U.S. Army leaders are weighing how to best form a 12th combat aviation brigade (CAB). A new brigade is needed to maintain the 12-month deployment schedule of units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt, the director of Army aviation. The U.S. keeps four CABs deployed to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
The 11 regular Army CABs (one of which is committed to South Korea) and eight National Guard ones are not enough to allow each CAB returning from deployment to spend the prescribed time at home. That hinders the training of non-commissioned officers and junior officers and strains troops and their families.
Building a new CAB from scratch would cost $3.7 billion and take 3-5 years, Mundt said. If the service dismantles some existing aviation units and reassigns their assets, he said, a new CAB could be fielded in 12-24 months.