U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Commanding General, Gen. Robert Cone, visited Fort Huachuca earlier this week to present at the Intelligence Senior Leadership Conference and present a safety award.
Within minutes of landing at Libby Army Airfield on Monday afternoon, Cone presented Company E, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, 111th MI Brigade, with the Lt. Gen. Allen M. Burdett, Jr., Army Aviation Flight Safety Award for maintaining a pristine safety record for fiscal year 2011.
First awarded in 1970 the Burdett award is presented annually to the Army aviation training unit, judged by commanding general TRADOC to have the most effective aircraft accident prevention program. During 2011 Company E, 305th MI Bn., had a perfect safety record.
The company flew 2,323 hours without a class A, B, C or D accident per 100,000 flight hours. In addition to reduction in accidents, Company E had no discrepancies or findings during Headquarters TRADOC safety inspections. This is the group’s first year winning the award.
“It is great, it is a total team effort,” said Capt. Mark Swiney, commander, Company E. “It takes a lot of people, putting in a lot of things together to get it done.”
Cone not only presented the company with an award, but was also the first to present at the Intelligence Senior Leadership Conference Tuesday morning. During his presentation Cone discussed the modern-day complex war environment and the strategic levers that compel the United States to get involved in conflict.
He said the U.S. Army’s strength does not come from specialized teams, but its greatest strength lies in its platoons, companies, battalions and brigades. He said the Army needs to focus on “prevent, shape and win” as a war strategy with the main focus on preventing and shaping.
The correct regional alignment of forces, culture and language training are methods of “preventing” and “shaping.” The general also said the Army could not rely on a single type of brigade for warfare, citing the need of at least Stryker, infantry and armor brigades. He said the intelligence structure will have to be wired to support the brigade and division commands.
On talking about the changing military, Cone described the Army’s need to return to thinking about itself as being a profession. He described the Army as being a career, a “profession of arms” and said Soldiers should be going to schools and training to get both the education commensurate with their ranks and accountability training. Promotions, he said, should not be solely based on the need to maintain numbers. Cone cited the rank of captain as an example. “It should be about having professional captains, not about having enough captains,” he said.
The Army has developed standards, disciplines and values. Soldiers, especially those in leadership positions, need to live up to them, Cone said. He also explained the importance and need of the return to mentorship, something that fell away during frequent deployments.
“We’re not bad people,” he stated. “We’ve got the time to do it now. Deployments are not so quick. Somebody did it for you. We’ve got to provide guidance beyond the job. We’ve got to help design career paths and get Soldiers started on it.”
Cone said the Army is a standards- and doctrine-based Army. It is in the process of writing doctrine by using the best and brightest of its Soldiers to capture and document experiences with broad application so the Army can apply the experience of the past 11 years to the future.
Cone said the Army is going to continue to reduce and restructure focusing on reducing redundancies.
“The best Army in the world should have the best training in the world,” he said, adding this includes both continued culture and language training. “Leaders will need to be adaptive.
“TRADOC is a support command, and I’m here to support you. Thanks for what you do.”