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A brigade is a military unit that is typically composed of two to five regiments or battalions, depending on the era and nationality of a given army. Usually, a brigade is a sub-component of a division, a larger unit consisting of two or more brigades; however, some brigades are classified as a separate brigade and operate independently from the traditional division structure. The typical NATO standard brigade consists of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 troops. However, in Switzerland and Austria, the numbers could go as high as 11,000 troops.
A brigade's commanding officer is commonly a brigadier general, brigadier or colonel. In Imperial or Commonwealth forces, the brigadier was assisted by a brigade major who was chief of staff of the brigade.
The so-called "brigada" was a mixed unit, comprising infantry, cavalry and normally artillery too, designated for a special task. The size of such "brigada" was a reinforced company up to two regiments. The "brigada" was the ancient form of the modern "task force".
This was copied in France by General Turenne, who made it a permanent unit, requiring the creation in 1667 of a permanent rank of brigadier des armées du roi (literally translating to brigadier of the armies of the king). The role of brigadier took over brigade command from the Colonel or the Mestre du camp, under the command of the Maréchal de camp (the original Field Marshal), who would in time be rebaptised Général de brigade.
In the Royal Artillery, "brigade" was also the term used for a battalion-sized unit until 1938, when "regiment" was adopted. This was because, unlike infantry battalions and cavalry regiments, which were organic, artillery units consisted of individually numbered batteries which were "brigaded" together. The commander of such a brigade was a Lieutenant-Colonel, who was referred to as the "commanding officer".
In the United States Marine Corps, brigades are only formed for certain missions. Unlike the United States Army, the Marines have intact regimental structures. A Marine brigade is formed only for special expeditionary duty, for which it is outfitted like a smaller Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). For example, TF TARAWA (2d MEB) during the Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign.
The Brigade Commander is usually a colonel, although a lieutenant colonel can be selected for brigade command in lieu of an available colonel. A typical tour of duty for this assignment is twenty four to thirty six months.
A brigade commander enjoys an appreciably sized headquarters and staff to assist him or her in commanding the brigade and its subordinate battalion units. The typical staff includes:
In addition, the headquarters will include additional junior staff officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted support personnel in the occupational specialities of the staff sections; these personnel will ordinarily be assigned to the brigade's headquarters and headquarters company.
Sustainment Brigade Medical Operations: The Brigade Surgeon Section Is Key in Planning and Implementing Effective Healthcare for a Sustainment Brigade. This Was Demonstrated by the 43d Sustainment Brigade's Brigade Surgeon Section during Its Deployment to Afghanistan
May 01, 2011; The 43d Sustainment brigade had responsibility for the southern and western regions of Afghanistan, providing sustainment...