HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 21, 2016) — Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, discussed TRADOC’s perspectives on “Big 8” initiatives and how the Army Operating Concept will build the future Army during the 2016 Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium at the Van Braun Center, March 17.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army must make training more like combat to prepare units and leaders for the complexities of future conflicts, a recent white paper stated.
In the white paper’s foreword, Brown said training needs to reflect the intensity of combat that Soldiers saw in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Legacy training methodologies and capabilities do not replicate the complexities or challenges they encountered during a decade of conflict,” he said. “Our Soldiers and leaders realize the environment they will encounter in future combat is growing in complexity and unknowns, and they are demanding realism in training.”
The white paper recommends the Combined Arms Center – Training establish an Enhanced Realistic Training Work Group to conduct an accelerated Capabilities Based Assessment to identify the critical gaps and potential solutions for current and long-term capabilities development efforts.
Here is the white paper’s definition of realistic training:
Realistic training is the deliberate practice of individual and collective tasks to enable tactical and technical proficiency that support mission accomplishment in a training environment that approximates the operational environment in both sufficient complexity and substance.
The operational environment is constantly changing, requiring the Army to prepare units to counter innovative threats. These threats can include regular and irregular forces as well as criminals and terrorists, or even a hybrid threat that includes all of those groups.
Enhanced realistic training capabilities will provide a training environment that represents many of the conditions expected on future battlefields based on observed operational environment trends, the white paper stated.
To prepare units, training events must:
• Add multiple challenges for Soldiers, leaders, and units to consider and overcome.
• Represent the physical and cognitive stresses of combat and its moral and ethical challenges.
• Incorporate the human, social-cultural, and political aspects of conflict, replicate joint and combined arms effects, and the capabilities and limitations of Army ground forces and Unified Action Partners.
The white paper supports the Army Operating Concept, or AOC, and the Human Dimension Strategy. The AOC states that training must be more realistic and challenging. The 2015 Human Dimension Strategy lists realistic training as one of three lines of effort to develop cohesive teams of professionals who can thrive in ambiguous, complex and challenging situations.
The white paper can also be found here.
Photo credit: Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division practice conducting an assault during a training event at Fort Hood, Texas. A recent white paper says the Army needs tough, realistic training to prepare Soldiers for future missions. (U.S. Army photo by Mike Casey)
FORT HOOD, Texas (February 22, 2016) — To win in a complex world, Military Intelligence Soldiers must be technically skilled and alert, and thrive in difficult locations with coalition partners and other branches of the U.S. military. Their job — and ultimately the safety and security of U.S. service members — relies on having the latest techniques to collect, analyze, exploit and disseminate intelligence for battlefield and theater commanders.
For the Soldiers of the Fort Hood-based 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, intelligence readiness is how the brigade lives up to its “Always Ready” motto. Supporting III Corps, the brigade has a critical mission to ensure the Corps’ leadership and units have the latest intelligence to make better decisions. Through the Fort Hood and 504th’s Foundry Intelligence Training Program, intel Soldiers can hone their skills to become masters of their trade.
In 2003, the Army’s Chief of Staff recognized that Military Intelligence Soldiers were deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan without a lasting program to learn emerging skills in different intelligence disciplines; this led to a decrease in combat readiness for deployed units. In response, a collaboration of four major Army commands established the Foundry Program, enabling Soldiers to learn current battlefield techniques, provide mentorship in developing operational skills, and synchronize readiness across the Army.
David Blakesley serves as Director of the Fort Hood Foundry Multi-Discipline Platform, and manages a staff of 23 instructors who teach the program’s various courses. Fort Hood has the largest number of Foundry staff among the Army’s installations, according to Blakesley. He said his team taught nearly 2,500 Soldiers in 2014 – mainly from the MI military occupational specialty – but also geospatial engineers, psychological operations, civil affairs, and Special Forces Soldiers.
The program provides specialized training in Signals Intelligence, Geospatial Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Counterintelligence, All Source Intelligence, document and media exploitation, and the Distributed Common Ground System-Army.
