Division


Military Review May-June 1998

Structuring Division XXI

by Colonel John J. Twohig, US Army, Major Thomas J. Stokowski, US Army, and Major Bienvenido Rivera, US Army Reserve


ARMY XXI DIVISION represents the first step in the Force XXI process that will restructure the US Army to a capabilities-based force designed to dominate the 21st-century battlefield across a broad spectrum ranging from high-intensity conflict to stability and support actions. This process will reshape the force by turning joint and Army long-term visions into reality through a disciplined, forward-looking methodology. The measured pace of this change will allow us to move more efficiently along a glidepath toward the Army After Next (AAN) and beyond while maintaining readiness and meeting near-term contingencies.

The first step is harnessing the mental agility conveyed by applying information technologies. This is central to the Army XXI Division concept. The next step - AAN - will merge Division XXI's mental agility with physical agility achieved through revolutionary developments from new technologies, organizations and concepts. Another important Division XXI design feature is the seamless incorporation of the Reserve Components. As the 4th Infantry Division transitions to the Division XXI design, it will become an integrated division containing Active, US Army National Guard and US Army Reserve soldiers and units. This article provides a brief overview that introduces Division XXI operational and organizational concepts and highlights specific features of the new organizational designs.

Operations and Organizational Concept

The Army XXI Division provides the joint force commander (JFC) a flexible, combined arms force optimized for offensive operations. The division conducts distributed operations facilitated by information superiority to destroy enemy forces and seize and retain terrain. Additionally, the division will be capable of conducting a full range of stability and support actions in a joint and multinational environment. The operations and organizational (O&O) concept will provide a highly lethal, survivable and maneuverable division against conventional and asymmetrical threats. This combined arms team takes advantage of increased situational understanding to employ its enhanced assets at the right time and place. The enhanced capabilities that make the Army XXI Division significantly different follow:

Distributed operations, as opposed to the deep, close and rear battlefield framework, "consist of those activities and functions executed throughout the height, width and depth of an area of operations designed to accomplish the assigned mission. These activities may be executed simultaneously or sequentially against multiple decisive points or a single decisive point based on the factors of METT-TC [mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available and civilians]."2 In this new framework, actions are grouped according to their purpose rather than geographical location within an area of operations (AO). The new division will usually conduct distributed operations as part of a corps or joint task force (JTF). The higher headquarters orchestrates the division's activities and shapes its fight through information and security operations, long-range fires and other operational means. The higher headquarters tailors the division to meet specific mission requirements and directs the division to "conduct offensive, defensive and stability and support actions to achieve tactical or operational results significant to the JFC's campaign goals."3

The Army XXI Division is designed to operate in an area significantly larger than that of the current Army of Excellence (AOE) division. To operate successfully in this larger area, the division shapes the subordinate brigade fight with enhanced long-range lethal and nonlethal means supported by the benefits of information superiority. In this way, the division achieves optimal advantage before committing forces to decisive operations. This larger AO will dictate that the division commander employ subordinate unit capabilities throughout the battlespace. By synchronizing multiple attacks throughout the battlespace, the commander "defeats specific enemy capabilities, creating an overall effect . . . leading eventually to the enemy's disintegration."4

The parent corps will tailor the division based on METT-T, allocating capabilities not resident within the division. The division can conduct stability and support actions with all or some of its units. Accordingly, it must not deploy organic assets that are unnecessary for specific operations. Army XXI Division capabilities include:

Superior situational understanding, information superiority and distribution-based logistics provide the division commander the mental agility to mass the effects of the division's enhanced systems without having to mass forces. The figure on page 22 compares the AOE with that of Army XXI Division.

New Division Design

At first glance, Army XXI Division appears to be a smaller AOE division version. The division has three maneuver brigades, division artillery (DIVARTY), an aviation brigade, a division support command (DISCOM) and separate battalions that form the division base, as depicted by the figure on page 20. Looks are deceiving. Significant changes have occurred within those organizations that facilitate operational concept execution, exploit system capabilities and contribute to information superiority. These changes create a force that is capable of massing effects across the expanded division AO.

