New initiatives focus on meeting present and future challenges

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, provided updates on TRADOC initiatives that will help shape the future Army during the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 23.

Cone began his presentation by addressing the challenges of the future operational environment and identifying the hybrid strategy used by nation states and surrogates to draw the U.S. into conflict.

"These forces recognize that conventional confrontation with the U.S. is, in fact, a losing proposition. They understand our vulnerabilities. They are on their home terrain, and they will use non-traditional capabilities to the greatest extent possible – not in a random way, but in a way designed to address U.S. vulnerabilities," Cone said.

The goal of the enemy is to frustrate U.S. operations and turn conflict into a protracted war of attrition with the goal of affecting the nation’s resolve, according to Cone.

Cone’s presentation then addressed the need for TRADOC to focus on developing people and ideas, and building organizations to meet these challenges.

"I would argue that if you want something done in the United States Army, the people you turn to are the talented company, battalion, brigade and division commanders," Cone said.

He outlined the need to ensure the operational knowledge these leaders have acquired during the last 10 years of war is not lost, and is captured in the Army’s guiding doctrine.

To that end, Cone noted that TRADOC is leading an effort called "Doctrine 2015." Doctrine 2015 provides the Army with a common professional language within a new, simplified and holistic doctrinal framework.

"We have faced the challenge of a generation that I believe was let down by the doctrine that we had as they went into Iraq and Afghanistan," Cone said. "Many [doctrinal manuals] hadn’t been updated for 15 to 20 years and that is the reason why, in many cases, this generation of warfighters didn’t use them."

The goal is to create a top-to-bottom hierarchy, or echelon, of publications and manuals that provide top-level, easy-to-read doctrinal principals, with supporting references that increase in length and depth of information. Doctrine 2015 will make these references available at the point of need through interactive media such as mobile applications.

According to Cone, the top level of publications, known as Army Doctrine Publications, each about 10-15 pages, should be available by August 2012.

TRADOC is also addressing how to make home station training more realistic and similar to training received at combat training centers, or CTCs. Cone said he believes battalion commanders would embrace the ability to design and execute training similar to CTCs.

"If we do not make home station training exciting and relevant, we will pay a price in young leaders exiting the Army because they will not get it or understand the relevance of it," Cone said.

Cone also discussed a TRADOC priority called "The Army Profession," which includes an Army-wide assessment of the force after nearly a decade of war. The effort is led by the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic at West Point, N.Y.

"We have basically asked the force what we need to do to go into the future, and what we found is that the force is very hard on itself," Cone said.

The first report on the Army Profession is scheduled for release April 2. Cone said the report will reflect the soldiers’ desires to return to basic discipline, with emphasis on mentorship and leadership programs.

According to TRADOC, the command develops, educates and trains soldiers, civilians, and leaders while supporting unit training. TRADOC also designs, builds and integrates a versatile mix of capabilities, formations, and equipment to strengthen the U.S. Army as America’s Force of Decisive Action.