I had the distinct honor today of taking part in the Army Military Blogger's Round Table discussion with LTG William B Caldwell IV. A senior officer and the Commander of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the US Army's Combined Arms Center who I have a great deal of respect for. The group attending the round table was able to discuss with him a number of very important issues. I am going to stick to those that I think were the top three.
The first issue, as many of you will recognize as being near and dear to my heart, is education and training of our Soldiers, NCO's and Officers. I completely agree with LTG Caldwell's comments about where we are and where we need to go. The Army and the Combined Arms Center is making a concerted effort to identify the trends and tactics that are applicable and to ensure the widest possible dissemination of them. One of the new ways that this is being accomplished is through a wiki style site, where 7 ATTP's have been uploaded for discussion. In my humble opinion this is a great idea to generate discussion, understanding, and maintain their relevance with our ever-changing operational environment. You do have to be an ID Card Holder to access it, IE, able to access Army Knowledge Online.
ATN Site (Army Wiki): https://atn.army.mil/
The second area was that of Design. I have talked about Design before, but just a quick recap is probably in order. Design is the thought process that is being developed by the School of Advanced Military Studies to properly understand the situation a leader will find himself in. It concentrates on what is the actual problem, through framing the problem correctly, and then moving into a solution space that provides linkages to planning that will accomplish the right mission. In short, it ensures that we are solving the right problem and not the wrong problem well.
A concern I have had, is how do we now take this from the educational environment and transfer it to the operational Army in a codified manner and training perspective. A lot of great work has been done on this with the draft of FM 5-0 that I believe will be out sometime this fall. It was very reassuring to hear LTG Caldwell talk about the continued importantance of Design and that Joint Forces Command, other Military Schools, The Inter-Agency, and the force in general is watching this and involved in it.
Finally LTG Caldwell discussed the importance of blending the needs of the current Operational Army and the needs for education / training. One aspect of this is the usage of mentors who have multiple combat tours and establishing a pattern that they can be utilized within to educate our future senior leaders and at the same time not pulling them from the Operational Army for too long. The second is the issue of training for your mission in a geographically specific area and trying to balance that with training across the spectrum of core competencies in regards to Major Combat Operations. The Army has recognized with the current shortened dwell times (time a soldier and unit is home between deployments) that this has become difficult and a challenge. But is looking to the future as to how we will go back to training for both as dwell times for Soldiers and Units increase.
LTG Caldwell ended by giving an open invitation to check out the US Army's Combined Arms Center Blog Site. Being here on Fort Leavenworth right now for school, I have been on it a great deal, and I can not say enough about it. I highly recommend checking them out. This site as opposed to ATN is completely open to the general public. There is no sign in procedures.
CAC Blog Site: http://usacac.army.mil/blog/
For me personally, it was very reassuring hearing the steps that the Army was taking to address challenges, and their plans for continued development of our leaders. A good organization tries to keep pace with what it is doing, a great organization looks to the future to address those challenges also. That is exactly what LTG Caldwell and the US Army are doing.
God Bless America
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