Information courtesy of the US Army Homepage - www.army.mil
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services. The modern Army has its roots in the Continental Army which was formed on 14 June 1775,before the establishment of the United States, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress of the Confederation officially created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 after the end of the revolutionary war to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The Army considers itself to be descended from the Continental Army and thus dates its inception from the origins of that force
The primary mission of the Army is to "provide necessary forces and capabilities ... in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies." The Army is a military service within the Department of the Army, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Army is headed by the Secretary of the Army, and the highest ranking military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff of the Army. In fiscal year 2009, the Regular Army reported a strength of 549,015 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 358,391 and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 205,297 putting the combined component strength total at 1,112,703 soldiers
Training in the United States Army is generally divided into two categories - individual/initial and collective.
Basic training consists of 10 weeks followed by AIT (Advanced Individualized Training) where they receive training for their MOS (military occupational specialties) with the length of AIT school varying by the MOS. Some individuals MOS's range anywhere from 14-20 weeks of One Station Unit Training, (OSUT) which counts as basic and AIT. Support and other MOS hopefuls attend nine to eleven weeks of Basic Combat Training followed by Advanced Individual Training in their primary (MOS) at any of the numerous MOS training facilities around the country.
The length of time spent in AIT depends on the MOS of the soldier. (ex. 25B- IT Specialist MOS is 24 Weeks, 11B- Infantry 15 weeks). Depending on the needs of the Army, BCT is conducted at a number of locations. Two of the longest running are the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky and the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Following these basic and advanced training schools, soldiers may opt to continue on with their training and apply for an "ASI" which stands for "Additional Skill Identifier". The ASI allows the Army to take a wide ranging MOS and taper it into a more unique MOS. For instance, take a combat medic whose duties are to provide pre-hospital emergency care. With an ASI the medic can receive additional training and become a Cardiovascular Specialist, a Dialysis Specialist or even a Licensed Practical Nurse.
This training includes pre-commissioning training either at USMA, ROTC, or OCS. After commissioning, officers undergo branch specific training at the Basic Officer Leaders Course, (formerly called Officer Basic Course) which varies in time and location based on their future jobs. Further career development is available through the Army Correspondence Course Program.
Collective training takes place both at the unit's assigned station, but the most intensive collective training takes place at the three Combat Training Centers (CTC); the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Joint Multinational Training Center (JMRC) at the Hohenfels Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany.
Through 2013, the Army is shifting to six geographical commands that will line up with the six geographical Unified Combatant Commands (COCOM):
- United States Army Central headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia
- United States Army North headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas
- United States Army South headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas
- United States Army Europe headquartered at Campbell Barracks, Germany
- United States Army Pacific headquartered at Fort Shafter, Hawaii (eventually to be merged with the Eighth Army).
- United States Army Africa headquartered at Vicenza, Italy
Base Unit Configuration Updates
The Army is also changing its base unit from divisions to brigades. When finished, the active army will have increased its combat brigades from 33 to 48, with similar increases in the National Guard and Reserve forces. Division lineage will be retained, but the divisional HQs will be able to command any brigades, not just brigades that carry their divisional lineage. The central part of this plan is that each brigade will be modular, i.e. all brigades of the same type will be exactly the same, and thus any brigade can be commanded by any division. There will be three major types of ground combat brigades:
Heavy brigades will have around 3,700 troops and be equivalent to a mechanized infantry or tank brigade.
Stryker brigades will have around 3,900 troops and be based on the Stryker family of vehicles. Infantry brigades will have around 3,300 troops and be equivalent to a light infantry or airborne brigade.
In addition, there are combat support and service support modular brigades. Combat support brigades include Aviation brigades, which will come in heavy and light varieties, Fires (artillery) brigades, and Battlefield Surveillance brigades. Combat service support brigades include Sustainment brigades and come in several varieties and serve the standard support role in an army.