Before discussing the details of each organization, let us review the overarching design principles that drove the organizational changes. As with any unit design, the O&O concept provides the basis for building the organization. The Army XXI Division O&O concept specifies the requirement for tailorable organizations that operate as part of a JTF or corps and are capable of full-dimensional operations, including decisive actions in a high-threat environment. The following principles derived from this guidance:

Finally, Army XXI Division clearly recognizes the need for seamless integration of Active Component (AC), Army National Guard and Army Reserve forces into multi-component organizations to meet current and future operational requirements. This division design marks the first steps in this regard. It imbeds Reserve Component (RC) personnel at the section, squad, platoon and company levels. This integration takes advantage of the RC's unique and critical skills and encourages mutual trust and confidence between young leaders from the three components as they grow together in the Army.

Battle command. The Army XXI Division command and control (C2) system integrates all of the division's functional elements to plan, prepare and execute the full range of operations in all environments. The C2 system provides communications for division command posts (CPs), maneuver brigades, DIVARTY, DISCOM, separate battalions and reconnaissance elements throughout the AO. Based on Army Battle Command System (ABCS) technology, the division's C2 system provides for the management of the distributed division database and provides the relevant common picture (RCP) to all brigade-equivalent units and separate battalions in the division. The C2 system provides a secure, robust and survivable division communications network for voice, data and video. When taking on an expanded C2 role, such as acting as a joint force land component commander/Army forces commander or employed as a separate unit apart from a parent corps, the division will require augmentation commensurate with the operation's scope.

Headquarters company (HHC). The requirement for information superiority prompted the addition of an information operations cell that works directly for the chief of staff. This 6-man cell provides the operational planning and integration for degrading enemy C2, protecting friendly C2, establishing situational understanding and sharing information horizontally and vertically across the division.

To enhance the ability to operate in a joint or combined environment, the division has 10 digitally equipped, 3-man liaison teams (two AC and eight RC) which pass critical information quickly and concisely to lesser-equipped units.

To enhance C2 on-the-move, the division headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) receives the next-generation C2 vehicles. These systems provide fast and highly maneuverable platforms to create a mobile CP and tactical operations center (TOC). These platforms house a full range of systems that provide continuous access to the division's distributed database and to the battlefield RCP.

The dramatic increase in new communications required a full-time G6 staff. Therefore, the signal planning function, along with a 42-soldier cell, migrated from the signal battalion to the G6 section. Led by a lieutenant colonel, it is now a permanent division primary staff.

A new 28-man engineer cell headed by a colonel now helps fill the void left by the elimination of the engineer brigade headquarters. This cell provides the engineer C2, planning and management functions required to execute the division's engineering effort. Additionally, the division rear operations center moved into the division main CP to gain staff efficiencies and consolidate functions underneath the assistant division commander for support.

Signal battalion. To accommodate the expanded battlespace of distributed operations, the signal battalion implements the Warrior Information Network (WIN) concept. WIN increases the number of tactical satellite downlinks in the battalion, adds an additional Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) net control station and drives the modernization of various other items of signal equipment. This modernization reduces the number of line-of-sight, net control and Joint Tactical Information Distribution Systems, yet increases the battalion's capability to support the division. Additionally, moving most of the signal planning functions to the newly created division G6 section streamlines the signal battalion HHC's organization. Other changes are the movement of CSS functions from the HHC to the area companies and the addition of medics for signal sites that operate in remote locations.

Intelligence. To satisfy its stringent requirements for intelligence, the division takes advantage of improvements in collection assets, digital communications and data processing to collect, analyze and disseminate enemy information with unprecedented speed and reliability. Integral to this effort will be the Army XXI Division's enhanced capability to access and incorporate information from joint force, theater and national intelligence systems and to readily fuse information from all intelligence disciplines into a focused all-source product.

The intelligence and reconnaissance units within the division consist of a cavalry squadron, military intelligence (MI) battalion, brigade reconnaissance troop (BRT) and battalion scouts. The cavalry squadron will field a combined ground and air reconnaissance capability built around M1A2 Abrams tanks, the Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) and the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter. Brigades will also have a ground reconnaissance capability in a troop of FSCSs. However, a significant division limitation is that it possesses few human intelligence (HUMINT) and counterintelligence (CI) capabilities and will rely on the corps or theater for HUMINT/CI support and augmentation.

