Fires brigade

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Under the restructuring of the United States Army initiatives, when Brigade Combat Teams replaced divisions as the primary maneuver unit, those division artillery resources that did not decentralize to the BCTs were placed in fires brigades. The original intent had been to assign both kinetic (ie., physically destructive) artillery as well as non-kinetic resources such as electronic warfare to them,[1] but the deployed form has only kinetic means as well as resources that support them in target acquisition. Army electronic warfare is restricted to signals intelligence collection and the coordination of electronic attack by other services.[2]

Ten to twelve such brigades are planned, half active and half reserve. Now-flexible division headquarters typically would control two fires brigades.

Some of the functions previously under DIVARTY, such as 105mm howitzers in light units and 155mm howitzers in heavy units, decentralized to the BCT. In light units, 155mm support remains at the fires brigade, which is focused less on direct support and more planning and execution for joint fire support operations. Its capabilities to affect the enemy emphasized newer systems to carry out precision-strikes, counterstrikes and shaping, which utilized lethal and non-lethal means.

Organization

In general, these brigades are organized in heavy and light versions, a typical organization of which is shown below. The only constant firing unit is a rocket/missile battalion, with either MLRS or HIMARS. Their headquarters are intended to control one to six firing battalions; typical assignments are shown below.


Heavy

Heavy
Target Acquisition Battery
Signal company
Brigade Special Troops Battalion
future unmanned aerial vehicle battery

Some heavy brigades also include M109 howitzers.

Target acquisition

Target acquisition batteries' base equipment includes AN/TPQ-46 short range and AN/TPQ-37 long range counterbattery radars. are likely to be supplemented with additional counterbattery radars, and a geophysical MASINT sensor, the Unattended Transient Acoustic MASINT Sensor (UTAMS).

Brigade support battalion

This unit operates operates an Ammunition Transfer holding Point (ATHP) in the brigade support area (BSA), and a Quartermaster Collection Company (MA) for Mortuary Affairs Support. The BSBs of the Fires Brigade contains a headquarters and headquarters company, a distribution company, a field maintenance company, and Forward Support Companies (FSC) designed to support the particular type of field artillery battalion of which the brigade is comprised (i.e., Paladin, MLRS, towed). It does not contain a medical[3] or an engineer company.

Current uses

Concern has been expressed that fires brigades receive inadequate field experience, when the main Army missions are counterinsurgency and counterterrorism.[4]

References

  1. Samuel R. White, Jr. (November-December 2005), "The Fires Brigade: Not Your Daddy’s FFA HQ", Field Artillery Magazine
  2. FM3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations, Department of the Army, 2009
  3. FM 4-90 (FM 4-90.7) Brigade Support Battalion, U.S. Army, August 2010, pp. 1-11 to 1-12
  4. John C. Hale (1 January 2010), "Eating Soup with a Spoon: The employment of Fires brigades in the Global War on Terrorism", Fires