- The Washington Times - Friday, June 22, 2012

More than 3,000 soldiers will begin supporting missions in Africa next year as part of a new reorganization plan that deploys troops quickly to regional hot spots, Army officials say.

Called the “regional alignment concept,” the plan makes Army brigade combat teams available to a regional commander for up to a year. It will be tested in March with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team 1st Infantry Division.

“This does not mean that [the brigade] is going to deploy en masse to Africa. Not at all,” said British army Col. Andrew Dennis, who is working with the U.S. Army as division chief of the Army Security Cooperation Policy and Concepts Division for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

“What it does mean is that [the brigade] is going to be the sourcing solution of preference to provide troops or [U.S. Africa Command] to carry out their security cooperation requirements,” he said Thursday at a Pentagon briefing.

Many of the troops will continue to be based in the U.S. but will deploy as needed for specific missions.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the reorganization will enable the Army to shift its focus to other regions of the world as the war winds down in Afghanistan.

“It’s important to me that we continue to apply the lessons of more than 10 years of continuous combat,” Gen. Odierno said. “We will be leaner. We’ll be a more agile Army that is an adaptive, innovative, versatile and ready component of the joint force.

“Our charter will remain to be the best-manned, best-equipped, best-trained and best-led land force in the world, to be decisive for a broad range of missions.”

• Kristina Wong can be reached at kwong@washingtontimes.com.

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