The Army National Guard is reorganizing its brigades, moving most of them under the command of its eight-division headquarters to prepare for large-scale conflicts with Russia or China. The move will increase the Army’s fully manned divisions that it can deploy from 10 to 18.
The reshuffling of National Guard forces reflects the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) that outlined the Pentagon’s shift away from counterterrorism to “great power competition.” A military confrontation with Russia or China, or “peer competitors” as US officials call them, would require much greater manpower than counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and North Africa.
“When you look at the National Defense Strategy and competition among near-peer competitors, peer competitors — that great power competition, there is a potential for large-scale combat operations … it could actually be division level fights,” Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the director of the National Guard, said in an interview.
Actions and rhetoric coming from the Trump administration reflect the strategy outlined in the NDS. Although US military operations in the Middle East show no sign of slowing down, there has been an increased military presence in the South China Sea to confront Beijing.
While the administration announced troop cuts from Germany, the US has also established a permanent military presence in Poland, and more troops might deploy to Baltic states, closer to Russia’s border.