Gary Phillips, TRADOC, discusses “Adapting the Force in a Complex World” during the 2015 AUSA Global Force Symposium, March 31.
The Army Materiel Command’s top leader said today’s Army is consuming readiness as fast as it can be generated.
Gen. Dennis L. Via described the command’s role in the current operating environment at the Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Global Force Symposium and Exposition April 1.
Via said he agreed with the recent assessment made by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, that the national security environment is the most uncertain he has seen in his career.
“At AMC, our optempo is reflective of the chief’s statement,” Via said. More than 1,100 Soldiers — a third of those assigned to the command — and nearly 4,300 civilians are now deployed or forward stationed in support of operations around the world.
The Training and Doctrine Command is the featured organization of this year’s symposium. The symposium’s theme, Win in a Complex World, is taken directly from the new Army Operating Concept published late last year, which describes how future Army forces will prevent conflict, shape security environments and win wars.
Via said AMC is in full support of the concept and will continue to enable and sustain Army readiness in a world that is becoming more and more complex. He recounted the rise of the Islamic State, delicate nuclear negotiations in Iran, and a fragile ceasefire in the Ukraine among several examples of the growing worldwide threats.
But despite those threats, funding challenges, the danger of sequestration, and a reduction in force, Via said he is highly confident that “our nation will have the best trained, best led and best equipped Army in the world.”
Via recounted all the command has accomplished this past year, even while enduring sequestration, a personnel reduction and a declining budget. Among those successes, Via highlighted the following:
* Utilization of the first battalion-sized European Activity Set, which includes more than 2,400 pieces of combat equipment
* Support of the Ebola crisis, including delivering Soldier support facilities, opening port operations, providing aircraft maintenance and contracting support
* The return of equipment in Afghanistan, reducing the number of bases from more than 800 to 25, and returning more than 48,000 vehicles and nearly 100,000 20-foot containers
* The neutralization of more than 600 tons of chemical weapons from Syria
* The generation of more than 4,800 foreign military sales cases supporting 158 countries and totaling more than $20 billion
* Support of training deployments to Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia
Looking to the near future, Via said AMC will formally stand up an Army Field Support Brigade in Hawaii to expand the organization’s foothold in support of the Pacific region. The command is also preparing for the first brigade rotational force to South Korea when Fort Hood’s First Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team departs for the peninsula later this year.
While the command continues to ensure the appropriate disposition of equipment and materiel , Via said his organization is working with other Army commands to return many maintenance and sustainment tasks back to Soldiers.
“This will ensure they remain proficient in their skills, increase unit deployability and sustainment, and save valuable resources,” Via said.
Using that concept, Via said the Army reduced the number of communication and technology field service representatives, avoiding about $100 million in costs.
Via said the command will continue to strive for efficiencies in the Army’s Organic Industrial Base facilities. “They remain essential to our ability to maintain current fleet readiness and to meet surge requirements for future contingencies,” he said. Growing the Army’s Public-Private Partnerships are key to preserving the industrial base’s workforce. Via projected more than 276 active partnerships by the end of the year, “and we’re always looking for more.”
Looking at AMC’s support of Force 2025 and Beyond, Via said the command is focused on sustaining and developing the capabilities the Army needs. “We do this by providing readiness. Readiness to the current force and building readiness for the future force.”
Via noted the command’s $6.5 billion science and technology portfolio that seeks solutions for making “equipment and materiel more efficient, more lethal, more reliable, safer and less expensive to operate and maintain.”
Many examples of that portfolio were on display at the Army’s exhibit at the symposium. Scientists, engineers and Soldiers displayed up-and-coming technologies including an augmented reality sand table, wearable solar panels and neurotechnology research.
“Those are just a fraction of the cutting-edge technologies we’re currently developing for the Force of 2025 and Beyond,” he said.
Via said the command is also conducting research that will yield the yet unforeseen innovations of the Force of 2040, “innovations that may seem science fiction today, but will be science fact in the future. “
When it comes to the challenge of finding ways to innovate the Army to win in a complex world, Army leaders must be in tune with the risks and fallacies that could lead to undermining their own efforts.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, deputy commanding general, futures/director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, addressed attendees of the 2015 AUSA Global Force Symposium on “Army Innovation Under Force 2025 and Beyond” March 31.
“We define innovation in the Army Operating Concept as really our ability to turn ideas into valued outcomes,” McMaster said. “And then also to be able to do that in a way that we stay ahead of determined, and increasingly capable enemies.”
The differential advantage the Army has over the enemy comes from “our ability to combine skilled Soldiers and well trained cohesive teams with technology,” McMaster said, which “presents our enemies will multiple dilemmas.” But that doesn’t mean that as the Army looks to the future that there aren’t challenges and risks to be aware of when it comes to innovation and winning future fights.
“The biggest risk that we have today is the development of concepts that are inconsistent with the enduring nature of war,” McMaster said. “What we see today is really an effort to simplify this complex problem of future war and to essentially make it a targeting exercise. This is not a new phenomenon, we call it the ‘vampire fallacy.’ You can’t kill it, it comes back every 10 years. The idea is that the next technology we develop is going to make this next war fundamentally different from all those that have gone before it. We’ll be able to solve that problem through exclusively stand-off capabilities, and precision targeting and precision strike in particular.”
If the Army chooses to go that route, it could end up building vulnerabilities, leading to a narrowing of capabilities, and improper preparation for what the enemy might one day bring to the table. Relying on proxies to do the fighting for the Army is also a potential risk, according to McMaster.
“The first real risk to innovation are theories and ideas about future wars that cut against war’s political nature, war’s human natures, war’s uncertainty and war as a contest of wills,” McMaster said. “We can mitigate that risk by communicating effectively.”
Another risk to innovation efforts is to under source those efforts.
“It’s great for us to say how thoughtful we’re going to be, how clever we’re going to be, but a very, very clever force that doesn’t have the tools it needs or the capacity it needs to operate at a sufficient scale and for ample duration to accomplish the mission is going to be a risk,” McMaster said.
The framework being used as leaders think about future armed conflict and warfighting challenges can be found in key factors: threats, missions, technology, history and lessons learned, according to McMaster.
“Our efforts are aimed at two objectives, innovate overall, but to innovate with a higher quality and to innovate faster,” McMaster said. “And to do that using the framework of the warfighting challenges, our learning events and our campaign of learning under Force 2025 maneuvers, while having an eye on implementation.”
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, discussed the Army’s way ahead during the opening day of the 2015 Global Force Symposium at the Van Braun Center here, March 31.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 31, 2015) — Army leaders and the defense industry converged in Huntsville Tuesday, kicking off the three-day Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Global Symposium and Exposition.
The Training and Doctrine Command’s top leader Gen. David Perkins presented this year’s theme: Win in a Complex World.
“You’re either winning or losing,” Perkins said as he welcomed attendees, telling the audience they would get some insight over the course of the symposium into how the Army’s looking at the future.
TRADOC is the featured command of this year’s symposium. AUSA brought its symposium to Huntsville last year when the Army Materiel Command took center stage.
Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey also welcomed the crowd, noting the Army generates about $17 billion for the state. “I’m a little partial to the Army,” Ivey said, recounting the service of her father who was awarded the Bronze Star.
Wednesday’s keynote speaker is Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno. AMC Commander Gen. Dennis L. Via and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Heidi Shyu will both present their commands’ perspectives in featured presentations.
Panels with Army and industry experts are scheduled throughout the symposium along with
Warrior Corners which provide short presentations with equipment demonstrations and command overviews.