The U.S. Army must invest in technologies of the future and put less focus on the archaic, according to Lt. Gen. Robert P. Lennox, deputy chief of staff, G-8.
“We can’t afford to get modernization wrong,” said Lennox, during the Association of the United States Army’s Institute of Land Warfare Breakfast. “We are committed to getting this right.”
Although Lennox listed examples of the Army preparing for the wrong war during the 20th century by: preparing for strategic nuclear war with the soviets and getting counterinsurgency with Vietnam instead, preparing for conventional war in the Central European theater and getting Desert Storm instead, preparing for conventional war with rogue states and getting protracted counterinsurgency in Iraq instead.
He argued that it is still imperative for the Army to try to predict and prepare for future wars.
He added that although some of these previous preparations had been inaccurate, they had been useful in some way -- for example, preparing for conventional war in Central Europe around the fall of the Soviet Union did help prepare forces for Desert Storm.
In addition, Lennox outlined the coming challenges in Army modernization, including making sure that requirements in the acquisition process are achievable and incremental, and expanding the role of industry.
The three main portfolios that the Army will be focusing on for modernization, Lennox said, are ground combat, aviation, and the Army Network.
“Our philosophy for the ground combat vehicle is transform, replace and upgrade,” Lennox said. “We’re looking for anything out there that can do the mission.”
As an example of this philosophy, Lennox cited the Army’s move from the Bradley fighting vehicle to the Ground Combat Vehicle – Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Lennox also explained ways in which they were looking to modernize the Stryker (Double-V Hull,) including better accommodating the Army Network, restoring core enablers, using electrical power, giving it a digital backbone, and upgrading the engine and suspension.
“It wasn’t long ago that we were living in the Army of 2001,” said Lennox, adding that life for the reserve and active force wasn’t so good then as well.
With the aviation portfolio, the Army is looking to expand the role and improve the efficiency of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
And regarding the Army network, Lennox emphasized building one network with capacity at the tactical level, “focusing on standards, leveraging these evaluations to learn” and “making a difference in a rapid way.”
Lennox dispelled the myth that the Army “lived high on the hog” in 2001 and now it was time for the U.S. government to “do something else with its money.”
“Life wasn’t so good in 2001,” explained Lennox, adding that the Army was fighting a $56 billion shortfall in equipment at the time. “It’s taken congress, industry and the leadership of the United States Army to get where we are today.”
The ILW Breakfast was sponsored by Raytheon, an AUSA sustaining member.