Fort Bliss will be changing the equipment and mission for of some its soldiers in 2019.
The U.S. Army announced Thursday the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss will convert from a Stryker Brigade Combat Team to an Armored Brigade Combat Team. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Carson, Colo. will convert from an Infantry Brigade Combat Team to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
KTSM was the only local station present as Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the Deputy Chief of Staff, made the announcement via a conference call from the Pentagon.
“Brigade Combat teams are the Army’s close combat force,” Lt. Gen. Anderson said. “Given the threats and challenges ahead, it’s imperative the Army have a clear and coherent vision of where we want to be in the coming years.”
The conversion is part of the Army’s efforts to build a more deadly force.
“Converting a brigade combat team from infantry to armor insures the Army remains the world’s most lethal ground combat force, able to deploy, fight and win against any adversary, anytime and anywhere,” Secretary of the Army Mark Esper said.
“The Army leadership determined that we needed to convert two brigade combat teams to armor and Stryker in order to deter our near-peer adversaries or defeat them if required,” Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, director of force management, said.
Tom Thomas, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, says Thursday’s announcement shows how important Fort Bliss is to the Army.
“As far as Fort Bliss is concerned, this is a very good thing for them,” Thomas said.
Lt. Gen. Anderson said it’s too early to tell exactly how the conversion may increase or decrease the number of soldiers at Fort Bliss. Thomas said most people won’t notice a difference in El Paso.
The decision was based on the military value analysis process. Anderson noted a key consideration making sure installations have the needed facilities. He also said that Fort Bliss scored high on the training scale because of its size.
Conversion of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division will begin in the spring of 2019 followed by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in the spring of 2020.
“A lot of the Army’s future lies here on our post,” Thomas said.
Following the conversion, there will be 58 brigade combat teams in the regular Army and the Army National Guard. 16 of the 58 will be Armored Brigade Combat Teams.