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Allyn: ‘You guard our flanks and rain steel on our enemies’

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Just as the Army chief of staff recently testified before lawmakers, warning of the damage another round of sequestration would cause, the Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, echoed the chief’s words to many connected to the Army aviation community.

Addressing an audience of over 300 at an Aviation "Hot Topic" professional development forum hosted on by the Association of the U.S. Army, Allyn opened the one-day seminar praising Army aviators for their daily role in the successes in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the globe.

"I’m an infantryman by trade, but every infantryman with any experience, particularly in combat, holds his aviation brothers and sisters in reverent respect and admiration because we know your courage and indomitable expertise get us to battle, pull us out when we’re mission-complete or God-forbid, when we are most in need, you guard our flanks and rain steel on our enemies to ensure we never face a fair fight," Allyn said.

"Aviators have been and will continue to be integral in every success we will achieve," he said.

Adding, "As we wind down from 13-plus years of war, we all hoped the world environment would cooperate and stabilize – in reality, there is no peace dividend – the world has changed and it requires the United States Army to remain globally engaged while at the same time operating with a smaller budget and force structure in a world that is as dangerous as I have seen."

As dangerous as the world is, Allyn noted that the Army faced a very real near-term threat to its effectiveness as a force by another round of sequestration that would have "devastating effects."

The Army eliminated three of its 13 active-component combat aviation brigades since the last sequestration. "Our commitments remain significant," he said.

"In 2013, we had six combat aviation brigades committed to operational missions, and in 2015 – you guessed it – we have six combat aviation brigades slated for commitment around the globe – the same amount of work with a smaller pool to draw from," Allyn said.

The vice chief said the drawdown and budget challenge forced the Army to relook at its entire aviation fleet and strategy, which became the Aviation Restructure Initiative – "the optimal way forward."

"These cutbacks were not something we chose, but in order to maximize the capability and capacity of our total force and protect our critical modernization programs, such as future vertical lift, the improved turbine engine program and the UH-60-Lima digital upgrades, crafting the aviation restructure initiative was necessary," he said.

Allyn also discussed the Army Operating Concept, or AOC, which will guide future force development by identifying first-order capabilities, providing the intellectual foundation for learning, and for applying what soldiers learn as the future force is built.

The AOC is titled "Win in a Complex World."

"To win in a complex world, we must think of four multiples," he said, "provide the joint force commanders and our national leaders with multiple options, integrate efforts of multiple partners, operate across multiple domains and present our enemies with multiple dilemmas simultaneously."

He added, "Future Army forces will support joint force freedom of action through the projection of power from land, across the maritime, air and cyberspace domains … we will fight dispersed, but with the mobility to concentrate rapidly at a decisive point."

He also said future vertical lift will allow forces to operate across wide areas while maintaining mutual support and that the improved turbine engine will make legacy aircraft effective by dramatically increasing range and the ability to fly in high, hot conditions.

"Manned and unmanned teaming advances will increase combat effectiveness, expand our terrain coverage and reduce risk to our soldiers and our formations," Allyn said.

Adding, "As we project presence around the globe, it’s important to remember that future aviation innovation enables greater range, greater fuel efficiency and greater reliability in order to reduce logistics demand and allow aircraft to operate from austere locations alongside our ground forces."

Allyn said it was important to remember in the current operational environment, technologies are easily copied or countered and what gives the Army a differential advantage over its adversaries are the skilled soldiers and well-trained teams who optimize effective technologies.

"It’s all about the soldier," he said.

Adding, "Any technology that advances the way the Army recruits, educates, trains and develops our leaders and soldiers is a priority."