I Corps move from U.S. to Japan still under discussion, Army says
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army unveiled its long-term plan for basing and units Wednesday, but the future of I Corps is still being discussed.
A proposed move from Fort Lewis, Wash., to Japan is pending. “Those negotiations are ongoing,” said Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody.
I Corps is unique among the Army’s three U.S.-based Corps because in peacetime it has no assigned forces. In war, I Corps is responsible for assisting with both the defense of Korea and the defense of Japan. The Corps can draw forces from active, reserve and National Guard units in 47 out of 50 states.
I Corps is also unique because it is a combatant command of U.S. Pacific Command and under operational control of U.S. Army Pacific. The other major forces PACOM can draw upon as joint task forces are the Navy’s 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, and the Marine Corps’ III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan.
Moving I Corps to Japan would not only make it easier for its staff to coordinate with the 7th Fleet and III MEF if necessary, but it also fits in with the Army’s plans to make all of its headquarters the same design.
Under the plan, operational headquarters — such as the 2nd Infantry Division’s — will be commanded by two-stars, with tactical control over their units.
Corps headquarters, like I Corps, will be commanded by three-stars and used interchangeably in wartime as the strategic headquarters of joint, or even multi-national, task forces, Cody said.
In other reorganization moves, the 2nd Infantry Division headquarters will remain in South Korea, along with a heavy brigade combat team (BCT) now being formed, Cody said.
But the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, which is now in the process of coming back from Iraq, will not re-deploy to Korea.
Instead, the brigade is moving to Fort Carson, Colo., where it will eventually become part of the 4th Infantry Division, Cody said.
“Now that we’re moving the whole brigade back (to the United States), we had to find a place” for it, Cody said.
And since Fort Carson’s 3rd Army Cavalry Regiment was deployed to Iraq, “we elected to put [the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd ID] at Fort Carson,” Cody said.
“That unit will change its flag over time and become a brigade of the 4th Infantry Division,” and join three additional brigade combat teams from that parent, Cody said.
“And we’ll stabilize that formation.”
The final piece of the 2nd ID’s reorganization are its remaining three brigades: all three will become Stryker brigades, and be based at Fort Lewis, Wash., Cody said.