain Troop, and a Forward Support Troop. The Airborne Division also has the 151st Division Aerial Delivery Company and Division Personnel Pack Company in its Division Sustainment Support Battalion.


Of note, the new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) is able to be paradropped out of a C-130 or C-17. As per 2022 proposals, the 82nd Airborne may have the motorized MBCTs to allow for an offset airlanding followed by rapid overland movement to the objective. This is to limit the main forces' vulnerability to air defenses. Although if the airfield they land at is also behind enemy lines they'll be relying on someone like the 75th Rangers (or a conventional airborne task force from the 82nd, 173rd or 11th) to conduct an airfield seizure to pave the way. The armored vehicles within the divisional MPF Tank Battalion can only be airlanded as there is no paradrop requirement in the program.


Air Assault Division (JFE)

The Air Assault Division (Joint Forcible Entry) is the heliborne counterpart to the Airborne Division. The 101st Airborne Division will be on this organization. They're talking about making its BCTs the minimally motorized "light" LBCT variant, although this is probably pre-decisional.


Other than the air assault qualification, the Air Assault Division will also have an additional Heavy Assault Battalion in its Combat Aviation Brigade (Air Assault) which will include cargo helicopters. It's unclear to me how this will be different from the current General Support Aviation Battalions (GSAB). This gives the Air Assault Division the largest Aviation Brigade of any of the division types (although still smaller than the 101st Airborne's 8-battalion Aviation Brigade circa 1989). Their intent is to have a CAB big enough to lift one brigade combat team in one period of darkness.


Separate Brigade Combat Teams

Brigade Combat Teams that are not part of a division will not be majorly reorganized as they have no division to reinvest assets into and support them.


The 173rd Airborne Brigade will remain in its full BCT configuration. However, it will receive an MPF Company under the oversight of its Cavalry Squadron. This was the original plan for all IBCTs back when the MPF program was in motion but the shift towards division-level capabilities hadn't started yet.


The 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiments, which are currently organized as Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (just with cavalry traditions and all its subordinate "squadrons" being in the same regiment), are expected to stay big as well. Although this is subject to change. Haven't seen a lot about corps-level recon & security, which is what the Armored Cavalry Regiments used to do. As far as has been announced, MPF is not destinated to support Stryker units even though Stryker MGS was retired. Future Stryker capabilities, like the 30mm autocannon version and Javelin RWS, will compensate for its loss without adding a tracked platform to their motorpool.


2021 Assumptions That Were Wrong

Some things that I got wrong in my initial December 2021 article due to the lack of public information (much more came out in 2022).

  • The surveillance-marked company in the Division Cavalry is not a Long-Range Surveillance (LRS) capability as I speculated, but a "Cross Domain Troop" which is more technology-oriented.

  • The Combined Arms Battalions, as envisioned in 2022, will not return to an equal 2 tank and 2 infantry company weighting like it was before 2016. This was an earlier proposal that didn't make it to Waypoint 2028. As of right now they retain their current configurations.

  • The initial December 2021 graphics had odd symbols for the Division Sustainment Brigades. The DSBs have been much more fleshed out in the recent proposals and with the news on the redesign.

  • The Division Artillery (DIVARTY) was initially labelled as an generic Artillery Brigade

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21 Comments


John Sisk
John Sisk
Apr 03

There is also a lot of talk of reorganizing 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiments back into Armored Cavalry Regiments. I would love to see what these look like. I would imagine a hybrid of the post Gulf War ACR and the proposed Multidomain Armored Cavalry Regiment from a few years ago. The Army wants 3 Armored Brigade sized formations in Europe at all times now. I expect 2 with be RTU with 2CR being reorganized back into 2ACR.

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Will the 11th be converted to a strictly "straight leg" light infantry division? Or will it retain some or all of it's Airborne capabilites?


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Replying to

From what I heard the 11th will become the Arctic Warfare specialized division, much like the 10th is the Mountain Warfare specialized division and the 25th is the Jungle Warfare specialized division. Whether it will retain the Airborne capability is not sure, but like all Light infantry divisions it will definitely have Air Assault capability. The US Army will certainly keep an airborne capability in the Pacific theater, at least a brigade, if it is within the 11th or it will be a separate brigade is not known.

Also regarding these light divisions it is not known if they will switch all to the 3x brigade structure or they will keep the 2x brigade structure. As of now only the…

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Mark Wolf
Mark Wolf
Sep 14, 2023

I have to agree with the earlier commenter on the lack of boots on the ground the pre triangle design HBCT had 558 dismounts when fully manned the current HBCT has 372 dismounts when fully manned under the new design with the armored assault vehicle company the number of dismounts drops to 280 dismounts when fully manned (thats key right there we didn't fully man before triangle we don't fully man now with the 186 reduction what makes anyone think we will fully man even when we loose another 86) the one sure thing that has come out of the Ukraine war (at least with no access to better reporting) is that armor must have Infantry support and in this…

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Matthew Silverman
Matthew Silverman
Aug 30, 2023

FYI- The Combat Avn Bde (CAB) will still have a GSAB. But it is being rebranded and restructured to an AHB. There will be two type of AHBs- w/ and w/o MEDEVAC (HH60M- formerly C Co now being rebranded to F Co). The Command Aviation Company (CAC- UH60L) is converting to a 10 ship Assault Helo Co (AHC-UH60V/M) and is a placeholder for FVL (plug and play). Adding 2nd AHC (UH60M) and reducing the Cargo Helo Co from 12 to 8 CH47Fs. Heavy Div CABs will have 1xAHB w/MEDEVAC while Light/ABN/JFE will have a 2nd AHB w/o MEDEVAC. JFE will have a HAHB with 32 CH47F (4x8 ship HAHC) for 48xCH47s in the JFE.


The Air Cav Squadron will reduc…

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Battle Order
Battle Order
Nov 27, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for the info, sorry for the late reply it was buried in spam. Do you know if there is anything publicly written about this? The papers I've personally seen on Army 2030 offer only the scantest mention of aviation

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