FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, Jan. 19, 2016) — Two major problems impact readiness, warrant officers said at the first-ever chief of staff of the Army-sponsored Warrant Officer Solarium, at the Command and General Staff College, Jan. 15.
I hope that everyone enjoyed this long weekend, and took the opportunity to reflect on the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership and inspiration. Remember, by living by our Army Values, you are also embodying Dr. King’s ideals and legacy.
I am looking forward to what 2016 holds for each of us and our Army, and I’d like to thank SGM Bishop for posting about the One Army School System to the page last week.
Personally, 2016 has already taken off full speed for me. Over the past two weeks, I have conducted a couple of interviews with the NCO Journal and Soldier Radio, attended the All American Bowl, briefed all of TRADOC’s foreign liaison officers on NCO 2020, traveled to Fort Sill for a unit visit, and headed up to D.C. to meet with the sergeant major of the Army and update him on the gains we have made with NCO 2020 and our big plans for this year.
So this maybe a longer entry than usual to catch everyone up!
For those not aware, the U.S. Army All American Bowl features 90 of the best high school football players annually in an East-vs.-West match up in San Antonio’s Alamodome. Along with the football players, high school musicians from around the country are also selected to perform during the halftime show.
I had the opportunity to attend the game and some of its pre-game events.
This photo of me and two Soldiers from different generations puts TRADOC’s role and scope into perspective. We are studying the lessons learned from our past, while improving the current force and developing adaptive leaders who will lead the future force to win in a complex environment. Events like the All-American Bowl help remind me to appreciate the greatness of our Army, and thank you for being a part of the current force that will help us obtain our goals for the future.
Talking to foreign liaison officers about NCO 2020
Last week, I gave a briefing about the NCO 2020 strategy to a group of foreign liaison officers that was my most enjoyable yet. These officers represent many of our allied and partner countries, and they had really great questions. The officers were really interested in learning about why we need to improve our leader development system, how the two new NCO courses will improve the corps, and how STEP – Select, Train, Educate, Promote – is helping professional military education.
It was great to have this professional discussion to inform and learn from one another. So now many are aware of the many changes we are planning to strengthen the backbone of our Army, and they will be watching to see how we build upon our education, experiences, and core competencies.
Taking pride in our community
Just this past Saturday, I joined the Fort Eustis SGT Audie Murphy Club with cleaning up the entrance gate to Fort Eustis. It was a great opportunity for me personally to hear from those NCOs who epitomize the character, competence and commitment we want in our NCO Corps.
In between raking and sweeping, I got several positive comments along with some suggestions on how to continue building on our initial success with improving NCO development. All the Soldiers and families were excited to hear that membership in both the SGT Audie Murphy and SGT Morales Clubs were going to be annotated on upcoming career maps to show their value to our Army.
I cannot think of better mentors for Soldiers than those who are active participants in these NCO organizations. If you are not a member of either, I challenge you to learn more about the process from your local chapters and become active members in our communities.
In closing, while at the Pentagon updating the SMA, I told him that the Digital Job Book is ready for release in a beta form in March 2016. The job book will be available for downloading on the Army Training Network, and I want to hear back from you on how it’s performing, needed improvements, and how you’ll use it with your Soldiers.
Don’t know much about the Job Book? Don’t worry, I plan to provide more info along with a couple of screen shots in an upcoming post.
As always, I want to hear from you, the future of our Army. I encourage you to add a comment below, and I invite you to participate in our first “State of NCO Development Town Hall” March 3. Here’s the link with more info: www.tradoc.army.mil/watch.
Victory Starts Here!
– CSM D
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, Jan. 15, 2016) — Soldiers are always coming up with a lot of really great ideas. The best way to share those ideas is to publish them, said Dr. Donald P. Wright, deputy director of Army Press.
If the process of getting published sounds daunting to someone who is not a writer by vocation, fear not, he said. Army Press will assist.
ABOUT ARMY PRESS
The relatively new Army Press stood up in August. Army Press combines the staff of the journal Military Review, or MR, with Combat Studies Institute, or CSI, the book publishing side. In October, Army Press Online, or APO, stood up and joined them.
Wright said that the plan for later this year is for the NCO Journal – out of Fort Bliss, Texas – to physically move to Fort Leavenworth and join Army Press in a building located next to the Command and General Staff College, or CGSC.
A final element of Army Press is a bit different than the rest, Wright noted. A special team from Army Press produces online iBooks about mission command used in wars throughout history, virtual battlefield tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and other topics. These books are interactive and multimedia, working off the iPad platform. “Young Soldiers love them,” he said. (Some examples are showcased in the links section.)
UNDER ONE UMBRELLA
The significance of these mergers is to get Soldiers published in an expedited manner and, just as importantly, to get their work published in the most relevant venue, Wright said.
