FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, hosted a delegation at West Point, N.Y., for the 24th Future Battlefield Annual Talks June 7-11, 2015.
TRADOC’s relationship with the Israel Defense Forces began in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War, leading to the FBAT’s initiation in 1988. The TRADOC commanding general has served as U.S. head of delegation since 1990, and each year, the talks are conducted alternately between locations in the U.S. and Israel.
This year’s U.S. delegation included Perkins; Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, TRADOC’s command sergeant major; Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center; Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, ARCIC deputy director and Brig. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, Joint Military Training Center Europe. The delegation also included Center of Excellence commanders from Maneuver, Fires, Sustainment, Maneuver Support, Aviation, Mission Command, Cyber and selected school commandants.
Maj. Gen. Guy Zur, chief of the IDF Ground Forces, served as the Israeli head of delegation.
From June 7-9, IDF Ground Forces delegates visited the Maneuver, Cyber, Fires, Mission Command and Maneuver Support Centers of Excellence as well as the National Training Center to gain insights into the curriculum, technology and techniques used to train U.S. Soldiers. This FBAT included a special emphasis on the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and implications on capability development.
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.
As IDF delegates visited TRADOC schools and centers, Zur participated in detailed discussions at the TRADOC headquarters with Perkins and members of the TRADOC staff. Zur received briefings on the Army Operating Concept, the Combat Vehicle Modernization Strategy and the Human Dimension.
While at West Point, Zur presided over a wreath laying ceremony in honor of Col. Davis Markus, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army colonel who assisted Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and who became Israel’s first modern general.
The plenary session focused on Operation Protection Edge lessons learned, Israeli Ground Forces Concept for 2015-2025, U.S. Army concept framework and mutual challenges in the future operational environment. Perkins reiterated the importance of this event to the U.S. Army and how TRADOC greatly values the long-standing partnership with the IDF Ground Forces.
The FBAT concluded June 11 with a cultural visit to the 9-11 Memorial in New York City, where Perkins honored those who died in the Pentagon and Zur honored Israeli citizens who perished that day in the twin towers.
Zur thanked the U.S. delegates for their hospitality, and reaffirmed that the observations and learning that occurred during the FBAT will be beneficial in the near future as the IDF makes important decisions on the design of the Israeli ground forces for the next decade.
The FBAT concluded with Perkins and Zur co-signing a memorandum to codify the 2015 military-to-military agreed-to actions, and to demonstrate the long-standing partnership and commitment between the armies.
Sustaining the FBAT remains a top priority for TRADOC. The 2016 FBAT will be hosted by the IDF Ground Forces in Israel.
Photo credit: Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (center) stands for a photo with the TRADOC and members of the Israel Defense Forces delegation during the 2015 Future Battlefield Annual Talks.