MI battalion. The MI battalion possesses greater intelligence collection capabilities than its AOE predecessor in all areas except CI/HUMINT, and has new, direct links to higher- echelon intelligence collectors, such as Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar Systems and joint unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) (Predator). The addition of tactical UAVs (Outrider) to the MI battalion will provide the division with day-night, all-weather surveillance in the form of electro-optic, infrared or synthetic aperture radar sensor payloads. Three of the tactical UAV elements will be direct support (DS) to the maneuver brigades, with one tactical UAV platoon general support (GS) to the division. New-generation signal intelligence collectors and ground-based common sensors, combined with the division aviation brigade's Advanced Quickfix electronic warfare helicopters, will provide the division with continuous electronic surveillance, as well as a potent capability for electronic attack.

Under G2 direction, the division analysis and control element (ACE) will employ the All Source Analysis System (ASAS) and Common Ground Station (CGS) to link to higher-echelon intelligence collection and to rapidly fuse data into intelligence products for timely dissemination throughout the division. DS Analysis Control Teams (ACTs) will provide beefed-up intelligence processing and analysis at the brigade level. As with the ACE, the ACTs will employ ASAS and CGS to tailor intelligence products to the maneuver brigade's needs. There is also one additional ACT for mission-dependent DS to flex between the aviation brigade and the DIVARTY.

Mobility, countermobility and survivability. The division's organic engineer battalions will focus primarily on mobility while providing only a limited degree of countermobility. The division will rely upon the corps for appropriate support in countermobility, survivability and sustainment engineering. The major difference between the AOE and new division engineer design is the elimination of the engineer brigade HHC and movement of the planning function to the division HHC. Consequently, the three engineer battalions become organic to the maneuver brigades. In addition, the centralized CSS concept removes maintenance and food service functions from the engineer battalions, which streamlines the battalion HHC and line companies. Three RC soldiers are integrated into the division HHC engineer cell, and six of each battalion's 10 medics will come from the RC.

Chemical. There are significant differences in organic chemical assets between the AOE heavy division and the new division design. The AOE division chemical company consisted of a division chemical section; nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) center; company headquarters; four decon platoons; a smoke platoon and an NBC recon platoon. Army XXI Division passes back 134 AC chemical decon and smoke spaces from each heavy division to the corps. This results in a division that retains NBC staff expertise in the division HHC's mobility, countermobility and survivability cells (TOC and Main CPs) and a chemical recon capability in the form of a 21-soldier NBC recon detachment attached to the division cavalry squadron headquarters troop, consisting of six Fox vehicles, each with 3-soldier recon teams. Chemical "passbacks" from the division to the corps create a corps-level recon/decon chemical company and add a fourth smoke platoon to the existing corps mechanized smoke company. These passbacks will be assigned to a corps chemical battalion and will support the corps' subordinate divisions on a mission-dependent basis.

Military police (MP). The division MP company increases in strength by 10 people over the AOE design. Rather than the AOE configuration of three DS and three GS platoons, the Army XXI Division MP company contains three forward support platoons and two division support platoons. The larger company results from an increase in the size of MP squads from nine to 10. The company will benefit from the improved survivability afforded by the RCP and the new armored security vehicles. The company's six medics will come from the RC.

Maneuver. The ground maneuver brigades conduct decisive battles and engagements using combined arms, built around their organic maneuver battalions, engineer battalion, reconnaissance troop and supporting arms and services. Two noteworthy design features concern engineers and logistics. Based on the habitual relationship of engineer battalions to maneuver brigades, and with the elimination of the engineer brigade headquarters, the engineer battalion is now organic to the maneuver brigade. With respect to logistics, centralizing CSS into the DISCOM frees the brigade and battalion commanders to focus on combat operations.

