Does the U.S. Army Need Divisions?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Secretary of the Army Thomas White stated in a 2001 interview that he envisions flattening the Army organization along the lines of civilian industry and eventually eliminating divisions. This is not a new idea, but it does represent the highest level of interest put forth in eliminating the division echelon. There exists a debate, both within and outside of the Army, on whether the division echelon is necessary. This paper examines the need for divisions using the following methodology. The criteria of span of command and control, communications technology, and the role of the division are used to discuss doctrine, history, and theory. A review of current doctrine examines whether there is a hole in the doctrine that requires a change. The history section follows the evolution of the current division by studying the general history of the division, the evolution of the modern division, and studies the 1st Infantry Division during the 20th Century. The theory section presents the current and recent arguments for both eliminating and retaining the division. The most common argument for eliminating the division is that future technology will enable commanders to increase their span of command and control. Opponents disagree, stating that technology is an enabler, not a replacement. The review of current doctrine revealed no shortcoming that needs addressed. The history discussion revealed that the span of command and control fluctuated very little over the past century. Span of command and control remains an issue of the human element. What has changed, in some cases drastically, is communications technology and the role of the division. Technological advances allow a significant amount of information to be collected, sent, and received.
- Military Forces and Organizations