Brigade combat team

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Over 4,000 members of the 1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division in a special formation for a farewell ceremony.

The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branch maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. A brigade combat team is generally commanded by a colonel (O-6), but in rare instances it is commanded by a brigadier general. A brigade combat team carries with it support units necessary to sustain its operations away from its parent division. BCTs contain organic artillery support, formerly received from the division artillery (DIVARTY).

Currently, the U.S. Army is converting its brigades into the new Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Program.[1] In this program, divisions that previously had not deployed individual brigades due to lack of integral support have now been restructured. The 1st Armored Division, 25th Infantry Division, etc. now have the ability to deploy one or more BCTs anywhere in the world. These BCTs will be able to stand on their own, like a division in miniature. The soldiers assigned to a BCT will stay at their assignment for three years; this is intended to bolster readiness and improve unit cohesion.

Infantry Brigade Combat Team[edit]

Infantry Brigade Combat Team Table of Organization

The infantry brigade combat team is organized around three battalions of infantry. Each type of brigade (light infantry, air assault, or airborne) has the same basic organization. Each infantry brigade is capable of air assault operations, whether or not it is officially designated as an air assault brigade. Also, most units typically maneuver in HMMWVs when deployed and operate as "motorized infantry" to facilitate speed of movement.

The infantry brigade combat team consists of seven battalions: one cavalry (RSTA), one brigade support, one engineer, three infantry and one field artillery. [2]

Infantry Battalion (× 3)[edit]

Reconnaissance Squadron[edit]

Field Artillery[edit]

Brigade Engineer Battalion[edit]

Brigade Support Battalion[edit]

Stryker Brigade Combat Team[edit]

Stryker Brigade Combat Team Table of Organization

The Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) is a mechanized infantry force structured around the Stryker eight-wheeled variant of the General Dynamics LAV III, chosen as "interim armored vehicle" for the US Army. A full Stryker brigade was intended to be C-130 Hercules air transportable into theatre within 96 hours, while a division-sized force is expected to need 120 hours. The Stryker brigade is an organic combined arms unit of light armored vehicles, and is organized differently than the infantry or armored brigade combat teams. The Stryker brigades are being used to implement network-centric warfare doctrines, and are intended to fill a gap between the United States' highly mobile light infantry and its much heavier armored infantry. The BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program is the planned successor of the interim armored vehicle.

Each Stryker brigade combat team consists of three infantry battalions, one reconnaissance (cavalry) squadron, one fires (artillery) battalion, one brigade support battalion, one brigade headquarters and headquarters company, one network support company, one military intelligence company, one engineer company, and one anti-tank company. Unlike the infantry and armored BCTs, there is neither a brigade special troops battalion nor forward support companies in the brigade support battalion for the five maneuver elements. [2]

Infantry Battalion[edit]

Reconnaissance Squadron[edit]

Field Artillery[edit]

Mobile Gun System

Brigade Support Battalion[edit]

Individual Companies[edit]

Stryker vehicles[edit]

Armored Brigade Combat Team[edit]

Armored Brigade Combat Team Table of Organization

The armored brigade combat team is the army's primary armored force. It was designed around combined arms battalions that contain both M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Other vehicles, such as HMMWVs and variants of the M113 armored personnel carrier, operate in a supporting role. In the future, it will also contain vehicles from the BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program.

An armored brigade combat team consists of seven battalions: three combined arms, one cavalry (RSTA), one artillery, one engineer and one brigade support battalion. Prior to 2012, the armored brigade combat team was named the heavy brigade combat team. [2]

An ABCT includes 60 Abrams tanks, 60 Bradley IFVs, and 112 M113 vehicles. The operational cost per mile with these combat systems is $66,735 per mile. The range of the Abrams limits the brigade to 205 miles, requiring fuel every 12 hours. The brigade needs $195,000 gallons of fuel, which is transported by 15 5,000-gallon M969A1 tankers and 48 2,500-gallon M978 tankers.[3]

Combined Arms Battalion (× 3)[edit]

Armored Reconnaissance Squadron[edit]

Field Artillery[edit]

Brigade Engineer Battalion[edit]

Brigade Support Battalion[edit]


The U.S. Army plans to implement elements of the BCT Modernization program in 2010. This program utilizes elements from the Future Combat Systems Program that was canceled in early 2009.

The program comes in two segments. The first to be implemented would be the Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team Capability Package (Early IBCT Package), which would modernize infantry brigade combat teams. The second to be implemented would be the Follow-on Incremental Capability package, which could modernize all brigades.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brigade Unit of Action
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ Abrams Dieselization Project: Doing the Math -, 7 November 2013