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Innovation and initiative are advantages when facing adversaries

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Navy admiral who commands the U.S. Pacific Command said the U.S. Army and its land-force partners from around the Indo-Asian-Pacific Theater are a key part of the region’s security environment. 

Speaking May 25 at the LANPAC Symposium and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said he believes the Army must project power into the other domains. 

“The core mission of the Army is to fight and win in the land domain, and you are good at it,” Harris said. 

Adding, “But the Army can project power in other domains.” 

A key example, he said, would be expanding anti-air capabilities from land sites. 

In addition to anti-air, the Army could sink ships, fire at targets in space and defend cyberspace. “I know we are on the right track,” he said. 

He noted, “We live in a world today when we must fight and think jointly.”

Developing adaptive leaders 

Later that same day, Gen. David G. Perkins, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, addressed the subject of training soldiers to think quickly.

Perkins said that every soldier has a role in the success of the Army Operating Concept.

“What we are expecting of everybody in the Army is a level of innovation and initiative that allows you to get a position of advantage” when facing adversaries, Perkins said.

This thought process needs to start at the beginning of training, he said, with soldiers in basic training “having things thrown at them,” stimulating quick thinking and adaption. 

Developing agile and adaptive leaders is one of the Army’s warfighting challenges, and so is having forces that can quickly adapt to new or changing missions. 

Training for simultaneous and multiple dilemmas “will put us at an advantage” because it could prevent an enemy from being able to focus on any single capability, Perkins said.

This is the fourth year of AUSA has convened the LANPAC symposium in Honolulu. 

The event drew more than 1,300 participants on its opening day.