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Engineer Force-Modernization Strategy.

The quest for excellence continues in TRADOC to keep all U.S. Army engineers well organized and equipped so they can continue to be the best Corps of Engineers in the world. General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army, has shown us how we are going to move toward the future. The Engineer Regiment will transform itself in parallel with the Army Transformation plan. To accomplish this, our leadership has produced a clear bottom line for the transformation strategy for our Corps of Engineers. We will--

* Focus primarily on mobility, countermobility, and survivability systems.

* Continue integration of digital-terrain support through the current fielding schedule.

* Take risks in general engineering by only sustaining and recapitalizing the existing capabilities.

What does that really mean? In the figure on page 5, the first priority involves the engineers depicted on the top row. They will support the force called the Counterattack (CATK) Corps; continue with the Force XXI digitization; and be modernized with the Grizzly, Wolverine, and Bradley. The role of the CATK Corps is to follow the light and medium forces into theater to strike the decisive blow to threat forces, ending high-intensity conflict. The 1st Cavalry Division, the 3d Mechanized Division, the 4th Mechanized Division, and the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment will see the best America has to offer in heavy "we-didn't-come-hereto-play" engineer equipment.

The forward-deployed engineers in Germany, Korea, and other OCONUS areas are part of the Early-Entry Force (second row of the figure). They will get deliberate sustainment programs to keep what they have in good shape. This means system depot-level rebuild programs and some replacement fielding of the same models these units have now. They are also the first to get the next-generation Future Combat System (FCS.) While they take good care of their M113 armored personnel carriers, they can look forward to radically changing warfare as we know it when they receive the FCS!

Not forgotten are our light engineers (third row of the figure). They are called the "Forced-Entry Force" with good reason. Seeing hundreds of helicopters and thousands of parachutes still stops the threat dead in its tracks. The current fielding of the deployable universal combat earthmover (DEUCE) and the high-mobility engineer excavator (HMEE) will keep the light engineers highly deployable and highly capable. They will also get some deliberate sustainment programs to keep current equipment going until transformation to the Objective Force.

Our engineers at Fort Lewis, Washington, bring into reality the deployable, lethal, and aggressive engineer company of the Initial Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) (see article, page 6). These engineers will define how future medium-equipped engineers will do business. Pursuit of the best equipment worthy of these pathfinders is the total focus of many here at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Light rapid bridging, a new armored engineer squad vehicle, and the digitization of command-and-control systems similar to Force XXI systems are what these engineers will use to support the IBCT.

Topographic engineers, the map makers of the past, are becoming the terrain-visualization experts of the future. Tailored hard-copy and digital maps will be there for the soldiers in the field who need them. They will be locally and specially made, giving information directly critical to the operation and situation (see article, page 10). But the cornerstone to producing information dominance for the Army is the large-screen digital displays that provide the maneuver force with instant comprehension of the terrain and its effects. The fielding of the series of Digital Topographic Support Systems (DTSS) is still on track, and we are dedicated to continue to keep topographic engineering a state-of-the art combat multiplier (see article, page 14).

Risk, as stated in the third bullet of our priorities, simply means that we will not upgrade the construction fleets in the near future. Our older fleets will be given the attention they need in the form of depot-level rebuild programs and limited replacement with like systems. We will take advantage of the modern civilian construction equipment that is available and buy it to replace our oldest models instead of developing our own. The lighter equipment will be aggressively sought to keep the light engineer force effective and deployable.

It is no accident that Reserve Component (RC) engineers are not on a separate row in the figure, but are a part of each row. These engineers will follow the Transformation pattern of modernization in sync with their force association. Engineers have always taken the Total Army concept to heart--76 percent of us who execute "Essayons!" are RC. These engineers are truly the strong arm of the Corps of Engineers, performing all those tasks that the Army depends on.

In every level of conflict, our engineer mission continues to be a primary enabler to Army operations. If you are not already deep into transition, take good care of the equipment that has served you well in the past, but also keep an eye on the future. The combat engineers of tomorrow will not fight as we do today--and the construction engineers will always be needed to perform the daily miracles of transforming chaos into civilization.

Captain Guevremont is a combat developments officer in the Directorate of Combat Developments, Maneuver Support Center, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was previously assigned to the 130th Engineer Brigade in Croatia and Germany and the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in Kuwait and Texas.
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Article Details
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Author:Guevremont III, Captain William R.
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Words:892
Previous Article:Lead The Way.
Next Article:Concept and Organization of the IBCT Engineer Company.
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