Agreement forms two new active/Guard divisions

by Sgt. Jack Siemieniec

WASHINGTON(Army News Service, Oct. 15, 1998) --Two new integrated divisions were formed Oct. 12 with signing of a memorandum of agreement between the active Army and National Guard.

The new divisions will have full active-duty headquarters staffs and three enhanced Army National Guard brigades in each.

A mechanized infantry division will be based at Fort Riley, Kan., with a forward element at Fort Jackson, S.C. Its units will be North Carolina's 30th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, South Carolina's 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade and Georgia's 48th Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

Fort Carson, Colo., will be home to a light infantry division. Its units will be the 39th Infantry Brigade of Arkansas, the 41st Infantry Brigade of Oregon and the 45th Infantry Brigade of Oklahoma.

The divisions are described as a new concept and will be additional to the already existing 10 active-duty and eight National Guard divisions. With the new units, the Total Army will have 20 divisions. The brigades chosen to comprise the new divisions are six of the 15 current "Enhanced Brigades" of the National Guard.

The agreement creating the divisions was signed during a breakfast at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army. Inking their names were Gen. Thomas Schwartz, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command; Maj. Gen. Roger Schultz, director of the Army National Guard; and the adjutant generals of the six states involved.

The memorandum sets basic operational procedures for the units. It provides for command and control, personnel, funding, training and other issues as well as mobilization and deployment details.

Speaking at the breakfast, Schwartz emphasized the theme of "One team, one fight, one future."

"We don't want to talk about 480,000 soldiers, we want to talk about 1.1 million soldiers represented in this room," he said. We don't want to talk about 10 divisions, we want to talk about 18 divisions represented here.

"So the team goes on, it becomes defined by how we describe it and how we talk about it. I think we can carry that forward and it will make a difference. ... I think we've got the team and have got the leadership to make that happen.

"This is the future of our country and our Army, right here in this MOA. And I've got to tell you, I'm about as high on this as I've ever been on anything because there's so many possibilities for what we're doing because of the resources and people and mission."

The agreement is the final product of a process begun in 1995 when the Commission on Roles and Missions recommended a greater integration and cooperation between the Army's active and Reserve components, according to FORSCOM officials.

The new divisions are currently scheduled to be fully operational by October 1999.

In his remarks, Schwartz was emphatic to his audience of senior active and Reserve Army leadership. "Our togetherness, our oneness, in this room, is non-negotiable. The debate's over. We are together; we're going to work this thing. Let's quit talking about this. Let's get on with it. One team, one fight, one future: It's not just a bumper sticker. It's our battle cry."

One of the two new division commanders, Maj. Gen. John Riggs, the commanding general of Fort Carson, said the new agreement is a "win-win" situation for the Army.

"Right now my principal focus is obviously on the training of the active component soldiers at Fort Carson. In the future, I would say at least 50 percent, if not more, of my focus and 100 percent of the focus of my assistant division commander and a good portion of my staff will go into the training of the Army National Guard forces that we're responsible for. So we see this as a unique opportunity, a great opportunity."

Speaking for the Guard, Schultz said, "We are not just outlining new relationships with the active force, we are outlining new responsibilities between the Guard and our active Army. So I say this morning, this is evidence of one team in action, working together for one future."