From the Army Leadership:

President Bush told us that this war will be unlike any other in our Nation’s history. He was right. After our initial expeditionary responses and successful major combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, those operations have become protracted campaigns where we are providing the conditions of security needed to wage a conflict—a war of ideas. This is not simply a fight against terror—terror is a tactic. This is not simply a fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and adherents—they are foot soldiers. This is not simply a fight to bring democracy to the Middle East—that is a strategic objective. This is a fight for the very ideas at the foundation of our society, the way of life those ideas enable, and the freedoms we enjoy.

The single most significant component of our new strategic reality is that because of the centrality of the ideas in conflict, this war will be a protracted one. Whereas for most of our lives the default condition has been peace, now our default expectation must be conflict. This new strategic context is the logic for reshaping the Army to be an Army of campaign quality with joint and expeditionary capabilities. The lessons learned in two and a half years of war have already propelled a wide series of changes in the Army and across the Joint team.

This learning process must not stop. Although this article outlines the strategic context for the series of changes under way in our Army, its purpose is not to convince you or even to inform you. Its purpose is to cause you to reflect on and think about this new strategic context and what it portends for our future and for the Nation. All great changes in our Army have been accompanied by earnest dialogue and active debate at all levels—both within the Army and with those who care about the Army. As this article states, “The best way to anticipate the future is to create it.” Your thoughtful participation in this dialogue is key to creating that future.

Les Brownlee
Acting Secretary of the Army
General Peter J. Schoomaker
Chief of Staff, US Army

 

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Serving a Nation at War:
A Campaign Quality Army
with Joint and
Expeditionary Capabilities

 

LES BROWNLEE and PETER J. SCHOOMAKER


From Parameters, Summer 2004, pp. 4-23.


“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the
statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war
on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it
into, something that it is alien to its nature. This is the first of all strategic
questions and the most comprehensive.”
                                                                             — Clausewitz, On War


America is a Nation at war. To win this war, we must meld all elements of our national power in a determined and relentless campaign to defeat enemies who challenge our way of life. This is not a “contingency,” nor is it a “crisis.” It is a new reality that Soldiers understand all too well: since 9/11, they have witnessed more than a battalion’s worth of their comrades killed in action, more than a brigade’s worth severely wounded. Their sacrifice has liberated more than 46 million people. As these words are written, the Army is completing the largest rotation of forces in its history, and all 18 of its divisions have seen action in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, or Iraq. We have activated more than 244,000 Soldiers of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve in the last two years, and more than a division’s worth of Soldiers support homeland security missions. Over 300,000 Soldiers are forward-deployed. Like our Nation, we are an Army at war.

For any war, as Clausewitz pointed out, it is essential to understand “the kind of war on which [we] are embarking.” Although the fundamental nature of war is constant, its methods and techniques constantly change to reflect the strategic context and operational capabilities at hand. The United States is

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driving a rapid evolution in the methods and techniques of war. Our overwhelming success in this endeavor, however, has driven many adversaries to seek their own adaptive advantages through asymmetric means and methods.

Some enemies, indeed, are almost perfectly asymmetric. Non-state actors, in particular, project no mirror image of the nation-state model that has dominated global relationships for the last few centuries. They are asymmetric in means. They are asymmetric in motivation: they don’t value what we value; they don’t fear what we fear. Whereas our government is necessarily hierarchical, these enemies are a network. Whereas we develop rules of engagement to limit tactical collateral damage, they feel morally unconstrained in their efforts to deliver strategic effects. Highly adaptive, they are self-organizing on the basis of ideas alone, exposing very little of targetable value in terms of infrastructure or institutions. To better understand such a war, we must examine the broader context of conflict, the competition of ideas.

A cursory examination of the ideas in competition may forecast the depth and duration of this conflict. The United States, its economy dependent on overseas markets and trade, has contributed to a wave of globalization both in markets and in ideas. Throughout much of the world, political pluralism, economic competition, unfettered trade, and tolerance of diversity have produced the greatest individual freedom and material abundance in human history. Other parts of the world remain mired in economic deprivation, political failure, and social resentment. Many remain irreconcilably opposed to religious freedom, secular pluralism, and modernization. Although not all

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have taken up arms in this war of ideas, such irreconcilables comprise millions of potential combatants.

