FORT BENNING, Ga. — The Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley, presented the way forward for MCoE and Fort Benning through 2022 with a campaign plan that included a revised mission statement, a vision statement for 2022 and four lines of efforts for achieving the goals of the plan.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Commanding General, Gen. David G. Perkins recently discussed the topic of Ready Land Forces to Win in a Complex World during the 34th annual Virginia Colonial Chapter of Association of the United States Army’s Professional Forum at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, June 21-22.
ATLANTA (Army News Service, April 29, 2016) — Army aviation provides ground commanders multiple options, while presenting multiple dilemmas to adversaries, said Gen. David G. Perkins.
Perkins, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, gave the keynote address at the Army Aviation Association of America-sponsored 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solution Summit here, April 29.
To win in a complex and unpredictable world, disparate forces must have the ability to maneuver with the help of Army aviation over multiple far-flung locations and domains, including land, air, space and even the sea domain. That’s happening right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Perkins said.
The only thing that physically links these dispersed forces is Army aviation, he said, terming it the “connecting tissue.” Without Army aviation, these ground forces would be isolated and significantly less effective.
Perkins noted that ground formations are dispersed to prevent the enemy from identifying and targeting them in a large, static formation.
Some of the capabilities Army aviation brings include attack gunships, unmanned aerial system reconnaissance, troop movement and supply, he said.
THE SECRET SAUCE
The “secret sauce” that makes Army aviation so effective, Perkins said, is its people. They’ve been making it happen since the 1950s and they are “the epitome of what we’re trying to do for the future force. That didn’t just happen overnight.”
The five attributes of these aviators, he said, are expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps, and stewardship of the profession
As an armor officer, Perkins said he always put the highest trust in the pilots and crew of helicopters he was transported in. Often, he said, he only saw the backs of their helmets in the middle of the night, trusting that they knew what they were doing.
“That trust has never been misplaced,” he added.
Aviators have always maintained good stewardship of their profession, he said, policing their own ranks and giving safety and standards the highest priority — “without which things can go bad very quickly.”
As to esprit, aviators “have always had that enthusiasm to make it happen and get it done, and that inspires all who operate around them,” he said.
Perkins pointed out that esprit also means aviators hold a “jealous regard for the honor of their unit, the Army, and the United States of America.”
Addressing honorable service, Perkins showed slides depicting the faces of fallen aviators over just the past year in Afghanistan. As a bagpiper played, attendees stood in a moment of silence to honor them.
Perkins added that others like them in the past have exemplified the ultimate sacrifice paid in honorable service.
The 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solution Summit runs April 29-30 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo caption: U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, hover over a landing zone in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters during air assault training at Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Charles Emmons.
United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and Arizona State University will host a two-day conference at the Tempe Mission Palms Conference Center April 21-22 to examine the effects of technology on future security challenges.
Examining the relationship between emerging technological capabilities for land forces and identifying priorities in Army organizations, training and materiel development was discussed during the recent Global Force Symposium at Huntsville, Ala.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, led the discussion with other senior Army leaders and subject matters experts on the Institute of Land Warfare panel.
The other panel participants included Maj. Gen. William Hix, director for Strategy, Plans and Policy at the U.S. Army G3/5/7; Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; Dr. Conrad Crane, chief of Historical Services at the Army Heritage and Education Center; and Dr. Nadia Schadlow, senior program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation.
McMaster opened the panel outlining the important relationship between capability and capacity today and in the near future, describing two fundamental factors contributing to increased risk to national security.
“The relationship between capability and capacity is changing. The trend since WWI has been that technology has allowed smaller and smaller combat forces to have greater and greater effects on the battlefield. What we are seeing now is a shift in that because of the ease of technology transfer to our enemies. Disruptive enemy capabilities are now challenging what had been our differential advantages in close combat and in combat as a joint force,” McMaster said. As enemy technological advances increasingly place U.S. superiority at risk, McMaster explained capacity must be maintained or increased while capabilities are pursued.
“The United States military needs joint teams ready to fight tonight,” McMaster said. “Since World War II, the prosperity and security of the United States has depended, in large measure, on the synergistic effects of capable land, air and maritime forces.”
U.S. defense strategy requires ready land forces (Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations) capable of operating as part of joint teams, in sufficient scale and for ample duration to prevent conflict, shape security environments, and create multiple options for responding to and resolving crises.
“The size of the Army matters no matter what future capabilities are developed. The human and political nature of war will require landpower to achieve sustainable outcomes,” McMaster said.
According to McMaster, the Army must develop capabilities now in order to cope with an increase in adversary capabilities. As the nation’s principal land force, the U.S. Army organizes, trains and equips forces for prompt and sustained combat. Army forces are necessary to defeat enemy organizations, control terrain, secure populations, consolidate gains and preserve joint force freedom of movement and action. Forward positioned and regionally engaged Army forces build partner capability, assure allies and deter adversaries.
Crane from the Army History and Heritage Center, reiterated the necessity of a resilient and trained force.
“In order to provide a unified vision for force development, intellectual readiness should precede material innovation,” he said. “We are likely to always be surprised technologically by adversary innovation, therefore our force must be resilient enough to survive this surprise, and agile enough to develop counters quickly to take the advantage away from enemies.”
In describing the future operating environment, Hix highlighted three main trends he expects will place increased stress on our Army. Those trends are:
- more capable adversaries will emerge, including near peers or proxy forces;
- expected increased instability;
- expected rise in great powers;
Hix emphasized the Army’s need to integrate materiel and non-materiel solutions to ensure forces are postured to meet the challenges of the future operating environment.
Schadlow provided her perspectives on the central relationship between capacity, and the ability of the force to control territory through the consolidation of gains after a successful campaign.
“Without the ability to consolidate gains, campaign success may become meaningless,” Schadlow said. She proposed two questions for the audience to consider that need to be addressed, if the future force expects to control territory and consolidate gains.
- How does technology advance the ability to control territory and consolidate gains?
- What is the result of the current strategic ambivalence over the need for the Army to control territory, and the resulting impact on Army capacity?
The American military uses technology better than anyone else, which is seen as the nation’s biggest asymmetric advantage. However, as Wharton emphasized, there are no technological “silver bullets.” Technology must be integrated into concepts, to be truly disruptive, and allow the force to gain advantages over the enemy.
Visit TRADOC’s Youtube channel to view the full-length video of this discussion.