Adding Strykers, Cutting Tanks

An eight-wheel Stryker vehicle from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment is used in a Joint Task Force-East training exercise Sept. 3, 2009, at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo/Released)

An eight-wheel Stryker vehicle from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment is used in a Joint Task Force-East training exercise Sept. 3, 2009, at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo/Released)

Army to switch 2 heavy brigades to Strykers

Two heavy brigade combat teams will vanish by 2013 to make way for two new Stryker brigades, bringing the Army’s number of active SBCTs to eight and taking another bite out of its armor formations.

Planning documents obtained by Army Times say 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, will be converted to SBCTs beginning in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, respectively, and will take 24 months to become fully operational.

While adding a couple more Stryker brigades probably makes sense, I’m not sure I’d do it at the expense of two heavy brigades.


  1. “And the heavy armor will go to a scrap yard – not the National Guard.”

    Yup Bram,

    And after the scrap yard the raw steel be sold to Russia, who will melt it down to make T-90’s and Mig-29’s and then the Ruskis will sell the finished products to Iran, Libya and Syria.

    The circle of an Obama-jerk!

  2. The Strykers have been pretty useful in Iraq, in some areas much more so than heavy armor. The capability is great to have, and their mobility and ease of transport are huge pluses as well. I’m guessing that Gates and co. are projecting future wars to look more like Iraq than the Fulda Gap, and are changing the force structure accordingly.

    I don’t know how useful Strykers are in the Mountains of Afghanistan, but they can’t be any more limited than heavy armor.

    Flexibility in force structure seems a good thing to me, though scraping the armor seems to be a very bad idea.

  3. Three infantry battalions (SBCT) vs two combined arms battalions (HBCT) = 3x as many infantry boots on the ground in an SBCT, so it’s not hard to see the logic here given current and future fights.

    We’ve got enough tanks in the Guard that you could “heavy up” an SBCT pretty quickly if you had to.

  4. Though I will say that the loss of 3rd ACR is a major blow … it’s the only unit left in the Army that does effective, organic air-ground operations and the only formation that can perform a covering force mission (though admittedly the only time we’ll need that capability in the foreseeable future is if the North Koreans attack).

    When that conversion is done there will be no heavy cavalry formations left, just medium, light, and SBCTs.

  5. This isn’t a sudden, “spur-of-the-moment” thing. People like Lonnie Shoultz, Ralph Zumbro, Mike Sparks, and Douglass MacGreggor sounded the alarm on this scheme TEN YEARS AGO… and most of you didn’t listen.

    It gets even scarier when you consider that the Russians are striking 20000+ Main Battle Tanks from their inventory — it’s a no-brainer that they’ll liquidate brand-new T-72s and T-80s at scrap cost;

    Expect thousands to flood the Third World market.

    How well do you imagine a Stryker Brigade can fend-off a couple-hundred T-72s?

  6. I expect their Javelin teams would fire two missiles apiece and they’d continue the advance.

    Oh, wait. Not supposed to burst the fantasies of the big-army big-tanks crowd.

  7. I Think it is not as bad an idea as alot of you may think. The U.S. arsenal has enough firepower and technology in the airforce alone to Annihilated heavy enemy armored columns. Thats provided that you don’t have enough faith in a Styker units to at least stand their ground against one. I would believe that thinking so about a Stryker unit would be a grave mistake for any enemy commander because, what they do bring to the table is a Maneuverability and Comparable firepower that is unmatched by all other mechanized forces that I know of. The idea of them is to all this for a military that was very heavy and light orientated, with nothing to bridge that gap. The idea of putting so much stock in heavy armored columns has become obsolete in recent time because they are not as practical as they use to be. This was more than proven with the russians when they invaded the Chez republic. The world found out that heavy armor is not cut out for urban warfare as much as it use to be. In recent years, warfare has become based on mostly Guerrilla tatics and to combat that, you need units that are more Maneuverable. This is something, to me, that tanks are no longer able to compete with. As a bit of a side note, The Russians blunder with there tanks was one of the many reason that the U.S. decided to introduce medium(stryker) forces. I believe with the air power the U.S. has allows us to reduce how heavy are armed force need to be and gives an ability to arm ourselve more practically for modern warfare. Lighter mechanized units will give us more speed, precision and Maneuverability on the ground. Matched with our superior airpower, I would bet on us, even without tanks.

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