PENTAGON – The US military recently announced upcoming deployments for seven units to Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait despite the recent extension of a Defense Department-wide stop-movement order to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The service plans to deploy three brigade combat teams, two combat aviation brigades, one division-level headquarters and a security forces assistance brigade to relieve units taking part in regular rotations around the world, according to recent Army news releases, Military.com reported.
The deployments, some of which are scheduled to begin this summer, come after Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently decided to extend the force-wide stop-movement order for all travel that is not mission-essential until June 30.
Sending units to replace others on rotational deployments involves “risk-based decisions” that are assessed by Esper and other senior military leaders, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told defense reporters Thursday during a telephone discussion on a range of news topics.
“A lot of it depends on the mission and where [units] are in the world,” McCarthy added.
The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, will deploy to Europe to replace the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, where it will participate in Exercise Atlantic Resolve in support of the United States’ commitment to NATO allies and partners, a release stated.
The 101st Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will also deploy to Europe to replace the 3rd Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, according to a news release. And sometime this summer, the 1st Cavalry Division’s headquarters contingent will replace the 1st Infantry Division headquarters, rounding out deployments to Europe for “Atlantic Resolve”.
The military will deploy the 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB), stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, to replace the 3rd SFAB as part of a regular rotation of forces to support Operation Freedom Sentinel, a release added.
The 1st SFAB was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in 2018. SFABs are the first permanent units whose core mission is conducting security cooperation activities, which in the past had been conducted by regular brigade combat teams. The 4th Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Fort Carson, will also deploy to Afghanistan to replace the 10th Mountain Division’s CAB, a release said.
This summer, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will deploy to Iraq to replace the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team to support Operation Inherent Resolve, according to a release.
And lastly, the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team from the North Carolina Army National Guard, as part of a regular rotation of forces to support Operation Spartan Shield, according to a release.