Even after Soldiers complete the training, Blakesley said that the Foundry program “remains connected to Soldiers at all points” by helping them develop Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for future use. He also said the program is the “key readiness program” used by the Army’s G-2 (Intelligence) office to professionalize the Intelligence Corps.
Intelligence Soldiers have adopted a slogan of “No cold starts, and no Military Intelligence Soldiers at rest,” which is demonstrated through the Foundry Program.
According to documents from the Army’s G-2 office, the “program has expanded to meet the needs of a regionally-aligned Army … (which) are aimed at enhancing Soldiers’ competence and building the agility, expertise and depth our Army requires to support forces in current and future security environments.”
Courses offered at the Fort Hood site are grouped by intelligence discipline, and include the Media and Cellular Phone Exploitation Course, Counterintelligence Collection Course, Tactical Full Motion Video Course, and even Critical Thinking and Interpersonal Skills for Human Intelligence Collectors.
Soldiers also have the opportunity to attend training courses at other installations, including Fort Huachuca, Fort Gordon, Fort Belvoir and Fort Meade. Additionally, the program supports Mobile Training Teams who can travel to Fort Hood to teach courses not currently taught.
According to Frank Morrisey, Foundry Manager for III Corps, over 250 MI Soldiers were supported through Foundry Temporary Duty (TDY) or Mobile Training Team (MTT) funding in 2015. Morrisey said the training equated to over 15,000 hours of specialized intelligence training.
Listed in the Army’s “Foundry 2.0″ course catalog published last October are elective courses offered by the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and several combatant commands.
The Foundry Program’s courses are divided into a university-type numbering system that allows a tiered approach to learning. The 100-level courses are basic skills lessons plans led by unit noncommissioned officers and first line supervisors. The 200-level courses are practical exercises expounding on basic skills. 300-level courses are those courses taught at sites like the Fort Hood Foundry MDP, and 400-level courses are “Live Environment Training,” and usually taught by the nation’s Intelligence Community or combatant commands.
Morrisey said the availability of Foundry training courses allows unit commanders to achieve their unit readiness goals through various avenues.
“Fort Hood commanders have both locally available and external intelligence training resources, which they can leverage toward accomplishing their (Military Intelligence) training and readiness requirements, while enhancing individual and collective skills,” Morrisey said.
He added that courses are Army-funded, and commanders incur zero cost for using these intelligence-training resources, irrespective of whether requirements are satisfied locally or away from Fort Hood.
Each brigade-sized unit and higher is required to have a unit Foundry representative who is the unit’s point of contact and liaison to the installation level. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alexander Buchschacher serves as the 504th’s Foundry representative, and said his job is multifaceted and reaches from the platoon to installation levels.
“I coordinate from battalion, company and platoon echelons for training to ensure (Military Intelligence) readiness is at its highest,” Buchschacher said.
Buchschacher said the Foundry program contributes much value to the nation’s Intelligence Community. Not only does it increase intelligence readiness, but also provides opportunities for professional development.
“It provides required accreditation and technical certification, enhances mission command proficiency, improves unit readiness and provides a venue to collectively certify individuals and units,” Buchschacher said.
The Army’s ultimate goal is readiness and having a Foundry Program prepares units for global engagement and regional alignment. In a speech given by former Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno, he said the Foundry plays a pivotal role to mission success.
“Foundry 2.0 will build training programs that keep our intelligence team connected so that their skills and expertise are sustained to support improved situational awareness and decisive action,” Odierno said.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 11, 2016) — The goal of achieving an expeditionary, uninterrupted mission command network is taking shape but is still “a work in progress,” said Brig. Gen. Willard M. Burleson III.
Burleson, director, Mission Command Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, spoke Feb. 11 at the Association of the United States Army-sponsored Hot Topics forum on Air and Missile Defense during a panel about “Networked Mission Command.”
PURPOSE OF NETWORK
Before diving into the details of what’s been accomplished with the network thus far, Burleson described the importance of the network to warfighting.
First and foremost, the network enables mission command, he said, meaning that it is the vital command and control technology piece that links leaders and Soldiers with their systems, joint forces and partners. This connectivity enables informed planning and decisions based on situational awareness across the domains of warfare.
