The Army has no intention of returning to “tiered readiness” as it winds down operations in Afghanistan and looks to its future, the commanding general of the Training and Doctrine Command told Association of the United States Army chapter leaders Sunday, Oct. 21.
Gen. Robert Cone, speaking in Washington before the opening ceremony of the Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition the next day, said the Army Force Generation Model, used to supply units to Afghanistan and Iraq over the last 11 years, is about to release volumes of new doctrine on how it fights, trains and equips the force.
To fight the two wars, he said the Army became “masters of counterinsurgency and pretty good at acquisition” [rapid fielding of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, drones, etc.] to meet changing circumstances. In addition, he said the Army became “fairly comfortable with static war,” staying in one place for a very long time and contracting out for many services. It has also been a time when the Army National Guard and Army Reserve became truly “part of our team.” Cone added that they continue to receive “everything they need” to remain an operational reserve.
But this time period also led to a loss of reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities above battalions and modularity, discounting the value of divisions and corps to Army operations, he said.
Now that the Army is returning to garrison, Cone said, there has been some “fraying around the edges for discipline.”
It also has become a force “that is the greatest generation of tactical leaders,” but without the training and education to think strategically. Cone said that 35,000 noncommissioned officers are wearing the rank without the required school, and 5,000 majors are serving without attending the Command and General Staff College.
“We must re-establish training … at the installation level,” said Cone, adding that “we are out of balance” in training for the full spectrum of operations.
Cone plans to send training teams to installations and the combat training centers to reinforce the new doctrine
He sees the regional alignment of forces as providing a focus for training, emphasizing language and cultural skills and “becoming an expert on where we’re going next.”
In a very real way, this incorporates special operations emphases into conventional forces.
“Integration [of the two types of forces] has been a tremendous success story of the last 10 years,” Cone said.Cone added that “we’ve got to look at broadening [officers, warrants, NCOs and soldiers] so they can be stretched and developed” for the future.