Previously, Soldiers would submit their manuscripts in a stovepipe fashion, he said, for instance, to one of the branch journals like Armor, Infantry, Fires, or Army Sustainment. Or, they might submit to MR or CSI.
However, a manuscript dealing with logisticians, for example, might actually have a broader appeal to a larger Army audience rather than a niche readership. This is where the editors at Army Press step in to assist, he said.
The editors review the manuscript and they determine where it will have the most impact, he said. That saves a lot of time for the writers and their works get showcased in the best possible venue.
Here’s how to start the process:
Soldiers, and even civilians, can log onto the main portal of the Army Press website: http://armypress.dodlive.mil/. No common access card is needed. From there, the site gets the Soldier started with the process.
THE GOOD PART
For someone who hasn’t yet been published, there are other benefits of going through Army Press that are enormous, Wright said.
Once a Soldier submits his or her manuscript to Army Press, there’s person-to-person contact between an editor and that writer, he said. “We provide feedback to the author. There’s a back and forth with them. We tell them what’s good, what needs to be revised and so on.”
Not only that, the article gets reviewed by “multiple sets of eyes,” he said. The topic is matched with the right subject-matter expert, many of whom are located right at Fort Leavenworth.
The rigorous review process ensures the quality of the manuscript will be top-notch, he added.
To illustrate how the process works, Wright provided some current examples.
A major attending CGSC recently submitted her master’s degree thesis to Army Press. It deals with the German judiciary system during the Nazi regime leading up to World War II. “It’s not exactly military, it’s not tactics, it’s not on the battlefield, but it is military-related and there are people who are interested in this particular subject,” he pointed out, adding that the author isn’t even in the legal profession, but her work is outstanding.
Of course, a manuscript relating directly to U.S. Army operations will be of more interest to the larger Army audience, he said, but that shouldn’t stop someone from submitting something that’s tangentially related.
Another officer wrote a memoir about his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and coming home and dealing with the challenges of the transition, Wright said.
The Soldier said he wanted to get published outside the government, “So we’re looking to connect him with a private press,” Wright said, since the manuscript has broad appeal.
“We can help with that too. We have connections outside the U.S. government. It’s an example of how far we can look.”
“He emailed me today and said ‘I may want to go with Army Press. I want this to be for Soldiers.’ So we’re in discussions about that,” Wright continued.
A former battalion commander had a manuscript about World War II he’d written, “And we’ve been working with him on and off for probably 18 months, helping him refine it while he commanded a battalion,” Wright said. “It’s ready to go now and will be going into our editorial queue soon.”
That manuscript will become a CSI-published book about how Army corps commanders dealt with the need for tactical flexibility and how they reorganized and moved divisions around from Normandy to Berlin during World War II, he said.
“No one’s really written on this. We helped him; we read it, gave him comments, he’s been reacting to them. We do email, phone calls, we continue working with him,” Wright said.
Another example regards someone Army Press will not be assisting.
This individual wanted to get published, but was already working with a literary agent. “In that case, we can’t help him because we can’t be involved directly with agents,” Wright explained. “He didn’t know how marketable the manuscript was and still doesn’t. I wrote back and said I can’t work with you if you’re working with a literary agent. We’ll consider publishing it if it doesn’t work out for you.”
It should be pointed out monetary transactions are not made between authors and Army Press. For those looking to make money, Wright encourages them to look elsewhere.
But the benefits of being published by Army Press are still substantial: professional development, helping advance the profession of arms by sharing thoughtful insights and discussions. Being published also can advance Soldiers’ careers, he added. And the Army Press connects authors with a military audience, something that many writers seek.
SPEED OF PUBLISHING
Getting published can take a few weeks to a year; it all depends on the venue, Wright said.
Many quarterly journals are so booked up that an article may not get published for a year, he said. On top of that, there’s a rigorous review process that ensures a high level of quality.
“I had a recent conversation with a very smart field-grade officer, who was maybe 32 or 33 years old. He expressed a lot of angst that the Army can’t publish his article in three or four weeks. He wants it out now,” Wright said. “He’s from a younger generation. They’re used to quickly publishing something on the web.”
Wright said Army Press is working on getting things published more quickly, “but we don’t want to shortchange the review process,” he added.
Since APO stood up, that venue can get something published much sooner, particularly for a short manuscript like something that’s a page long, Wright said. That really has opened the window of opportunity for Soldiers to get short pieces out quickly.
Army Press has only been around for a few months, so it’s a bit early to measure results, Wright said, adding that he hopes the benefits of going through Army Press will spread by word of mouth from satisfied writers and readers.
“If you measure [success] by [manuscripts] coming in, it’s definitely on the increase,” he said. “It’s not exploding, but that’s okay; the whole idea behind Army Press is to provide a more active place for Soldiers to go who want to publish.
