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March 22, 2023

The Evolution and Relative Effectiveness of the Interim Brigade Combat Team

Michael K. Robel, LTC, USAR



The article consists of six parts:

  • Brigade Organization and Mission
  • Battle Cruisers, Tank Destroyers, and Armored Cars
  • The Medium Battalion
  • Comparative Lethality
  • Gaming it out
  • Observations and Recommendations

    Part 1 Brigade Organization and Mission

    The brigade's mission is:

    The brigade deploys very rapidly, executes early entry, and conducts effective combat operations immediately on arrival to prevent, contain, stabilize, or resolve a conflict through shaping and decisive operations. The brigade participates in major theater war (MTW), with augmentation, as a subordinate maneuver component within a division or corps, in a variety of possible roles. The brigade also participates with appropriate augmentation in stability and support operations (SASO) as an initial entry force and/or as a guarantor to provide security for stability forces by means of its extensive combat capabilities."

    This brigade would likely arrive in theatre after the initial entry forces but before heavy forces arrive via maritime prepositioned ship, thus providing a significant improvement in combat power available to theater commanders in the opening stages of a campaign.

    While organization and equipment are still in flux, the IBCT will be organized like current separate brigades as shown in Figure 1. It will have three motorized infantry battalions; carried in a "medium weight infantry-fighting vehicle". This vehicle will be armed with the a gun from 7.62mm to 25mm in a wheeled vehicle similar to the LAV-25 currently used by the Marines, but also comes in other variants including an Anti-tank Vehicle, Air Defense Vehicle, Mortar, command and control, logistics, and recovery variants. The vehicle must fit on a C-130. It also will have a field artillery battalion, possibly based on a wheeled vehicle, and/or a HIMARS battery. However, the significant difference between these brigades and existing ones is the armored cavalry squadron. Normally, brigades only have a cavalry troop. An anti-tank company and a engineer company round out the brigade. Like all US brigades, the IBCT would be capable of accepting other units to command such as tank battalions, additional artillery, or air defense units.

    Figure 1.
    Proposed Medium Brigade

    Part 2 Battle Cruisers, Tank Destroyers, and Armored Cars


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