Meanwhile, not all former strategic threats have vanished. In the Far East, North Korea’s nuclearization risks intensifying more than 50 years of unremitting hostility, and many others pursue weapons of mass destruction. We confront the growing danger that such weapons will find their way into the hands of non-state groups or individuals. Armed with such weapons and with no infrastructure of their own at risk, such “super-empowered individuals” could be anxious to apply them to our homeland.

On the international landscape the significance of American dominance in world affairs has not been lost on other states. Many are envious, some are fearful, and others believe that the “sole superpower” must be curbed. This presents fertile soil for competitive coalitions and alliances between states and non-state actors aimed at curtailing US strengths and influence. Such strategic challenges have the potential to become strategic threats at some point in the future.

At the same time, in a globalizing world, military-capable technology is increasingly fungible, and thus potential adversaries may have the means to achieve parity or even superiority in niche technologies tailored to their military ambitions. For us and for them, those technologies facilitate increasingly rapid, simultaneous, and non-contiguous military operations. Such operations increasingly characterize today’s conflicts, and portend daunting future operational challenges.

We must prepare for the future, then, even as we relentlessly pursue those who seek the destruction of our way of life, and while waging a prolonged war of ideas to alter the conditions that motivate our enemies. Some might equate these challenges to the Cold War, but there are critical distinctions:

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That is not the strategic context for which we designed today’s United States Army. Hence, our Army today confronts the supreme test of all armies: to adapt rapidly to circumstances that it could not foresee.

Change in a Time of War

The Army always has changed and always will. But an army at war must change the way it changes. In peacetime, armies change slowly and deliberately. Modern warfare is immensely complex. The vast array of capabilities, skills, techniques, and organizations of war is a recipe for chaos without thoughtful planning to assure interoperability, synchronization, and synergy. Second- and third-order effects of a change in any part of this intricate mechanism are difficult to forecast, and the consequences of misjudgment can be immense.

Peacetime also tends to subordinate effectiveness to economy, and joint collaboration to the inevitable competition for budgets and programs. Institutional energies tend to focus on preserving force structure and budgetary programs of record. Resource risk is spread across budget years and programs, including forces in the field.

Today, that measured approach to change will not suffice. Our current force is engaged, and in ways we could not perfectly forecast. Our immediate demands are urgent, and fielding capabilities in the near term may outweigh protection of the program of record. We will shift resource risk away from fighting Soldiers.

To be sure, this urgency does not excuse us from the obligation to prepare for the future, for the prolongation of this conflict as well as the possible outbreak of others we cannot predict. But it does significantly blur the usual dichotomy between the current and future force. We must ensure that we apply lessons learned from today’s fight to those future force programs, even if that means adjusting their direction and timing. In short, change in a time of war must deal simultaneously with both current and future needs.

It must also pervade our entire institution. The Army cannot restrict change solely to its operating forces. The same Soldiers and leaders who adapt, learn, and innovate on our battlefields also drive our institutional Army. We must match our success on the battlefield with successful adaptation of the Army at home. Such adaptation already is under way in the expan-

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sion and retailoring of our combat training centers, the establishment of a Futures Center in Training and Doctrine Command, reformulation of the Army Campaign Plan, and a wide range of consolidation and reorganization initiatives in Army major commands.

Fundamental to this adaptation will be our rapid evolution to a campaign-quality Army with joint and expeditionary capabilities.

