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In 2003, the U.S. Army began implementing a set of ambitious changes to its force structure to address the challenges of waging war and conducting extended stabilization operations. A key change involved transitioning the Army from a traditional, division-based force into a brigade-based force, a concept that has come to be known as "modularity." Some important capabilities that were formerly part of the host division were made organic to the brigade combat team organization. The Army also reduced the range of combat brigade types from 17 to three: infantry, Stryker, and heavy. Congress has taken an interest in the Army's transition to a modular force and requested a study of the process and outcomes of the initiative. The U.S. Department of Defense asked RAND to prepare a study addressing the questions posed by Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, including the Army's capability to provide ground support to joint operations; its flexibility and versatility across a range of operations; the tactical, operational, and strategic risks it faces under the new force structure; and the sufficiency of the modular force structure's end strength. Analyses, interviews, and lessons learned from current operations indicate that the Army's modular force structure is superior to the division-based structure in terms of deployability, employability, and sustainability.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Impetus for Modularity

  • Chapter Three

    Determining the Army's Operational Capability to Contribute Land Power to Joint Operations

  • Chapter Four

    The Ability to Manage the Flexibility and Versatility of Army Forces Across the Range of Military Operations

  • Chapter Five

    Risk Associated with the Current Force Structure

  • Chapter Six

    The Required and Planned End Strength of the Army

  • Appendix

    Other Factors to Consider

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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