Armor and mechanized infantry battalions. The maneuver battalion changes include reducing the number of weapon systems from 58 to 45 (by eliminating a company), standardizing mortars at four tubes and one fire direction coordinator, and standardized battalion scouts at six systems. The new systems' enhanced capabilities - M1A2 SEP, M2A3 ODS, new mortar, LRAS and FSCS - coupled with improved situational understanding make these smaller battalions more effective and more deployable than the unimproved, larger AOE organizations. Additionally, opting for three 9-man squad dismounted platoon organizations, rather than two 9-man squad organizations under the AOE, increased the number of dismounts within a battalion from 216 to 243. CSS is now centralized into the DISCOM forward support battalion (FSB) except for medics and ambulance sections.

Brigade reconnaissance troop. The addition of the BRT, coupled with LRAS fielding, and the eventual FSCS fielding to battalion- and brigade-level scouts, dramatically improves the brigade's reconnaissance capability. Initially, the troop will have two scout platoons and a direct support "Striker Platoon" from the supporting field artillery battalion. As the FSCS is fielded and demonstrates the Striker capabilities, the Striker platoon will be eliminated and the BRT will grow to three platoons, further enhancing the brigade's organic reconnaissance capability.

Division cavalry squadron. The Division Cavalry (Div Cav) Squadron gives the division commander the flexibility to conduct 24-hour, all-weather reconnaissance and security operations across the division AO, with digital linkage among the squadron, BRT and battalion scouts. The Div Cav conducts screen and guard missions and the entire range of reconnaissance operations. It can also be employed in economy of force roles. The Div Cav continues to be organized into three ground troops and two air troops equipped with M1A2 SEP, M3A3 ODA and initially the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter. These systems will eventually modernize to the FSCS and RAH 66 Comanche, which will expand the Div Cav's reconnaissance and security scope to cover the division's extended AO. Based on the semi-independent nature of its operations, the Div Cav retains organic CSS, including an aviation unit maintenance troop.

Aviation brigade. The aviation brigade conducts attack, reconnaissance, security, C2 and limited GS aviation missions to include the command of attached echelons above division aviation assets. Enhancements to the aviation brigade command, control, communications, computers and intelligence include the addition of liaison teams and additional staffing in the S2 section. The enhanced capabilities of the AH-64D Apache Longbow and the future fielding of the RAH-66 Comanche, coupled with the overall division's information dominance, reduce the requirement for organic attack battalions from two to one. The expanded battlespace and shift to distribution-based logistics necessitated the addition of a third GS aviation company into the GS aviation battalion. This third company, including its associated CSS, will be resourced by the RC.

Fire support. The DIVARTY continues to provide support to committed forces, a means to weight the main effort, limited counterfire and suppression of enemy air defense. It also has the capability to temporarily delay follow-on enemy echelons to preclude defeat in the close fight.

The DIVARTY, through its fire support elements, provides fire support planning and coordination from division through maneuver company level. Additionally, the DIVARTY provides the hook to field artillery assets from corps and the link to the joint force air component commander (JFACC) to gain access to air, sea and space assets. The DIVARTY maintains the same basic structure as in the AOE. However, internal organizations have been streamlined. There are no longer fire support personnel below company level, and Paladin crew size is reduced from nine to eight.

In the future, conversion to Crusader, Army Tactical Missile System Block II, Sense and Destroy Armor, Military Strategic/Tactical Relay and other improvements will further enhance fire support capabilities. Recently, Army Chief of Staff General Dennis J. Reimer decided to standardize the organization of Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) battalions at all echelons to three batteries of six launchers. Therefore, the division MLRS battalion will convert from the originally planned 2x9 plus TAB to 3x6 plus TAB, with one firing battery and associated CSS being resourced in the RC. A Striker platoon is organic to the cannon battalions and is assigned a DS role to the BRT. The Striker concept is only a near-term necessity, since the Striker capabilities will be embedded in the FSCS.

Air defense. The Army XXI Division short-range air defense (SHORAD) battalion's mission is to provide area protection from enemy aerial threats to the maneuver brigades and other division troops. The SHORAD battalion also affords point defense of the division's high-value targets, and its commander serves as the division's air defense coordinator. The SHORAD battalion will accomplish this complex mission with a number of new and upgraded weapons and communication systems.