An Expeditionary Mindset

The Army is no stranger to expeditionary operations. World War I saw deployment of the American Expeditionary Forces, and World War II the Allied Expeditionary Force. Throughout its history the Army has executed a wide array of deployments. But many today no longer perceive the United States Army to be expeditionary. Some might argue that the primary distinction of an expeditionary operation is its short duration. Neither history nor strategic guidance—which calls for expeditionary forces capable of sustained operations—confirms such a definition. Others view expeditionary as speed of responsiveness, but this perception, too, is not complete. In the Cold War, the United States was committed to reinforce Europe with ten divisions within ten days, but no one perceived that responsiveness as expeditionary. The reason for this is significant: in the Cold War we knew where we would fight and we met this requirement through prepositioning of units or unit sets in a very developed theater. The uncertainty as to where we must deploy, the probability of a very austere operational environment, and the requirement to fight on arrival throughout the battlespace pose an entirely different challenge—and the fundamental distinction of expeditionary operations.

This challenge is above all one of mindset, because decades of planning and preparation against set-piece enemies predisposed American Soldiers to seek certainty and synchronization in the application of force. We have engaged repeatedly in conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity, to be sure, but always viewing such operations as the exception rather than the rule. That can no longer be the case. In this globalized world, our enemies shift resources and activities to those areas least accessible to us. As elusive and adaptive enemies seek refuge in the far corners of the earth, the norm will be short-notice operations, extremely austere theaters of operation, and incomplete information—indeed, the requirement to fight for information, rather

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than fight with information. Soldiers with a joint and expeditionary mindset will be confident that they are organized, trained, and equipped to go anywhere in the world, at any time, in any environment, against any adversary, to accomplish the assigned mission.

A Joint Mindset

The touchstone of America’s way of war is combined arms warfare. Each of our armed services excels in combining a wide array of technologies and tools in each dimension—land, air, sea, and space—to generate a synergy of effects that creates overwhelming dilemmas for our opponents. Today, that same emphasis on combinations extends beyond each service to joint operations. No longer satisfied merely to deconflict the activities of the several services, we now seek joint interdependence.

Interdependence is more than just interoperability, the assurance that service capabilities can work together smoothly. It is even more than integration to improve their collective efficiency and effectiveness. Joint interdependence purposefully combines service capabilities to maximize their total complementary and reinforcing effects, while minimizing their relative vulnerabilities. There are several compelling reasons for doing so:

First, modern technology has extended the reach of weapons far beyond their “dimensions of origin.” For example, land-based cruise missiles threaten ships at sea, and land-based air defenses pose challenges to air-, sea-, and even space-based capabilities. Merely defeating the mirror-image threat within a service’s primary dimension of interest can no longer suffice.

Second, in addition to achieving daunting supremacy within the air, maritime, and space dimensions, our sister services are developing increasingly powerful capabilities that can influence land combat directly.

Finally, the nature of expeditionary operations argues for leveraging every potential tool of speed, operational reach, and precision. By projecting coordinated combinations of force unhindered by distance and generally independent of terrain, we can achieve maximum effect for the Joint Force Commander without regard to the service of origin.

At the strategic level, interdependence has long pervaded the Army’s thinking. Lacking organic strategic lift, we can neither deploy nor sustain ourselves without the support of the other services. But our commitment to interdependence has not always extended to the tactical level. Constrained by the tyranny of terrain, ground forces operate in a world of friction and position. Command and control are fragile, the risk of surprise is omnipresent, and our mobility advantage is relatively limited vis--vis our adversaries. Once committed, we must prevail. The decisive nature of land combat underscores a preference for organizational autonomy and redundancy, and tends to preju-

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dice Soldiers against relying on others for essential ingredients of tactical survival and success. In the past, moreover, that prejudice too often has prompted interservice rivalries reflecting concerns far removed from the practical imperatives of the battlefield.

A nation at war cannot afford that indulgence. War relentlessly exposes theories built upon prejudice rather than proof, and Iraq and Afghanistan have been no different. The air-, sea-, or land-power debates are over. Our collective future is irrefutably joint. To meet the challenges of expeditionary operations, the Army can and must embrace the capabilities of its sister services right down to the tactical level. In turn, that will require us to develop operational concepts, capabilities, and training programs that are joint from the outset, not merely as an afterthought.

