Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport asked me to share with you some of my perspectives on what we do at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, and what it means to you – the Warfighter.
In my 30 years of service, I had never heard of ARCIC, or what they did, until being assigned here. So, I think it’s important for Soldiers and leaders to understand its role and impact on the Army.
In short, ARCIC is charged with the deliberate process of determining the Army’s future requirements based on capability gaps that exist now, and as foreseen in the future – near, mid, and far term. Once determined, ARCIC works with the Army staff, ACOMs, ASCCs, the joint force, and others to integrate those capabilities.
Basically, we design the future Army.
There are other, more expedient means of getting urgent needs to operational commanders – like the Rapid Equipping Force, but I won’t get into details on the Army (and Department of Defense) acquisition process here. Suffice it to say, ARCIC often works behind the scenes with senior leaders to provide us the best capabilities.
You may be familiar with the Army Operating Concept and its title, “Win in a Complex World”; especially, if you’ve been on a Combat Training Center rotation lately. As the words suggest, the world is indeed a complex place – filled with unknowns that are constantly changing. Among those unknowns are potential enemies of the United States and our way of life, and the threat they can present to our force. The good news is – we are the United States Army, the most powerful and professional land force the world has ever known; and our nation expects one thing when “the wolf howls at the door” – we are going to kick ass if need be! However, as good as we are, we must constantly adapt.
That’s where ARCIC comes in.
As a part of TRADOC, we are tasked with determining the capabilities the Army needs to defeat those enemies, and integrating those capabilities across what the Army refers to as DOTMLPF (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, and Facilities).
To put it simply – an M1 Abrams tank is not, by itself, a capability. However, that thing (or materiel) combined with organizations designed around fighting and sustaining it, personnel trained into effective crews and units, leadership and education focused on the appropriate doctrine, and the facilities to proof the end product (like a combat training center) result in a proven and effective capability. So, as I said before, a tank is not a capability, but a well-trained and equipped Armored Brigade Combat Team is!
Let’s get back to the Army Operating Concept. The AOC provides the Army with the intellectual framework it needs to learn and identify the first-order capabilities to support U.S. policy objectives. These first-order capabilities, or questions, which must be answered in order to succeed, are called the Army Warfighting Challenges. Looking through the lens of the AWfCs, we can leverage the expertise and experience of multiple warfighting proponents to address the complicated problem sets of future conflict.
For example, we determined we needed more mobility for our light forces deployed and engaged in future expeditionary maneuver, so we proposed a ground mobility vehicle in our combat vehicle modernization strategy. To complement this capability and provide protection and lethality for fast-moving infantry, we will need Scouts in light reconnaissance vehicles and lightweight combat vehicles, which provide freedom of maneuver and mobile protected firepower. This third vehicle could defeat fortifications, point defenses, blocking positions and prevent enemy counterattacks. Together, this combination of combat vehicles would increase the capability of the light force, but also maintain its fundamental advantage – rapid deployment.
If we looked upon these requirements only from a maneuver standpoint, we would miss critical factors required to truly integrate these capabilities. Examples include: the Sustainment Center of Excellence identifies challenges associated with supporting faster combat forces, the Fires Center of Excellence sees required changes to its capability for the same reason, the Cyber Center determines communication challenges, etc.; you get the picture. Working together, the Army’s experts collaborate for a common objective – the integrated solutions across all of DOTMLPF to difficult first order challenges, or Army Warfighting Challenge
ARCIC executes four key tasks to provide future capabilities. First, we think clearly about future armed conflict by examining current and foreseen missions, studying history and lessons learned, identifying current and future threats and adversaries, and by understanding technology. Second, we learn about future armed conflict through wargaming, assessments from training and real-world exercises, and rigorous experiments – like the Network Integration Evaluation our Brigade Modernization Command conducts at Fort Bliss, Texas. Third, we analyze what we learn to prioritize solutions, often with our teammates during AWfC reviews. And lastly, as an extension of the Army staff, we implement solutions to maintain our advantage over capable and determined enemies. That’s called overmatch, and it means we don’t want a fair fight. Everything we do at ARCIC is to ensure when U.S Army and joint forces meet the enemy we end the fight – in a hurry!
All this may seem completely outside your lane, but I assure you what ARCIC does has a direct impact on you regardless of your time in service or how long you plan on staying in. As Soldiers for Life, we should all be committed to not only today’s Army, but the Army our children (and grandchildren) will serve in. And, there are often opportunities to get directly involved. If your unit is ever tasked to support the NIE at Fort Bliss, or a CTC rotation, or even asked by the Army Test and Evaluation Command (see CSM Connette’s recent blog) or the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command to provide Soldier support – take it very seriously and provide quality input to the process; we need it. Soldiers like you are invaluable, not only in day-to-day operations of today’s Army, but absolutely crucial in determining future requirements. It has always been so, and will always be so.
“Victory Starts Here!”