Soldiers must be prepared for the challenge of an uncertain future 

If there’s anything to predict about the future of Army operations is that it will be unpredictable, according to Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and also the nominee to become the next Army chief of staff. It will be difficult to train soldiers for a specific operation and therefore soldiers must be trained to adapt to any situation.

Training and education programs should be “relevant and challenging” and be the foundation to building soldiers who are confident in themselves so they can make decisions “when things go wrong,” Dempsey said Thursday at the Association of the United States Army’s Winter Meeting and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Leaders in small units will be “our decisive edge.”

Adaptable to him means “faster, flatter, more collaborative and always resource sensitive,” and the “learning continuum” must be instilled in soldiers as soon as they raise their right hands at recruiting stations, Dempsey said.

The Army has begun its year-long study of “the profession of arms” that will encompass leader development and ethics for all ranks. In the past, Dempsey said something like this would just be reserved to the officer ranks, but this study promises to be more inclusive and include everyone from initial entry soldiers to NCOs to officers, as well as retirees.

“As we go forward,” the study will allow people to “think in time and understand where we’ve been before we figure out where we’re going,” he said. Adding, “We must see ourselves to preserve the extraordinary relationship we have with the American people.”