The prerequisites of a commitment to interdependence are broad understanding of the differing strengths and limitations of each service’s capabilities, clear agreement about how those capabilities will be integrated in any given operational setting, and absolute mutual trust that, once committed, they will be employed as agreed. At the same time, the Army requires a similar commitment from its sister services. The ultimate test of interdependence is at the very tip of the spear, where the rifleman carries the greatest burden of risk with the least intrinsic technological advantage. No concept of interdependence will suffice that does not enable the frontline Soldier and Marine.

The same logic and spirit that informs joint interdependence also underscores the role of interagency and multinational operations. In a sustained conflict that is a war of ideas, all interagency elements of our national power must work in concert with allies and coalition partners to alter the conditions that motivate our adversaries.

A Campaign-Quality Army

While our recent combat employments in Afghanistan and Iraq were models of rapid and effective offensive operations, they also demonstrate that neither the duration nor the character of even the most successful military campaign is readily predictable. Especially in wars intended to liberate rather than subjugate, victory entails winning a competition of ideas, and thereby fundamentally changing the conditions that prompted the conflict. Long after the defeat of Taliban and Iraqi military forces, we continue to wage just such campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The campaign quality of an Army thus is not only its ability to win decisive combat operations, but also its ability to sustain those operations for as long as necessary, adapting them as required to unpredictable and often profound changes in the context and character of the conflict. The Army’s preeminent challenge is to reconcile expeditionary agility and responsive-

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ness with the staying power, durability, and adaptability to carry a conflict to a victorious conclusion no matter what form it eventually takes.

“Are You Wearing Your Dog Tags?”

Does that question surprise you? It might if you view peace as our default condition, and war the exception. But our new reality is very different:

This new reality drives the transformation under way in the Army. It is the lens that shapes our perception and interpretation of the future, and governs our responses to its challenges. It is the logic for a campaign-quality Army with joint and expeditionary capabilities. Are you wearing your dog tags?

Changing for Conflict

The Center of Our Formations

Our core competencies remain: to train and equip Soldiers and grow leaders; and to provide relevant and ready landpower to the Combatant Commander and the joint team. Therefore even in a time of profound change, the American Soldier will remain the center of our formations. In a conflict of daunting complexity and diversity, the Soldier is the ultimate platform. “Delinkable” from everything other than his values, the Soldier remains the irreplaceable base of the dynamic array of combinations that America can generate to defeat our enemies in any expeditionary environment. As the ultimate combination of sensor and shooter, the American Soldier is irrefutable proof that people are more important than hardware and quality more important than quantity.

Making that Soldier more effective and survivable is the first requirement of adaptation to a joint and expeditionary environment. However much the tools of war may improve, only Soldiers willing and able to endure war’s hardships can exploit them. Their skills will change as the specialization characteristic of industrial-age warfare gives way to the information-age need for greater flexibility and versatility. What will not change is their warrior ethos.

That ethos reflects the spirit of the pioneers who built America, of whom it rightly was said, “The cowards never started. The brave arrived.

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Only the tough survived.” It is a subtle, offensive spirit based on quiet competence. It is an ethos that recognizes that closing with an enemy is not just a matter of killing, but rather is the ultimate responsibility reserved for the most responsible and the most disciplined. Only the true warrior ethos can moderate war’s inevitable brutality.

Just as the post-9/11 operational environment has fundamentally changed, so too should the expectations of the Americans entering Army service. We will seek individuals ready and willing for warrior service. Bound to each other by integrity and trust, the young Americans we welcome to our ranks will learn that in the Army, every Soldier is a leader, responsible for what happens in his or her presence regardless of rank. They will value learning and adaptability at every level, particularly as it contributes to initiative: creating situations for an adversary, rather than reacting to them. They will learn that the Army’s culture is one of selfless service, a warrior culture rather than a corporate one. As such, it is not important who gets the credit, either within the Army or within the joint team; what’s important is that the nation is served.

