Dear Col. Lang: If we're indeed looking at 25 brigades by 2014 with perhaps further cuts in the remaining decade (I suspect 20 brigades would be the floor that the Army would be willing to accept), perhaps the Army could institute a few changes in deployment policy. First, shorten rotation cycles to 6 months with 24 mos dwell time (24mos is now the policy as of 2012). The Army announced last year that it would "regionally align" forces. One of the biggest obstacles to retention of qualified personnel has been long deployment cycles with little dwell time. I Corps (or even 2ID if DoD sees it fit to withdraw the division HQ entirely after 2015) could focus on ROK. As future BCT structure allows, the Army could allocate 4 BCTs plus a fires bde to 2ID at Lewis. Yakima isn't an ideal training ground for operations in ROK, but a BCT could work up battalion and brigade-level integration prior to deployment in ROK. Terrain familiarization probably would take a month after deployment, and the outgoing brigade should provide overlap coverage during this period. I'd also cancel proposed changes in USFK dependents policy. If a war breaks out in ROK, we would have to execute a massive NEO. If shooting starts, the last thing anybody in 2ID needs is wondering whether his family would be able to successfully run a gauntlet to evacuation sites. Second, cross-train and cross-fertilize personnel within combat arms. Longer dwell time means there's no longer an excuse to take shortcuts in training prior to deployment. Branch-specific core competencies must be maintained, but too often a tank coy CO has little understanding of what light infantry can and cannot accomplish even though the Army has been practicing cross-attachment since WWII. (It was a little better with mechanized infantry, but heavy-light and light-heavy integration has been a problem that's been around after every major war IMO as the Army has a tendency to forget very expensive lessons.) With the adoption of Combined Arms Battalion and the recent decision to restore a third maneuver BN to BCT (no more RSTA squadrons pretending to be a substitute), Gen. Dempsey had set in motion these overdue changes that would address imbalances at tactical level when he was at TRADOC. I would also like to see light infantry spend more time training with heavy BCTs instead of spending one or two weeks a year. Tank-infantry coordination certainly isn't rocket science, but it takes repetition to build competence. The Ranger BNs paid a terrible price at Cisterna while the First Special Service Force avoided it during its advance to Rome. Gen. Frederick had made certain that his men trained with TF Howze. I believe the Army will become a cadre force and cross-training will be criticial as was the case with the Reichheer during the interwar period. Third, retain and preserve the "seed corn" for future force transformation. Although its impact on reconnaissance has been institutionalized down to the small unit level, there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding the potential impact of robotics on logistics, economy of force and security operations at tactical level, etc. While investing in new systems might be fine in an ideal world of unlimited budget but in an era of austerity, I believe the retention of right personnel is more important than keeping up with generational upgrades. Men like Guderian adn Patton ironed out tactical doctrines while training with cardboard tanks mounted on bicycles or cars. Continued investment on R&D is obviously critical, but IMHO personnel matter just as much if not more. I strongly suspect that the Army senior leadership will opt for new weapon systems and cut training, but I think this would be a serious mistake. If 20 brigades is the likely floor for the active force, I think one heavy/Stryker hybrid division (2ID if the United States keeps a BCT in ROK or the 1st Cav if we don't), 82AB, 101AB, 1ID, independent light infantry brigades (IIRC AFRICOM is supposed to get a regionally aligned bde and I also expect one bde to remain in Europe) plus fires brigades could be one possible option for the near future. Essentially, 82AB and 101AB would remain as light infantry divisions with unique set of capabilities (However, I'd also attach a tank BN to each division's TO&E). I'd suggest that 1ID should become a test-bed division which would combine heavy, Stryker, light and air assault bdes and work on operational art with future force transformation in mind. A large portion of the existing heavy force will be transferred to reserve component (NG). IMHO that's not a problem as current trends in offense-defense balance for armor probably will not be favorable for some time. And there will be a lot of experienced tankers, infantrymen and gunners who will become available as RIF takes place. (There are enough young tankers who'd even pay their own money to train once a month. And crew stability is an asset among NG armor units as we've seen over the years at NTC) The key again would be whether the senior leadership can make sure there are enough resources allocated to training not only active units but NG units who will assume a critical role (at least until we know that armor has indeed gone the way of horse cavalry).