The high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle-based Avenger platform replaces the less-versatile manportable air defense system, and the M2 Bradley-based Linebacker weapon platform arrives to become the battalion's other major weapon system. The Avenger and Linebacker both feature full "slew-to-cue" capability and fire the reliable Stinger munitions round. These weapon platforms combine with technologically enhanced communication systems to form a fully digitized sensor-to-shooter system of systems capable of quickly and reliably detecting and destroying enemy aerial threats. The new Sentinel low-level air defense radar system and the Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control System instantly project integrated C2 data to air defense systems across the division AO. The EPLRS delivers a rapid exchange of data from sensor to shooter and provides a 2-second update on fast-moving targets.

The SHORAD battalion is also equipped with the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, which allows the battalion to receive and contribute target data to the Joint Surveillance Network. This significant capability makes the SHORAD battalion an essential player in-theater and JFACC counterair operations. The SHORAD battalion has fewer weapon systems than the AOE air defense battalion, but with enhanced target acquisition and weapons lethality, it can provide a greater point defense capability to the Army XXI Division.

Logistics. To provide CSS to the division, the Force XXI DISCOM must have the following capabilities:

In response to these requirements, the DISCOM units were designed based on the following concepts:

Integrated logistics C2 structure. The C2 structure for logistics is interconnected at every level of command from the forward support company (FSC) to the national base. The systems that will make this a reality are the Combat Service Support Control Sys-tem (CSSCS), a sibling to the Maneuver Control System within the ABCS, and the Global Combat Service Support-Army (GCSS-A). CSSCS and GCSS-A provide the logistician with the situational understanding needed to anticipate and integrate logistics requirements at all levels.

Centralized logistics. Centralized logistics entail the merging of maneuver battalion and engineer battalion supply and maintenance assets with traditional FSB support assets into agile, more capable, streamlined organizations. The aim is to gain efficiency and remove much of the burden for logistic planning and execution from the combat commander.

Distribution-based logistics. The creation of a distribution management center (DMC) under the DISCOM HHC support operations section provides the fusion center for distribution operations within the division. Enablers, such as the Palletized Load System (PLS), Load Handling Systems, the Container Roll in and out Pallet and the Container Handling Units, serve as the backbone of a distribution-based CSS system.

Replace forward, fix rear. The high OPTEMPO of the Army XXI Division will require a maintenance response that can keep up with the accelerated pace. When fielded, the Forward Repair System-Heavy (FRS-H) supports a smaller team of multicapable mechanics who quickly diagnose equipment problems and provide the necessary repairs on site.

Combine organizational and DS maintenance into one level. This one-stop maintenance for armor, mechanized infantry and engineers reduces evacuation times and increases the likelihood that the responsible commander can maintain equipment custody while it is repaired. Applying this concept to the other arms within the division is currently under study.

Modular, agile units serve as building blocks. Modularity enables DISCOM units to expand and contract as necessary based on METT-T. The FSC's modular design and the Base Support Companies (BSCs) allow the logistician to "surge" or "mass" logistic assets at the decisive point.

DISCOM HHC. The DISCOM HHC was stream- lined by moving the division materiel management center under support operations. The DMC implements the emerging "battlefield distribution" doctrine and serves as the fusion center for the management and movement of supplies. The division medical operations center and the command food service advisers were moved to the division HHC.

FSBs. Centralized logistics consolidated the maneuver battalions' support assets with the FSB's assets to create a new organization - the FSC. The FSC provides habitual CSS to a maneuver battalion such as one-level maintenance (organization and DS consolidated), food service, supply support, transportation and logistics management. Medical support continues to be organic to the maneuver battalions.

The maneuver battalion S4 staff continues to be the commander's principal planner for battalion logistics, while the FSC commander executes the logistics plans. Internal to the maneuver battalion, the redesign requires a "culture" change. The elimination of the battalion maintenance officer makes the FSC commander directly responsible to the maneuver battalion commander for the battalion's maintenance posture.

Another new organization within the FSB - the BSC - provides multifunctional DS (maintenance and supply support) to the units normally task-organized under the maneuver brigade and backup support to the FSCs.