Organizing for Conflict

Confronting an adaptive adversary, no single solution will succeed, no matter how elegant, synchronized, or advanced. Its very “perfection” will ensure its irrelevance, for an adaptive enemy will relentlessly eliminate the vulnerabilities that solution seeks to exploit and avoid the conditions necessary for its success. Instead, the foundations of Army Transformation must be diversity and adaptability. The Army must retain a wide range of capabilities while significantly improving its agility and versatility. Building a joint and expeditionary Army with campaign qualities will require versatile forces that can mount smaller, shorter duration operations routinely—without penalty to the Army’s capability for larger, more protracted campaigns.

Modular Units. A key prerequisite to achieving that capability is developing more modular tactical organizations. The Army’s force design has incorporated tailoring and task organization for decades, but primarily in the context of a large conventional war in which all echelons from platoon to Army Service Component Command were deployed. This presumption of infrequent large-scale deployment encouraged the Army to centralize certain functions at higher echelons of command, and implicitly assumed that deployment would largely be complete before significant employment began. Moreover, presuming peace to be the default condition, the Army garrisoned the bulk of its tactical units to optimize economic efficiency and management convenience rather than combined-arms training and rapid deployability. Above all, the Army designed its capabilities to satisfy every tactical requirement autonomously, viewing sister service capabilities as supplementary.

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These presumptions no longer apply. Near-simultaneous employment and deployment increasingly characterize Army operations, and those operations are increasingly diverse in both purpose and scope. Tailoring and task-organizing our current force structure for such operations renders an ad hoc deployed force and a nondeployed residue of partially disassembled units, diminishing the effectiveness of both. The premium now is on employed combined-arms effectiveness at lower levels vice efficiency at macro levels. Peace will be the exception, and both tactical organizations and garrison configurations must support expeditionary deployment, not simply improvise it. Force design must catch up with strategic reality.

That strategic reality is the immediate need for versatile, cohesive units—and more of them. Increasingly, ownership of capabilities by echelons and even by services matters less than how those capabilities are allocated to missions. Although divisions have long been the nominal measure of the Army’s fighting strength, the Army also has a long history of deployment and employment of multifunctional brigade combat teams. In addition, the Army has a broad array of reinforcing capabilities—both units and headquarters—but we can significantly improve their modularity. In the future, by shifting to such brigade combat teams as our basic units of action, enabling them routinely with adequate combat, combat support, and sustainment capabilities, and assuring them connectivity to headquarters and joint assets, we can significantly improve the tailorability, scalability, and “fightability” of the Army’s contribution to the overall joint fight. At the same time, the inherent robustness and self-sufficiency of brigade combat teams will enhance their ability to deploy rapidly and fight on arrival.

Being expeditionary is far less about deployability than about operational and tactical agility, including the ability to reach routinely beyond organic capabilities for required effects. If in the process the Army can leverage our sister services’ mobility, reach, and lethality to satisfy some of those mission requirements, all the better. To achieve that, we must expand our view of Army force design to encompass the entire range of available joint capabilities. At the end of the day, squads and platoons will continue to win our engagements, but no one can reliably predict—particularly in the emerging operational environment—which squads or platoons will carry the decisive burden of the fight. In an expeditionary army, small units must be so well networked that whichever makes contact can leverage all joint capabilities to fight and win.

Such joint interdependence is not unidirectional. The more modular the Army’s capabilities, the better we will be able to support our sister services, whether by the air defense protection of an advanced sea base, compelling an enemy ground force to mass and thereby furnish targets for air attack,

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or exploiting the transitory effects of precision fires with the more permanent effects of ground maneuver.

Modular Headquarters. The transformation of our headquarters will be even more dramatic than that of our units, for we will sever the routine association between headquarters and the units they control. At division level and higher, headquarters will surrender organic subordinate formations, becoming themselves streamlined modular organizations capable of commanding and controlling any combination of capabilities—Army, joint, or coalition. For that purpose, the headquarters themselves will be more robust, staffed to minimize the requirement for augmentation. They will employ separable, deployable command posts for rapid response and entry; link to Home Station Operation Centers to minimize forward footprints; and be network-enabled organizations capable of commanding or supporting joint and multinational as well as Army forces.

