By Ann Roosevelt

The Army will convert the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, to a Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) from a modular heavy brigade combat team to be ready in 2013.

1-1 AD will convert to the modular SBCT structure of approximately 4,160 soldiers effective in January 2011, an increase of about 420 military authorizations.

This also means more than 330 Stryker vehicles would be required replace the tanks and Bradleys 1-1 currently has as a heavy BCT. General Dynamics [GD] produces Stryker vehicles in 10 variants.

This conversion will take approximately 24 months for the unit to conduct new equipment training, fielding and collective training.

1-1 AD is currently serving in Iraq. It will convert to an SBCT when it returns.

The unit will enter the available force pool by second quarter fiscal year 2013.

In 1991, 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, having returned from Operation Desert Storm, was reflagged as the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division as part of the initial drawdown of U.S. forces in Europe. The reflagged 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division adopted the nickname of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, “Ready First.”

In 2007, as part of Army transformation, Ready First was directed to inactivate and leave Germany for Ft. Bliss. The reorganized 1st BCT was formally activated in October 2008. Building the new heavy brigade, 1-1AD trained and prepared for deployment in November 2009 to Iraq.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey made the decision to convert 1-1AD to a Stryker brigade, based on the current strategic force mix assessment and the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review, which directed the Army to convert an HBCT to an SBCT by FY2013, a service spokesman said. The assessment of future mix of missions requires great flexibility and agility to operate among diverse populations, with a wide range of partners in a variety of environments.

The Army currently operates six active component SBCTs and one reserve component SBCT. The conversion of an HBCT to an SBCT at Fort Bliss would be the Army’s 7th active component SBCT and 8th SBCT overall.

Active component SBCTs include: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Fort Lewis, Wash.; and Germany. The reserve SBCT is a National Guard unit located in Pennsylvania.