U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s commanding general explained to Fort Gordon Army military and civilian leaders how TRADOC is evolving to meet the Army’s future needs.
In the leadership professional development session held Feb. 19 at the Signal Theater, Gen. David Perkins asked the leaders if they know, “What are you for?”
“You need to understand what you are for before you understand what you need to do,” he explained, as he talked about his visit to Google and how successful they are about defining who they are for.
“The high-tech, multi-billion dollar complex organization organizes all the information in the world in an easy accessible manner, but they don’t create information,” Perkins said. “Leaders have to capitalize the environment or organization they are in. In other words, they need to understand the big picture. It falls uniquely on leaders’ shoulders.
“In my position I get to go around the United States Army and I have found most people don’t know what TRADOC is all about,” Perkins said. “There is no TRADOC in other armies in the world or our various (military) services.”
Fort Gordon is part of TRADOC’s 32 Army schools organized under eight centers of excellence, with each focusing on a distinct Army expertise.
According to the general, in TRADOC the U.S. Army acquires, trains, designs, builds and improves the Army.
“We recruit for the Army every year,” the general said. “The U.S. Army brings in 10,000 people every month. We have to train them all. We also have 10,000 people leaving the Army every month. This is a high turnover organization.
“The U.S. Army does things to scale that nobody else does,” Perkins said, as he expounded on the newly published Army training manual.
“This is the first time we have written a manual to deal with strategic issues for unknown problems,” the TRADOC commanding general said.
The first field manual was written in 1904, according to Perkins.
“Until last October, almost all manuals were designed to deal with known problems at the tactical operational level of war,” he said. “We now design the Army based on the unknowns of the world. We are a doctrine-based Army. This is unpredictable world with lots of unknowns. The world is complex.
“During the Cold War, we knew who our enemies were,” Perkins said.
“Today we work with a lot of unknowns,” as he explained the importance of leaders understanding a problem they face and being able to visualize it and help their subordinates understand it. “Only then can you empower your subordinates.”
The general talked about the five essential characteristics of the Army profession, which include military expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps and stewardship of the profession.
“This is not military training, but the essence of who you are,” Perkins said. “The United States Army was formed June 14, 1775,” reminding the audience that the U.S. Army is older than the country.
“The United States was built on the shoulders of the Soldiers of the Army,” he said. “That is what any army is for. It makes certain the survival of the nation.”
Photo credit: Gen. David G. Perkins, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, speaks about possible future challenges and the principles of good leadership during an assembly Feb. 19 in Signal Theater on Fort Gordon, Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Bill Bengston)