JOINT BASE LANGLEY EUSTIS, Va. – Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command hosted a Quarterly Commanders’ Forum, which brought 190 senior leaders and their spouses together from around the command to Fort Eustis, August 2-3, 2017.
This forum provides an opportunity for information exchange and discussion on initiatives related to the core functions TRADOC performs for the Army. It also focuses on topics necessary to guide the development and execution of Force 2025 and Beyond.
One of the highlights included a review of selected Army Warfighting Challenges to identify gaps and solution sets across the domains of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel and facilities. There was also a “How the Army Fights” exercise and a synchronization brief on operations and resourcing.
There were a lot of leader transitions this summer, so the TRADOC Commander, Gen. David Perkins, opened the two-day conference by explaining what TRADOC is for.
“If you don’t know what you are for, then how do you know what to do?” asked Perkins during the TRADOC 101 brief. He went on to explain how TRADOC is responsible for designing, improving, acquiring and building the Army. TRADOC designs the Army by serving as the architect of the future force; improves the Army by creating or updating doctrine; acquires the Army by recruiting the right Soldiers to do the right jobs; and builds the Army by providing foundational training for enlisted Soldiers and officers and inculcating new Soldiers into the Army profession.
After the TRADOC 101 brief, the spouses followed a separate agenda of breakout sessions, which are only offered yearly. The breakouts were designed to offer professional development and networking opportunities to inspire, motivate and connect military spouses facing TRADOC-unique challenges.
One session, the senior spouse panel, was led by the TRADOC commander’s wife, Ginger Perkins. Other seasoned spouses on the panel included Sharon Dyess, Maj. Gen. Patricia Frost, Claudia Davenport and Chris Gervais, who shared their experiences and lessons learned.
“One of my greatest challenges is to stay balanced all the way around,” said Dyess, who has been married to Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, acting director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, for more than 30 years. Dyess said she maintains balance by having daily touch points in her four foundational areas, which are: her personal family, the Army family, her faith family and her community family.
Gervais, who is married to Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commanding general, Combined Arms Center –Training, also echoed that finding the right balance is necessary. “We plan family time and enforce it,” Gervais said.
But the best advice for TRADOC spouses, according to Davenport, who is married to TRADOC’s senior enlisted adviser, Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, is “know when to just say no.” Saying yes to too many obligations means you will drop something, and that does not help the Army family, she said.
Pictured above: Gen. David Perkins, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command provides opening remarks to leaders from across the command during the 2016 TRADOC Commanders’ Forum at Jacobs Theater, Fort Eustis, Va., Aug. 24. (U.S. Army photo by Supunnee Ulibarri)