WIESBADEN, Germany — The Army’s future training environment is already the present in today’s European theater, said Gen. David Perkins, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
“We don’t have to wait 10, 15 years for the future to develop, the future is now here in U.S. Army Europe,” Perkins said during a recent visit to Germany.
“It’s an environment that is very unpredictable,” he said. “Constant change and the threat of the constant change of the operating environment here is exactly what the Army operating concept was written for. So U.S. Army Europe … has actually helped us visualize what the future (training environment) is going to be like by looking at (Europe’s) current operating environment.”
According to Perkins, Army Europe integrates allies and partners in everything they do, not only during training.
“At U.S. Army Europe you live amongst the partners (who) you integrate in training, so it helps us describe the future, but also shows us how to operate in that future,” he said.
The Army integrates partners because of the complexity of the environment, and empowers junior leaders in the process, he said. Especially, how quickly one can change languages, terrain, tactics and more.
“From the Baltics to the Balkans and everywhere in between, U.S. Army Soldiers have to operate with many different cultures, many different languages, many different coalition forces, and generally speaking, in a very dispersed manner,” Perkins said. “We put a lot of responsibility on our very young noncommissioned officers, our very young officers, (who) many times are the senior American military person in that allied country or coalition country … so we really get to put these young leaders out in the front.”
It’s equally developmental for the rotational forces, Perkins said, referring to the U.S. Army forces in the European theater conducting continuous multinational training and security cooperation activities with allies and partners.
“We get to take young forces out here, put them in a new environment that they are not familiar with, a new language and geography, so I think U.S. Army Europe is a great leadership laboratory for the forces that are stationed here and equally a great leader development opportunity for the forces we rotate in here.”
Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of TRADOC, who accompanied Perkins on the trip, concurred.
“When you think about the Army operating concept, USAREUR is living it every day, with a complex environment and unknown and constant changes that they deal with,” Davenport said.
The U.S. Army’s future concept of a complex environment, Perkins pointed out, is already manifested in the European theater.
“When we look at U.S. Army Europe, it really is a definition of a complex environment,” Perkins said. “What USAREUR is doing very well is operating (in) this complex environment, integrating multiple partners and providing multiple dilemmas to the enemy while providing multiple options to the commander.”
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51-country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships built during the more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events, held in more than 40 countries each year, lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.