Besides being expeditionary, the network must be robust enough to operate uninterrupted, he said, acknowledging that networks, like any systems, will not always be perfect. That’s why it’s important that Soldiers still be able to continue the mission without being “solely dependent on connectivity” in environments where the network is “degraded, intermittent and limited.”
Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., commander, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, and deputy commander, Second Army, then described the Army’s network modernization effort.
To understand where the network is today, Morrison illustrated how far that modernization has come in just a few years.
It wasn’t long ago when Soldiers deploying to Southwest Asia from the U.S. or another theater had to have their computer turned in to get reimaged, he said. That occurred because tactical and strategic networks were “stove-piped,” meaning that each network worked separately from other networks.
“That’s no longer the case,” he said. “We worked aggressively over the last year in regional cyber centers to standardize the basic capabilities provided so units moving around the world could transition from theater to theater. Now, you can deploy to any theater and plug into the network.”
Morrison emphasized, “We’re in the midst of probably the most comprehensive modernization effort for network modernization ever.”
A lot of that effort, he said, is going into standing up Joint Regional Security Stacks, or JRSS, to ensure that the network communicates securely and efficiently across the joint force, he said. JRSS features common architecture, meaning software, tactics, techniques and procedures.
Four JRSSs were stood up recently in the United States and are now operational, he said. By the end of this calendar year, two more will be stood up in Europe and two in Southwest Asia. He said the effort to stand up JRSS is being done across the services, in cooperation with the Defense Information Systems Agency.
A challenge, Morrison said, is getting coalition partners to share the network. The technology is in place to do that, but the policy hasn’t caught up. “This needs to be formalized quickly.”
Morrison said network modernization is also taking place on installations across the Army. Over the last 18 months, 16 installation network systems have been modernized.
An example of what this modernization looks like, for example, is Fort Hood, Texas, he said. There, operators were routinely running “96 percent of the pipes,” meaning using up 96 percent of the bandwidth to stream videos, pictures, text, whatever.
Now, it’s down to around 10 percent,” he said. This reduction in bandwidth “allows us to collapse the networks and provide capacity for everyone on a single, secure, joint infrastructure for first time.”
Another aspect of network modernization, he said, is using Army personnel to engineer and install networks and upgrades, as opposed to relying on contractor support.
Morrison admitted that the Army and joint force have a ways to go to get the network where they want it to be.
“Over the past year we supported over seven named operations and in not one instance did the unit take their full network capabilities with them,” he said. “Almost every instance was distributed, where a [network] portion remained back at home station and had to be connected to a footprint that was much smaller forward.
“Yet, the commander wanted the same capabilities as if he had his full staff there,” he continued.
Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Sheriff, deputy commander, 263rd U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said the hardest piece of network modernization has to do with his own area of air and missile defense, the “human dimension.”
The human dimension is a term encompassing a wide range of human involvement in the process, from getting the tactical and technical exposure at the schoolhouses to developing leaders and Soldiers to accept this new technology and employ it to its full capacity, he said.
Talent management also falls into the human dimension realm, he said. That means the right Soldiers need to be placed in the right jobs based on their skills and potential to learn.
Burleson added that in the human dimension, “leaders must be able to thrive in situations of ambiguity and chaos where connectivity to the network may be limited or nonexistent. A lot of that can be learned through leader development.”
He added that the Army has done a lot of great work thus far, but there’s still a lot left to do.
Photo credit: A Soldier at Fort Bliss participates in a network integration exercise in 2015. (U.S. Army photo by David Vergun)
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS, Feb. 5, 2016–The National Commission on the Future of the Army presented its recommendations to the President and Congress in late January and briefed the Command and General Staff Officers Course Class of 2016 on their findings and recommendations on Feb. 4. “It’s your responsibility to look at the recommendations and figure out solutions,” Lt. Gen. (Retired) Jack Stultz, former Chief of the Army Reserve and one of eight commissioners told the students who are predominately Army captains and majors preparing for future assignments as field grade officers.