U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Commanding General, Gen. David G. Perkins recently discussed the topic of Ready Land Forces to Win in a Complex World during the 34th annual Virginia Colonial Chapter of Association of the United States Army’s Professional Forum at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, June 21-22.
WASHINGTON — The Army has significantly increased its emphasis on training for combined arms maneuver and wide area security operations in contemporary and future operational environments.
FORT BLISS, Texas (May 12, 2016) — During battlefield operations, a brigade’s fleet of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical network equipped vehicles are often spread out across great distances and austere terrain, supporting both stationary command posts and on-the-move missions. Newly enhanced and simplified Network Operations tools will make it easier for communications officers (S6s/G6s) to see the “big picture” as they plan, manage and defend the vast tactical mission command network, increasing its security and strength.
Examining the relationship between emerging technological capabilities for land forces and identifying priorities in Army organizations, training and materiel development was discussed during the recent Global Force Symposium at Huntsville, Ala.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, led the discussion with other senior Army leaders and subject matters experts on the Institute of Land Warfare panel.
The other panel participants included Maj. Gen. William Hix, director for Strategy, Plans and Policy at the U.S. Army G3/5/7; Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; Dr. Conrad Crane, chief of Historical Services at the Army Heritage and Education Center; and Dr. Nadia Schadlow, senior program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation.
McMaster opened the panel outlining the important relationship between capability and capacity today and in the near future, describing two fundamental factors contributing to increased risk to national security.
“The relationship between capability and capacity is changing. The trend since WWI has been that technology has allowed smaller and smaller combat forces to have greater and greater effects on the battlefield. What we are seeing now is a shift in that because of the ease of technology transfer to our enemies. Disruptive enemy capabilities are now challenging what had been our differential advantages in close combat and in combat as a joint force,” McMaster said. As enemy technological advances increasingly place U.S. superiority at risk, McMaster explained capacity must be maintained or increased while capabilities are pursued.
“The United States military needs joint teams ready to fight tonight,” McMaster said. “Since World War II, the prosperity and security of the United States has depended, in large measure, on the synergistic effects of capable land, air and maritime forces.”
U.S. defense strategy requires ready land forces (Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations) capable of operating as part of joint teams, in sufficient scale and for ample duration to prevent conflict, shape security environments, and create multiple options for responding to and resolving crises.
“The size of the Army matters no matter what future capabilities are developed. The human and political nature of war will require landpower to achieve sustainable outcomes,” McMaster said.
According to McMaster, the Army must develop capabilities now in order to cope with an increase in adversary capabilities. As the nation’s principal land force, the U.S. Army organizes, trains and equips forces for prompt and sustained combat. Army forces are necessary to defeat enemy organizations, control terrain, secure populations, consolidate gains and preserve joint force freedom of movement and action. Forward positioned and regionally engaged Army forces build partner capability, assure allies and deter adversaries.
Crane from the Army History and Heritage Center, reiterated the necessity of a resilient and trained force.
“In order to provide a unified vision for force development, intellectual readiness should precede material innovation,” he said. “We are likely to always be surprised technologically by adversary innovation, therefore our force must be resilient enough to survive this surprise, and agile enough to develop counters quickly to take the advantage away from enemies.”
In describing the future operating environment, Hix highlighted three main trends he expects will place increased stress on our Army. Those trends are:
- more capable adversaries will emerge, including near peers or proxy forces;
- expected increased instability;
- expected rise in great powers;
Hix emphasized the Army’s need to integrate materiel and non-materiel solutions to ensure forces are postured to meet the challenges of the future operating environment.
Schadlow provided her perspectives on the central relationship between capacity, and the ability of the force to control territory through the consolidation of gains after a successful campaign.
“Without the ability to consolidate gains, campaign success may become meaningless,” Schadlow said. She proposed two questions for the audience to consider that need to be addressed, if the future force expects to control territory and consolidate gains.
- How does technology advance the ability to control territory and consolidate gains?
- What is the result of the current strategic ambivalence over the need for the Army to control territory, and the resulting impact on Army capacity?
The American military uses technology better than anyone else, which is seen as the nation’s biggest asymmetric advantage. However, as Wharton emphasized, there are no technological “silver bullets.” Technology must be integrated into concepts, to be truly disruptive, and allow the force to gain advantages over the enemy.
Visit TRADOC’s Youtube channel to view the full-length video of this discussion.