FORT EUSTIS, Va. “â€ Gen. Lloyd Austin III traveled to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters March 22 to get an overview of TRADOC and updates on the command’s efforts to shape the Army of 2020.
Gen. Robert Cone, TRADOC commanding general, welcomed Austin, who was making his first visit to TRADOC headquarters since he became the Army’s 33rd vice chief of staff in January. Austin noted his interests in learning how TRADOC is working to develop the future vision of the Army for Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff, and TRADOC’s new home at Fort Eustis.
“I know that moving a headquarters this size is never easy, but I am very impressed by what I have seen so far. You have made this look easy,” Austin said.
Lt. Gen. John Sterling, TRADOC deputy commanding general, began the briefings with discussing what TRADOC does; its organizational structure and how the command supports the Secretary of the Army with the execution of its Title 10 mission.
Sterling explained that TRADOC writes the concepts for how the Army will operate and develops the doctrine, training, leaders and capabilities needed to execute the concepts.
According to Sterling’s briefing, TRADOC trains more than 600,000 personnel through 1,400 courses at 33 different schools.
Cone emphasized that TRADOC also provides training to non-traditional students, such as more than 9,500 foreign army soldiers or military personnel from other U.S. services.
“Seventy percent of the Marines Corps functional training happens at TRADOC institutions, and I think with the road ahead, it is important that we account for this contribution,” Cone said.
Sterling closed his portion of the brief, highlighting a misconception that TRADOC has grown during the last 10 years of war.
“We (TRADOC) have typically been (during last 20-30 years) about seven or eight percent of the Army, and we are down to about five percent, and we believe the Army is getting a pretty good bang for its buck with TRADOC,” Sterling said.
Lt. Gen. David Perkins, the Combined Arms Center’s commanding general, focused primarily on leader and doctrine development.
Perkins said the Army has traditionally been a training, technique and procedure-based Army, and by nature, that means you are fighting the last fight. He said he believes that transitioning the Army to a doctrine-based force will position the Army to fight “what’s next.”
To that end, TRADOC is currently undergoing a “doctrine surge” in an effort called “Doctrine 2015.” Doctrine 2015 provides the Army with a common professional language within a new, simplified and holistic doctrinal framework.
The goal is to create a top-to-bottom hierarchy, or echelon, of publications and manuals that provide top-level, easy-to-read doctrinal principals, with supporting references that increase in length and depth of information. Doctrine 2015 will make these references available at the point of need through interactive media such as mobile applications.
According to Perkins, the top level of publications, known as Army Doctrine Publications, each about 10-15 pages, should be available by August.
Cone said he believes TRADOC has the responsibility to capture the imagination of the current generation of warfighters, and one way to do this is through an effort started by what he calls the “brilliant” idea of the Army Profession started by his predecessor and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.
“Essentially what we have done is a half of a million surveys and hundreds of sensing sessions to ask this young generation if they want to be a profession,” Cone said, “and the beauty of this is that they have self-critiqued. They have said, ‘yes, we want to be a profession,’ and they have defined what a profession means.”
He said Soldiers were very quick to point out that the Army Profession must have standards and that the standards must be enforced.
The first report on the Army Profession is scheduled for release April 2. Cone said the report will reflect the Soldiers’ desires to return to basic discipline, with emphasis on mentorship and leadership programs.
Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, TRADOC’s deputy commanding general for Futures and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, finished the briefings with providing a profile of his organization and the Unified Quest program.
Unified Quest is an Army effort to examine a variety of plausible mid- to long-range strategic settings and to explore a broad set of ideas about future conflict. Military and other government agencies, multinational partners, academia and subject matter experts participate in a series of intellectual seminars, symposiums and wargames.
The next Unified Quest event, the Human Dimension, is scheduled for April 17-20, at Fort Bragg, N.C., and will look to answer questions on where the Army invests its human capital efforts in accessions, assignments, training and education, and resilience.
Austin said he believes that “if we are going to get this 2020 thing right,” then the vision and things TRADOC is doing with getting the doctrine right, developing the capabilities and resources must all be linked together.
“I see the right things happening (at TRADOC), and we have the right people in the right places with experience to be able to create the right kind of forces that we are looking for,” Austin said.