Definition/Scope: (DOD) A unit usually smaller than a division to which are attached groups and/or battalions and smaller units tailored to meet anticipated requirements. (Army) A unit consisting of two or more battalions and a headquarters. Also called bde. FM 3-90 A brigade is a military unit that is typically composed of three or more battalions of 3,000 - 5,000 personnel. 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. A brigade’s commanding officer is commonly a colonel. I In the armies of colonial powers, such as the British Empire, brigades frequently garrisoned isolated colonial posts, and their commanders had substantial discretion and local authority. In the United States Army, a brigade is smaller than a division and roughly equal to or a little larger than a regiment. Army brigades formerly contained two or more and typically five regiments, during the American Civil War, but this structure is now considered obsolete. The US Army has moved to a new generic brigade combat team formation which contain combat elements and their support units, and is standard across both the active US Army, US Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. 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.
Narrower Terms:air defense artillery brigades