WASHINGTON — When Lt. Gen. Robert T. Dail retired seven years ago, he was one of the most senior military logisticians in the Department of Defense. In his last assignment, he served as the director of the Defense Logistics Agency, where his team provided 95 percent of the materiel used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
TEL AVIV, Israel – Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, led a delegation to Israel to participate in the 25th Future Battlefield Annual Talks, or FBAT, June 5-9, 2016.
TRADOC’s relationship with the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, began in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War, leading to the FBAT’s initiation in 1988. The TRADOC commanding general has served as the U.S. head of delegation since 1990. Each year, FBAT is conducted alternately between locations in the U.S. and Israel.
In addition to the TRADOC commanding general, this year’s U.S. delegation also included Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum, TRADOC’s deputy commanding general; Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, TRADOC’s command sergeant major; Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, deputy director of TRADOC’s Army Capabilities Integration Center; and Thomas Greco, TRADOC’s G-2 (Intelligence) deputy chief of staff. The delegation also included leadership from the Maneuver, Fires, Sustainment, Maneuver Support, Aviation, Intelligence and Mission Command Centers of Excellence and selected school commandants.
Maj. Gen. Guy Zur, chief of the IDF Ground Forces, served as the Israeli head of delegation.
During the first day of his “counterpart days,” Perkins received a strategic overview of the regional trends, opportunities and threats that Israel faces and learned about the capabilities of the “Namer” heavily armored infantry fighting vehicle, “Merkava IV” main battle tank and the “Trophy” Active Protection System.
Following the briefings, Perkins participated in a capabilities demonstration of the Merkava tank and the Namer fighting vehicle. He rode in a Merkava and was in the tank when the IDF demonstrated the capabilities of the Trophy system, which allowed him to see the reaction of the Trophy system.
The next day, Perkins conducted a terrain walk in the Golan Heights, near the Syrian borders, and received an updated intelligence briefing. He concluded his counterpart days by flying to Jerusalem and touring the Western Wall tunnel with Zur. This was the third FBAT that Zur and Perkins have participated in, and Perkins remarked that Zur was not just his counterpart, but also his friend.
During the visit, the counterpart days included tailored itineraries for the centers of excellence, where counterparts shared information on a wide range of warfighting themes. These engagements provided the opportunity for the representatives of each army to share their approaches and lessons learned to develop leaders and maintain the edge against adversaries.
The culminating plenary session focused on the Israeli Ground Forces Gideon Plan 2016-2020, which was presented by Zur. The joint-level plan allows the IDF to implement mid-term planning of programs out to five years. Ultimately, the intent of the Gideon Plan is to improve readiness, while simultaneously cutting costs and improving efficiency.
U.S. briefings included “Building the future force: Think, learn, analyze and implement”; “Understanding the Human Dimension to foster agile and adaptive leaders and Soldiers”; and “Building the Maneuver Center of Excellence.” A joint IDF-U.S presentation focused on conventional and counterinsurgency operations.
Following the briefings, Perkins presented the Meritorious Service Medal to Col. Guy Bitton for his service as the IDF liaison to TRADOC since 2014. Perkins highlighted Bitton’s role in facilitating meaningful discussions on complex issues between the armies during his tenure.
The session concluded with Perkins and Zur co-signing a memorandum codifying the next FBAT and the 2016-2017 center of excellence military-to-military agreed-to actions.
Perkins and Zur also conducted wreath-laying ceremonies at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
The U.S will host the 26th annual FBAT in 2017, where the FBAT will continue to demonstrate the long-standing partnership and commitment between the armies.
Photo credit: The Future Battlefield Annual Talks XXV delegation sits for a photo in Israel before the 2016 plenary session. The FBAT head of delegation included Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and Maj. Gen. Guy Zur, chief of the Israel Defense Forces Ground Forces (center). (U.S. Army photo)
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command recently hosted a visit with the Royal Netherlands Army’s Land Warfare Course Class June 14.
Brig. Gen. Iain Harrison Order of the British Empire, Head Capability Integration & Portfolio Manager, British Army, listens as Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess Jr., deputy director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, discusses ARCIC initiatives May 26 at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters on Fort Eustis, Virginia. During Harrison’s first visit to the headquarters visit since his posting in June 2015, the two discussed a number of topics including the British Army’s operating model, capability integration and the U.S. Army Warfighting Challenges. The visiting party also included Col. Nick Luck, UK foreign liaison officer to TRADOC, and Lt. Col. William Eden, UK LNO to the Department of the Army’s G8. (U.S. Army photo)
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 3, 2016) — First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visited service members and their families stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, May 3. During their visit, the First Lady and Dr. Biden were joined by LeVar Burton, host of “Reading Rainbow,” for a story time event with students on base at Thayer Elementary School.
In 2011, Obama and Biden came together to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans and their Families and support them through wellness, education and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works hand-in-hand with the public and private sector to ensure that service members, veterans and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.
Obama and Biden watched Basic Combat Training Soldiers prepare for and rappel the 45-foot Warrior Tower located at Training Area 136.
“To see someone at their level, experience what we, as drill sergeants, do to shape and mold the future Soldiers of the Army, ranks among the top events of my 16-year career.”
That was the reaction of Sgt. 1st Class Michael Gossman, senior drill sergeant, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Chemical Brigade, in regards to the visit of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden who observed Soldiers in training on Fort Leonard Wood Tuesday.
“We spoke about the Soldiers’ nutrition while they are in basic training, and she asked about their physical readiness,” Gossman said. “She seemed excited to get a first-hand view of what we do as drill sergeants and a snapshot of what the Soldiers do during their training.”
Before visiting the Warrior Tower, Obama and Biden made an appearance at Thayer Elementary School for a story-time event.
“Today, you’re going to have two really great books read to you by four amazing people,” said Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, in his introduction of Biden and former astronaut Mark Kelly, to the nearly 270 cheering students in the school’s gymnasium.
Biden joined Kelly in reading “Mousetronaut,” a book written by Kelly who flew four shuttle missions and was a member of the U.S. Navy. Kelly is credited with spending 54 days in space in which he was the mission commander on two shuttle missions.
After a brief question-and-answer session, mostly about Kelly’s experience in space, Biden introduced the First Lady and LeVar Burton to read his book “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm.”
In addition to hosting “Reading Rainbow,” Burton’s acting career includes “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the TV mini-series “Roots.”
“We feel very honored to have the opportunity to host the group. It is such a rare chance to have a presidential visit like this,” said Dr. Brian Henry, superintendent of the Waynesville R-VI School District.
“We appreciated the time they took to do this, as we serve military students,” Henry added. “It is not every day you get to meet the First and Second Lady or even LeVar Burton of ‘Reading Rainbow.'” It was fantastic. It’s a great honor that shows a commitment to our Soldiers.”
“It is great to have this opportunity to visit Fort Leonard Wood and read to the students with the first lady,” Burton said. “It was an awesome day. Fort Leonard Wood has been a fantastic host. We would love to come back — it was really great.”
The Fort Leonard Wood visit was part of the First Lady and Biden’s weeklong campaign commemorating the beginning of their Joining Forces initiative.
The pair made a guest appearance on NBC-TV’s “The Voice” program Monday as the kick-off event that marks the fifth year of their national initiative encouraging both the public and private sectors to support service members and their Families through employment, education and wellness opportunities.
Photo credit: LeVar Burton, host of “Reading Rainbow,” and first lady Michelle Obama read Burton’s book, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” to students at Fort Leonard Wood’s Thayer Elementary School, May 3 during a storytime event. (U.S. Army photo by Michael Curtis)