The forward support medical company (FSMC) continues to provide level I and level II medical support to units within the brigade AO. The capabilities of the maneuver battalions' organic medical platoons were optimized for medical evacuation. The FSMC treatment capability was enhanced to provide medical care as close to the point of injury as possible.

Division support battalion (DSB). The Division XXI design streamlines the main support battalion (MSB) and focuses it on support to the division-troop base. Consequently, the MSB becomes the division support battalion (DSB). Streamlining measures included removing redundant Authorized Stockage List items and combining two maintenance companies into one. While eliminating redundancy was a primary tool for achieving savings, the DSB does still maintain the backup (one day of supply) capability for fuel to the division as a whole.

The transportation motor transport company (TMT) was modernized by making the PLS its primary distribution system (33 PLS systems). The DISCOM will retain its current authorized 24 heavy equipment transport systems. Additionally, medical support to the division base and the division as a whole (for certain specialized areas) is provided by the division support medical company.

Division aviation support battalion. The division aviation support battalion (DASB) continues to provide DS support to the aviation brigade, including the Div Cav squadron. The DASB is the only battalion-size unit within the DISCOM that did not go through an organizational design overhaul. The DASB's AO has not changed (Division Support Area or DSA). However, the structure within the DASB follows the precept of seamless integration of the RC. With-in the DASB, the Class III and V platoons within the headquarters and supply company are RC organizations, with the exception of aviation fuel laboratory technicians, who are AC soldiers. With-in the aviation intermediate maintenance company, a small number of RC mechanics were included to support the additional workload of a third GS aviation company.

In other DISCOM units, RC soldiers provide an important role such as the third medic (en route care) in all track ambulances within the DISCOM and maneuver battalion medical platoons. Some functions that previously resided at division level, such as water production and certain communications and electronic maintenance services, migrated to the corps level.

The Army's first step along the Force XXI path has been a significant one. The new division design and operational concept transition the Army from the Cold War, threat-based AOE to a capabilities-based force able to dominate throughout the spectrum of conflict and to effectively perform stability and support actions. This new division truly harnesses the mental agility brought on by information superiority and situational understanding. Though this smaller, more deployable division provides a force capable of conducting distributed operations over broader and expanded areas with enhanced lethality, survivability, sustainability and OPTEMPO, it is not our final end state. The Army remains committed to the Force XXI process and the path toward AAN and beyond. MR


1. Conservative Heavy Division Operations and Organizational (O&O) Concept, 23 January 1998, CADD, CGSC, Fort Leavenworth , Kansas, 1.
2. 1998 Final Draft US Army Field Manual (FM) 100-40, Tactics, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office).
3. Conservative Heavy Division O&O Concept, 2.
4. Ibid, 3.
5. Ibid, 3-4.


Colonel John J. Twohig is director, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Force Design Directorate, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He received a B.S. from the US Military Academy (USMA), an M.S. from Springfield College and an M.M.A.S. from the US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Fort Leavenworth. He is also a US Army War College graduate. He has held a variety of command and staff positions in the Continental United States (CONUS) and Southeast Asia, including commander, Detachment 3, Joint Task Force Full Accounting, Vientiane, Laos Peoples Democratic Republic; commander, 3d Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; major command analyst, Program Development Division, Program Analysis Evaluation Directorate, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.; chief, G3 Operations, 10th Mountain Division (Light), and XO, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 10th Division Artillery, Fort Drum, New York.

Major Thomas J. Stokowski is a force design analyst in the TRADOC Force Design Directorate, Fort Leavenworth. He received a B.S. from USMA, and is a CGSC graduate. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions in CONUS, Alaska and Europe, including deputy G2, and chief, Division Analysis and Control Element, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and plans officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Headquarters, US Army Europe and 7th Army, Heidelberg, Germany.

Major Bienvenido Rivera, USAR, is a force structure analyst with the TRADOC Force Design Directorate, Fort Leavenworth. He received a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico, and he is a CGSC graduate. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions in CONUS, Europe and Puerto Rico, including S2/3, 378th Support Battalion (Corps), Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania; and S3, 246th Quartermaster Battalion (Mortuary Affairs), Ramey, Puerto Rico.