The troop surge: how many trigger-pullers?

Maj. Gerd Schroeder
A little perspective on what the President's 20,000 troop surge means on the ground:  Under the plan 5 Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) will be sent to Iraq to execute this surge.  So what does 5 BCT(s) really bring to the war? 


It depends on the type of BCT to be deployed.  There are three types: STRYKER Brigades (SBCT), Infantry Brigades (IBCT), or Heavy Brigades (HBCT).  


For the numbers I will use the SBCT, as it is the largest BCT the Army has.  Please refer to this this. The bottom line is that each SBCT brings 3 maneuver battalions, a recon squadron, and an anti-tank battalion.  That equals 25 battalions that can conduct combat. 


Each maneuver battalion has 3 maneuver companies.  These companies are comprised of 3 platoons.  In total the infantry companies have 150 men.  The company controls the vast majority of the trigger pullers in the SBCT. 


The battalion headquarters has some trigger pullers in the recon platoon and the mortar platoon.  In total the maneuver battalion brings and maximum of 500 trigger pullers.  The Recon Squadron and the Anti-Tank Battalion are about the size of an infantry battalion, and can conduct combat operations.  So in total we are looking at 2500 combat troops in each SBCT.  5 (SBCT) x 5 = 12500 trigger pullers if they are at 100% strength.  Keep in mind that I have used the largest of the three types of the Armys BCT(s). The remaining 7500 soldiers are support of the combat forces. 


Is it enough?  Yes, if they are used as the President has outlined.  The BCT(s) are very robust organizations that bring the best soldiers in the world to the battle.
A little perspective on what the President's 20,000 troop surge means on the ground:  Under the plan 5 Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) will be sent to Iraq to execute this surge.  So what does 5 BCT(s) really bring to the war? 


It depends on the type of BCT to be deployed.  There are three types: STRYKER Brigades (SBCT), Infantry Brigades (IBCT), or Heavy Brigades (HBCT).  


For the numbers I will use the SBCT, as it is the largest BCT the Army has.  Please refer to this this. The bottom line is that each SBCT brings 3 maneuver battalions, a recon squadron, and an anti-tank battalion.  That equals 25 battalions that can conduct combat. 


Each maneuver battalion has 3 maneuver companies.  These companies are comprised of 3 platoons.  In total the infantry companies have 150 men.  The company controls the vast majority of the trigger pullers in the SBCT. 


The battalion headquarters has some trigger pullers in the recon platoon and the mortar platoon.  In total the maneuver battalion brings and maximum of 500 trigger pullers.  The Recon Squadron and the Anti-Tank Battalion are about the size of an infantry battalion, and can conduct combat operations.  So in total we are looking at 2500 combat troops in each SBCT.  5 (SBCT) x 5 = 12500 trigger pullers if they are at 100% strength.  Keep in mind that I have used the largest of the three types of the Armys BCT(s). The remaining 7500 soldiers are support of the combat forces. 


Is it enough?  Yes, if they are used as the President has outlined.  The BCT(s) are very robust organizations that bring the best soldiers in the world to the battle.