“We want Soldiers to add to the professional discourse, the professional discussion. We do that through writing.”
Photo caption: The best way for Soldiers to share experiences is to publish them, says the deputy director of the new Army Press, which has combined staffs of the Military Review journal with the Combat Studies Institute, online publishing and a new iBooks team. Credit: Peggy Frierson
WASHINGTON, (Jan. 13, 2016) — Delivering a lasting defeat to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, must be a global effort, and coalition partners and others must step up their contributions to the escalating fight, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today on Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Such a lasting defeat also must be achieved and sustained by motivated and capable local forces, the secretary said, and reach beyond the military campaign to enable political stability in the region.
Carter’s stop on Fort Campbell to address Soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division’s headquarters and 2nd Brigade Combat Team, who will deploy to Iraq later this year, is part of a two-day trip this week to three military bases.
During his speech, the defense secretary said the lasting defeat of ISIL must be a global undertaking because the terror group is a global threat.
“Any nation that cares about the safety of its people or the future of its civilization must know this: America will continue to lead the fight, but there can be no free riders,” Carter added.
As the United States invests in accelerating the campaign, he said, so must every coalition partner and every nation in a position to help.
“That means greater military contributions but it also means greater diplomatic, political and economic engagement. It means development and reconstruction [and] … actions at home and abroad to disrupt, dismantle and degrade ISIL’s capabilities. It means stepping up,” the secretary said.
Carter said he has personally reached out to defense ministers in more than 40 countries seeking more special operations forces, strike and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training assistance and combat and combat service support.
“Many nations are already contributing greatly,” he said. “Many can do more.”
Such contributions could include accelerating their own efforts to disrupt networks that enable the flow of foreign fighters and materials through their lands, Carter said, and taking advantage of the opportunity to fight ISIL in Syria and Iraq before it becomes a more serious threat.
“For Muslim-majority nations in particular,” the secretary added, “that means stepping forward and debunking ISIL’s false claims to religious or ideological excuses for brutality.”
“I have seen the strength of our coalition, and our success depends on building on that strength,” he said.
Carter said that next week he will meet with defense ministers from six nations that play a large role in the ground and air components of the counter-ISIL campaign – France, Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“Each of these nations has a significant stake in completing the destruction of this evil organization and we must include all of the capabilities they can bring to the field,” he said.
EVERYONE IN THE GAME
The secretary said that the effort to defeat ISIL includes coalition forces enabling local, motivated forces with a clear campaign plan, American leadership of the global coalition, and capabilities ranging from airstrikes, special-forces raids, cyber tools and intelligence to equipment, mobility and logistics, and training, advice and assistance from those on the ground.
Beyond the military campaign in Iraq and Syria, others must step up and meet critical challenges such as setting conditions for sustainable political stability in the region, Carter said.
“That means everybody has to be in the game,” he added, noting that those who are needed include diplomats and development experts to help the Iraqi government rebuild, and restore opportunity to Sunni regions so local people have a future worth fighting for.
Also needed, he said, are Treasury Department financial experts to cut off the flow of money to ISIL; intelligence agencies to help map ISIL’s networks, leadership and infrastructure; and experts from law enforcement and homeland security.
In Iraq and Syria, Carter said, the coalition is taking ground back from the enemy and gaining openings to take more, and denying ISIL the ability to move fighters and materiel by cutting off key transit routes to Raqqa and Mosul.
Coalition members also are dismantling ISIL’s war-sustaining finances, targeting its oil production and industrial base and using new methods to hit ISIL in its wallet, Carter said.
“Throughout Iraq and Syria we are significantly constraining its ability either to defend or to attack, and we are working with our partners to take advantage of every opportunity this presents,” he added.
A specialized expeditionary targeting force announced in December is in place, preparing to work with the Iraqis to begin going after ISIL fighters and commanders, the secretary said.
And President Barack Obama – on the advice of Carter, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Central Command Commander Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III – ordered the most elite U.S. special operations forces to Syria to support the ISIL fight.
The threat posed by ISIL and others continually evolves, changes focus and shifts location, most recently into areas like North Africa, Afghanistan and Yemen, Carter said.
“That’s why the Defense Department is organizing a new way to leverage security infrastructure we’ve already established in Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Africa and southern Europe into a network to counter transnational and transregional threats like ISIL,” he explained.
From the troops Carter visited in Morón, Spain, in October, to those he visited last month in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the regional nodes offer a forward presence for responding to a range of crises, the secretary said.
“This counterterrorism network is already giving us the opportunity and capability to react swiftly to incidents and threats wherever they occur,” Carter added, “and it maximizes our opportunities to eliminate targets and leadership.”
The campaign to defeat ISIL is far from over, he said, and extraordinary challenges are ahead.
