Earlier this month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno visited Fort Polk during a Joint Readiness Training Center Decisive Action training rotation.
The DA rotation, which ended Oct. 18, saw thousands of airborne, Special Operations and support Soldiers participate. While one of the key reasons for Odierno’s visit was to observe the DA training, Odierno didn’t miss the opportunity to meet Soldiers stationed at Fort Polk to talk shop and answer any questions they may have had.
Included in his visit were stops for awards and promotions as well as a sit-down meal with junior Soldiers from 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, where he fielded questions from them.
The Soldiers demonstrated their understanding of Army issues by asking questions ranging from concerns about military uniforms to physical fitness standards and even a question about the importance of their current mission, the Army’s Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Response Force.
“Our number 1 priority is to protect our homeland,” Odierno said. “It’s the first time we’ve gotten serious about it and I think it’s time we did.”
Odierno also explained how past stressors from multiple deployments and the rapidly changing threats of today are even adjusting Army Force Generation, a program designed to establish predictable deployment cycles within units. Odierno said today’s threats are becoming more complex than ever as hybrid combinations of regular, irregular, terrorist and criminal groups crop up around the world.
Because of this changing operational environment, Army leaders are hard at work on ways to make the Army more tailorable and scalable at every level.
“It’s going to take us a few years to know exactly where we’re going but I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Odierno said.
Later that evening, Odierno watched airborne Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, conduct an airborne jump during the launch of their DA rotation.
Decisive Action rotations were developed by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to create a common training scenario for use throughout the Army. The rotations are expected to expose troops to today’s threats, coupled with a realistic, challenging environment that mimics 21st century adversaries.
Soldiers participating in Fort Polk’s first DA rotation conducted such tasks as joint forcible entry, phased deployment with an airborne parachute operation, a combined noncombatant evacuation, combined arms maneuvers, wide area security, unconventional warfare and unified land operations in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment.