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The U.S. Army’s Expeditionary Mission Command Capability Winning in a Complex World

September 1, 2015

Today’s uncertain and dynamic security environment remains as volatile and unpredictable as ever, perhaps even more so. In fact, constant change now and in the foreseeable future is the norm. Once thought to be receding, the accelerating insecurity and instability across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific, coupled with the continued threat to the homeland and the U.S. Army’s ongoing operations in Afghanistan, remain significant concerns to America’s security community. Potential adversaries continue to emphasize and pursue indirect and asymmetric techniques to negate the U.S. military’s strengths and/or threaten America’s vital interests. It is imperative that the Army maintain strategic and operational flexibility to deter and operate in multiple regions simultaneously—in all phases of military operations—to prevent conflicts, shape the security environment and win in support of U.S. policy objectives. To win, the Army must provide the joint force multiple options, integrate the efforts of multiple partners, operate across multiple domains and present adversaries with multiple dilemmas.

The Total Army—active, Guard and Reserve— is and will continue to be the backbone of the joint force, providing to each of the combatant commanders such fundamental capabilities as command and control, logistics, intelligence and communications support to set the theater, as well as providing ground combat forces, special operations forces and joint task force headquarters. Demand for Army capabilities and presence continues to increase across combatant commands in response to emerging contingencies. In its new operating concept—“Win in a Complex World”—the Army is developing forces that are expeditionary, tailorable, scalable and prepared to meet the challenges presented by this unprecedented, ever-changing security environment. The foundation of this new concept is the Army’s ability to conduct joint combined-arms maneuver.

Expeditionary maneuver becomes the norm as most of the Army is based in the United States (e.g., there are only two brigade combat teams forward stationed). Strategic responsiveness—units ready to deploy, transition to operations rapidly, function over wide areas, import a smaller logistics footprint—is an imperative. Whether the primary mission is combat, humanitarian assistance, counterinsurgency or other, Soldiers and leaders need a robust and varied set of capabilities, especially mission command.