The campaign will continue to adapt as, with each success, ISIL’s territory decreases, its resources dwindle, and local, capable forces gain the capacity to win the field of battle and lay the foundation for lasting security in the region and a more secure future for the world, Carter said.
Photo Caption: Defense Secretary Ash Carter outlined the three military objectives for the coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant during a speech on Fort Campbell, Ky., Jan. 13, 2016. DoD Graphic
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Jan. 14, 2016) — In a rapidly changing global security environment, coupled with declining military budgets, the Army needs top-notch aviators trained by creative and experienced commanders who can wring the most out of what little training budget they have, the Army’s vice chief of staff said.
“The creativity you apply in training your units will develop the next generation of leaders and shape the future of our Army,” Gen. Daniel B. Allyn said. “Training in garrison cannot be viewed as ‘routine.’ It must replicate the complexity of flying in Iraq or Afghanistan and it is incumbent upon those of you who have flown and fought in these demanding environments for more than 14 years to train-up the next generation of pilots.”
Allyn spoke at the start of a day-long series of an aviation-related panel of discussions at the headquarters of the Association of the U.S. Army in Arlington, Virginia, Jan. 14.
Allyn also laid out requirements for aviation modernization that he said were critical to ensuring Army aviation’s continued prowess on the battlefield. Among those were increased manned-unmanned teaming, an accurate definition of future vertical-lift requirements, improvements to the power and agility of the current fleet, development of “lethality that pairs precision and discrimination for engagements in complex terrain,” and enhancements to survivability through improvements in ability to both detect and defeat new enemy capabilities.
“This is not a wish-list,” the general said. “These are must-haves to deliver an aviation force capable of dominating future battlefields.”
Maj. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, commanding general of Fort Rucker, Alabama, and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, laid out the latest details regarding progress with the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative. The aim of that initiative is to allow the aviation branch to continue to provide to the Army and the nation the same asymmetric advantage it has had for the last 14 years.
Lundy said the Army has almost entirely divested all of its aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft. There are only two squadrons left.
“We will finish divestiture here during FY16, minus the 1-17 [Cavalry Regiment (AIR)], which will roll-up and be the last squadron that will operate in [South] Korea. They will do their last deployment,” he said.
Also on track is divestiture of training aircraft on Fort Rucker, including the TH-67 Creek and the OH-58 Kiowa. This week for the first time, he said, courses are already underway training new pilots with the new UH-72 Light Utility Helicopter.
Divestiture of UH-60A Black Hawks is behind, however, the general said. “That’s an issue.” Those Black Hawks, moving out of the National Guard, will be replaced with more modern UH-60Ls, and those will eventually be converted to the UH-60V variant, which features a glass cockpit.
With programs underway now, the Army is looking to improve an aviator’s ability to see in degraded visual environments, to field an improved air-to-ground missile with the Joint Air to Ground Missile, to provide improved engines in the Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache aircraft through its Improved Turbine Engine Program, and to enhance aircraft survivability.
Those programs, and others Lundy called “disruptive technology,” are on track and moving forward, despite earlier concerns.
“A lot of these programs were at risk, or they were just good ideas,” Lundy said. “I will tell you that they are all in very good shape right now. And even though they will come slower than we want because of budgetary concerns, all the programs are safe; they are on track; they are in our long-range plans, and they have got great support across the Army staff.”
MORE FLYING HOURS
A chief concern for Lundy, he said, is the limited number of hours Army aviators are getting in the cockpit.
“This is an area where I have great concern right now,” he said. “Our flying hour program is not what it needs to be.”
The general said the Army is taking a “holistic look” at aviation flying hours to find ways to alleviate the problem of aviators flying fewer hours than what is needed to maintain proficiency.
Lundy also said that every Army operation globally involves an aviation component, and that the operations tempo for aviators is “higher than what we saw, even during the surge, if you look at a mission tempo perspective. We are expecting Army aviation to be out there, to be able to do that. We need to be training at a much higher level to maintain our proficiency, especially as we think about decisive action and combined arms operations.”
An in-the-works solution for dealing with the increased operations tempo, Lundy said, is to finally fill the cockpits of equipment in the 11th CAB with Soldiers. That unit has the gear it needs already, but it now needs personnel. That, he said, is a priority for Army aviation.
The “No. 1 priority is to man that CAB,” Lundy said. “If we do that, it will help us mitigate some of the op tempo issues.”
Right now, he said, “demand signal is outpacing our capability to support all of it. We are having to make hard choices.”
Photo credit: In a file photo, three OH-58D Kiowa Warriors prepare to leave Fort Rucker, Ala., for the last time at Hanchey Army Airfield, Nov. 18, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Nathan Pfau)
FORT CARSON, Colo. – What does it take to succeed in today’s Army? It’s a question that many Soldiers wonder, and one that has many different answers. Some of the obvious marks of success, leadership and professionalism are some givens.