Army MTOE and TDA Unit Information

If you’ve spent any time in the Army you’ve probably heard of the term MTOE and TDA.

If you’re like most Soldiers you might not what know exactly what that really means.

My goal today is to educate you about the difference between the two, so you can be informed.

MTOE Units

MTOE is an Army acronym that stands for Modification Table of Organizational Equipment.

In reality, an MTOE unit is a deployable, go-to-war unit.

It’s the units that deploy, or can deploy.

This could include a Signal Company, Infantry Battalion, Armor Brigade, Stryker Battalion, Field Artillery Battery and so forth.

The units in a DIVISION are typically all MTOE units (with only a few exceptions).

Any subordinate unit within a division is an MTOE unit.

That’s the easiest way I can think of to explain it.

In a MTOE unit all personnel are military, and the unit can be deployed anywhere in the world.

Some current MTOE organizations have TDA augmentations, which may include civilians and foreign personnel to assist in performing their non-tactical missions.

These augmentations are non-deployable, however.

Once again, MTOE units are operational Army field units.

These are the combat, combat support and combat service support units that deploy, fight and win wars.

In the Army National Guard, there are more than 1,400 MTOE units.

These include infantry, artillery, armor, engineer, military police, signal, quartermaster, maintenance, medical and other types of go-to-war units.

MTOE units are often referred to as line units.

That’s why you will sometimes here Staff Officers say “I wish I was back in the line.”

A few examples might include:

MTOE and MTOE Conversion

An Army Unit MTOE prescribes the normal mission, organizational structure, and personnel and equipment requirements for a military unit and is the basis for an authorization document.

Units are constituted and activated in accordance with an approved MTOE or modified MTOE.

In some unique instances, a MTOE conversion might happen.

For instance an Engineer Battalion could be activated to serve as a Transportation Battalion.

This happens a lot, especially with deployments for Army National Guard and Army Reserve units.

TDA Units

TDA stands for Table of Distribution and Allowances.

To keep things simple, a TDA unit is a non-deployable unit, even when they are assigned overseas, whereas an MTOE unit is a deployable unit.

Does that make sense?

From what I found online “TDA units are organized to perform specific missions for which there are no appropriate TOEs and are discontinued as soon as their assigned missions have been accomplished.”

Their missions are typically tied to a specific region or geographical area.

Some example TDA units might include:

  • Base or Installation MPs
  • School House
  • Base Hospital

I only served in one TDA unit during my career and that was the 70th Regiment (LDR), which provided OCS, WOCS and NCOES.

I enjoyed the experience, but prefer MTOE units much more!

Which Units are Better?MTOE

This is really a “loaded” question and the answer will vary based upon who you ask.

To be quite frank with you, I understand the importance of both types of units, but I do NOT enjoy serving in TDA units.

I prefer MTOE units.

I prefer MTOE units because they are what the Army is all about.

The purpose of the Army is to fight and win our country’s land wars.

What better way to help fulfill that purpose than to serve in a “go-to-war” deployable unit?

I should caveat by saying that you can’t always choose which type of unit you will be assigned to.

Whatever job you get or whatever unit you get, DO YOUR BEST!

Go the extra mile and strive to make a difference.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

  1. 10 Important Pre-Deployment Considerations
  2. The Unit Movement Officer Deployment Planning Course: An Overview
  3. Top 7 Mistakes Soldiers Make During Deployments
  4. Military Police Platoon Leader in the 10th Mountain Division: My Experience
  5. Army Award for Maintenance Excellence (AAME) Competition: 10 Things You Should Know

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, an Army MTOE unit is a deployable go-to-war unit and a TDA unit is a non-deployable unit.

These MTOE units are the bread and the butter of the U.S. Army.

They are staffed by the men and women who deploy and protect our great nation.

As a Soldier, NCO or Officer, you should spend as much time as possible in MTOE units.

That way, you are technically and tactically proficient.

Tell us, what type of unit would you rather serve in?


Just leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

We would also enjoy hearing any other comments you may have on this subject.

10 thoughts on “Army MTOE and TDA Unit Information”

  1. I’ve served for 26 years now and been around since Desert Storm era. I’ve done everything from Trans. CO. to MP BN on the MTOE side of house. I’ve also served in JFHQ to PEC as a PBO (schoolhouse) in TDA status. I agree with you about the importance of each. Experience in a MTOE is detrimental to understanding the true nature as a Warrior/Soldier. After serving in each though, I see the necessity in assuring Soldiers are equipped and trained. There are a lot of “behind the scene” battles that assure our Soldiers are well-equipped to fight on the battlefield. Experience is needed on the front line but it is a detriment in the rear to assure everything is in place for our young Warriors. I personally at my stage of the gameplan prefer the TDA side of the house.

    1. Thank you for sharing that Kevin. You are correct, there is so much that people do not see or understand that keeps our soldiers supplied and trained to be great warriors.

  2. Iwould mind to work in mtoe: with th folling reasons:to mature and gaing experience in my identify my weakness ad more skill

  3. Why does the Army not want a Soldier to go TDA to TDA. I understand that TDA is non-deployable, but my situation is that I am in a TDA and have only been here for 18 months. My unit is going away soon and I am pending orders for another TDA. My branch manager told me that I would need a TDA to TDA waiver. What gives? I have two tours down range and a trip to South Korea. I have not really served very much time in a TDA so should this be an issue? I am mostly looking for the WHY (the Army does not want Soldiers going TDA to TDA)?

  4. It's important you get at least some experience in the front line units, even if you expect or prefer to spend your time in the TDA units. I don't think anyone should feel lesser for being in a non-combat unit. Sometimes the front line personnel can think that the military revolves around them. However, without the support personnel there is no front. I would try to spend the majority of my time in the more comfortable (for your skills and temperament) section.

  5. Candace Ginestar

    I wouldn’t mind working in a schoolhouse after I’ve had plenty of time in the operational Army. However, I wouldn’t want to be one of those people that hides in TDA units to avoid going anywhere.

  6. Thank you for providing guidance to those in a Company Commander position about choosing assignments. Sometimes it’s hard to make the right career decision because you don’t always know what the options are. I appreciate how you are always helping Army Officers figure out their next step in a very helpful way.

  7. It is extremely important for PLs and other line leaders to understand what compromises their MTOE. Understanding your MTOE will allow you to develop you battle rosters, make changes and suggestions to Task Organizations (i.e. for missions, etc.) You would be surprised how many leaders do not what what compromises their MTOE, especially their EQUIPMENT! Take the time to study your MTOE and print out a diagram for a quick reference…

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