This month the latest Army Capstone Concept was rolled out. The previous ACC was published in 2009.
The ACC is a broad roadmap for how the Army will conduct future planning, organization and operations globally in support of the president’s national security objectives.
“ACC is an important part of how the Army ensures we remain relevant and ready for expectations and missions our nation expects us to fulfill,” said Maj. Gen. Bill Hix, director, Training and Doctrine Command’s Concept Development and Learning Directorate, during a media round-table, Dec. 21.
One of the main differences in this ACC, according to Hix, is “we are focused on a transitioning Army that can better meet the needs of an emerging operational environment.”
The “transitioning Army” Hix refers to is one that has exited Iraq, is drawing down from Afghanistan but still engaged, and is positioning itself to better respond to events globally.
That “new environment” he said, refers to an ever-changing and more complex world, with events unfolding with great rapidity, such as those brought about by the Arab Spring. The new environment means the Army would have to rapidly adapt if needed, meaning being more agile and flexible as opposed to an institutional mindset.
Although he said the Army is now “more CONUS-based,” soldiers will deploy worldwide in support of theater commanders and their regional alignment strategies.
The ACC’s regional alignment component aims to “prevent, shape and win,” Hix said, meaning “working with the other services, our partners and our allies to prevent wars and shape the environment to the benefits of our national interest as well as that of our partners and allies and to contribute to stability around the world.”
To do all of this, he said, requires that the Army be nimble – available to respond to a crisis within hours, not days – and to be able to provide the right size and mix of forces that would be needed at the right time and the right place, be it a humanitarian operation or one where force is required.
The Army is well postured to do all of this on a global scale, Hix said, citing Special Forces operations capabilities, the Army’s solid logistics, communications and intelligence structures and its ability to run ports, railroads, and large-scale helicopter lifts.
The other services will always have their own place at the table, he emphasized. “We bring capabilities that complement, not compete with theirs.”
A new ACC is generated from the president’s strategic imperatives, along with input from within the Army on lessons learned, TRADOCs future studies and experimentation and consultations with the other services.
The ACC is not new.
“We’ve done this work throughout our history,” Hix said, citing war games and experiments on maneuver warfare in the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as post-war assessments. It just went by other names.