As we enter the 21st century, one of the Army’s top priorities is to transform formations that were designed for the Cold War into responsive, rapidly deployable, lethal combat units. Although optimized to handle small-scale contingencies, with augmentation the brigade combat team will be capable of full-spectrum operations ranging from peacekeeping and humanitarian missions to decisive operations in a major theater of war.
The first of these new units, named the 2d Infantry Division Initial Brigade Combat Team, is forming at Fort Lewis, Wash., and will train for the next 20 months. The objective is a trained and ready combat force by December 2001. A second brigade will form at Fort Lewis immediately thereafter, followed by the transformation of more brigades at other locations.
The challenge for the Signal Regiment is to ensure that Signal support for these new units provides commanders access to the right information at the right place and the right time. The brigade’s heavy reliance on information superiority calls for a robust communications and information systems architecture. Signal Regiment soldiers will play a vital role in achieving the full potential of this brigade’s operational capabilities. Situation awareness, achieved through expert use of advanced information systems, is key to the brigade’s lethality and survivability.
The BCT is a permanently task-organized combat unit -- engineer, artillery, reconnaissance, anti-armor, intelligence, Signal and other functional-area capabilities are part of the IBCT. The brigade’s unique design includes an organic Signal company that brings the newest information technology to the warfighter. Signal Regiment soldiers will use the latest in commercial technology, adapted for Army use, to provide voice, video and data-switching capabilities to the brigade.
IBCT Signal company training commences at Fort Gordon, Ga., this summer using a modified cohort process. IBCT Signal company soldiers will learn the skills necessary to operate the tactical Internet, a new integrated switch called the Brigade Subscriber Node, multichannel triband satellite communications terminals and brigade tactical operations center networks, as well as learn information-assurance skills critical to network survivability.
Details for our Signal soldiers are still being worked, but June 1 was the key date for soldiers to be assigned to Fort Lewis. On June 1, most of these soldiers were on temporary duty at Fort Gordon enroute to Fort Lewis to learn about the key digital, automated and communications systems that will provide IBCT with the power of information. On Sept. 1, all these soldiers will be formed at Lewis to begin their collective training in the brigade on a timeline for full-combat-ready status by September 2001.
As I have said in previous Army Communicator editions, change is a way of life for our Army. The Regiment’s ability to provide information to the warfighter is key to the success of our Army. All of us need to keep a close watch on the events that will occur at Fort Lewis over the coming years, as these will lead the way for our Army transformation. Stay tuned.
The challenge for the Regiment is to ensure that Signal support ... provides commanders access to the right information at the right place and the right time. The brigade's reliance on information superiority calls for a robust communications and information-systems architecture. Signal soldiers will play a vital role in achieving the full potential of (the IBCT)'s operational capabilities.
Back issues on-line | "Most requested" articles | Article search | Subscriptions | Writer's guide
Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.