The Army is looking ahead as it prepares for the security challenges of 2020 and beyond.
During the 2012 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, senior leaders highlighted the value of both adaptability and versatility as the Army focuses on this critical transition period.
“Every now and then someone will ask me about the Army of 2020 and [how it will look]. It’s not an end state; it’s about transition,” said Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, deputy commanding general of Futures and director of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center.
While speaking at an Institute of Land Warfare panel during the first day of the conference, Walker discussed where the Army is headed and the changes coming to how it will “shoot, move and communicate” in the future.
“Without a doubt, the education and training of our force – especially our leaders – is pretty darn important,” Walker said. “If we want to have an Army that can adapt to the unknown, we need to invest in our young leaders.”
During the panel discussion, the ARCIC director explained the complexity of the current operational environment and discussed how the Army plans to conduct training, education and leader development for future forces.
“The Army Campaign of Learning is very importantly linked to how we’re going to transition to the future,” Walker said, explaining how the Army identifies future training and education requirements. “Through a series of experiments, war games, seminars and studies, we are able to find solutions to the issues facing soldiers in formations,” he added.
The fiscal year 2013 Campaign of Learning, led by ARCIC’s Future Warfare Division, builds upon the insights of the fiscal year 2012 campaign that ended in September. One of the highlights from the past campaign was recognition of the value that regionally aligned (theater committed) forces will provide.
“[Regionally aligned forces] are the best means to provide forces that would be better trained and better aware of the operating environment we may put them in,” Walker said. “That was a big lesson we learned as we did the war games and seminars over the last year.”
Looking ahead, Walker said the lessons learned throughout the past 10 years will also greatly inform the Army on the right direction to meet the future needs of the nation and provide versatile forces across a wide range of military operations.
“Conflict is a human endeavor, and one lesson learned is to adjust our doctrine, training and education,” Walker said. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘How can we help our soldiers perform better?’ We have to ask ourselves if there is a way to help our soldiers learn faster and mature faster?”
The ARCIC director noted that by updating Army doctrine, leadership development and education, informed by insights from ongoing Campaign of Learning events, and working with joint partners, the Army will be prepared to adapt to unknown future operations.
“The fundamental characteristic of the Army is operational adaptability,” Walker said, highlighting a key point from the Army Capstone Concept. “Operational adaptability requires flexible organizations and flexible institutions.”
Walker wrapped up his discussion with his view that the Army of the future will need to be adaptable, flexible and versatile – noting these were characteristics the Army has always and will always provide to the nation.