The 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team will start converting into an armored brigade combat team next summer, the Army announced Wednesday.

The Fort Stewart, Georgia-based brigade combat team is now an infantry BCT. The conversion to an armored BCT will give its 4,200 soldiers the ability to fight with Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, the Army said, in anticipation of future potential adversaries.

"The conversion of an IBCT to an ABCT better postures the Army to meet the defense strategic guidance by developing force structure capabilities to regain and retain overmatch in key warfighting functions," said Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, Army director of force management, in a statement.

The conversion will bring the Army's total of armored brigades combat teams to 15 -- 10 in the active force and five in the National Guard. 

The upcoming conversion of 2nd BCT, 3rd Infantry is the latest change that's come as part of a sweeping reorganization and reduction of the Army's brigade combat teams.

It also comes as the Army's armored forces are in high demand.

This winter, the Army will deploy 3rd BCT, 4th Infantry Division to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The unit, from Fort Carson, Colorado, will be the first armored BCT to deploy to Europe as part of a new nine-month rotation there.

The new back-to-back rotations in Europe, what the Army calls "heel-to-toe" or continuous rotations, come just five years after budget cuts forced the Army to shut down the two heavy brigades stationed in Europe and bring home all its tanks and other heavy vehicles.

It also adds an additional overseas requirement for the Army’s already busy armored brigade combat teams, which are already are tasked with nine-month rotations to Kuwait and South Korea.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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