Trained, cohesive staffs are key to combat effectiveness. Today, because our tactical headquarters elements lack the necessary joint interfaces, we have to improvise these when operations begin. That must change. Major tactical headquarters must be capable of conducting Joint Force Land Component Command (JFLCC) operations. Major operational headquarters must have enough permanent sister-service staff positions to receive and employ a Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) plug, enabling them with equal effectiveness to serve as an Army Service Component Command, Joint Task Force, or JFLCC headquarters.

Stabilizing the Force. Paradoxically, an Army that seeks maximum flexibility through modularity must simultaneously maximize unit cohesion where it counts, within our companies, battalions, and brigades. Again, our altered strategic context is the driver. In the past, our approach to unit manning reflected the industrial age in which our forces were developed. Processes treated people as interchangeable parts, and valued their administrative availability more highly than their individual and team proficiency. At the unit level, manning and equipping reflected a “first-to-last” strategic deployment system. Peace was the default condition, allowing late-deploying units to fill out over time, typically by individual replacements, during the expected prolonged transition from peace to war.

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At a time when protracted conflict has become the norm, during which we will repeatedly deploy and employ major portions of our Army, such an approach to manning will not work. Instead, units will need to achieve and sustain a level of readiness far exceeding the ability of any individual manning system. The effects we seek are broad: continuity in training, stability of leadership, unit cohesion, enhanced unit effectiveness, and greater deployment predictability for Soldiers and their families.

To achieve these effects we are undertaking the most significant revision in manning policy in our Army’s history. It entails four key changes:

First, we will shift the logic of our force structure from a scenario basis to a capability basis. We will need an adequate level of capability not only for employment, but also rotation for training, refitting, and rest. This does not preclude the requirement or the capability to surge for crisis response, but sustained commitment and rotation will be the expected requirement.

Second, we must abandon tiering unit readiness by “early” and “late” deployers. There will be no “late deployers,” merely “future deployers” who are at different stages of their rotation cycle.

Third, we must synchronize our Soldiers’ tours with their unit’s rotation cycles. While accidents and casualties will preclude eliminating individual replacement altogether, we must minimize routine attrition of deployed units.

Finally, we must stabilize the assignment of Soldiers and their families at home stations and communities across recurring rotations.

As any personnel manager would tell you, “This changes everything.” And so it should. Today’s individual Soldier and leader development programs, for example, do not accommodate force stabilization. They will change. Current command tour policies do not accommodate force stabilization. They will change. There have been many previous attempts to experiment with force stabilization, but those attempts always focused narrowly on only a few portions of the Army and invariably failed as a result. The Army will undertake a comprehensive policy redesign to stabilize the force.

Adjusting the Total Force Mix

Changes in our reserve component organizations will match those in the active component. Reserve component forces are a vital part of the Army’s deployable combat power. The National Guard will continue to provide strategic and operational depth and flexibility; the Army Reserve will still reinforce the Army with skill-rich capabilities across the spectrum of operations. But with reserve component forces constituting an indispensable portion of our deployed landpower in this protracted conflict, an industrial-age approach to mobilization no longer will suffice. The model will shift from “alert-mobilize-

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train-deploy” to “train-alert-deploy.” Reserve component mobilization must take less time and allow maximum mission time and more flexibility in managing individual and unit readiness, mobilization and demobilization, deployment and redeployment, and post-deployment recovery.

We will adjust the active/reserve mix so that active component forces can execute the first 30 days of any deployment. For that purpose, some high-demand, low-density capabilities currently found only in the reserve components must be reincorporated in the active force. At the same time, while we will not expect reserve component units to deploy in the first 30 days, they will employ forces within hours for security operations within our homeland. As with the active forces, the need to build predictability into reserve component deployments will require increasing the proportion of high-demand, low-density units in the reserve components. Finally, the shift to rotation-based unit manning rather than individual replacement will apply to the reserve components also. As with the active forces, therefore, we must find a way to account for unit mobilization, training, and deployment with a realistic personnel overhead account.

Training and Education

To change the mindset of an Army, few tools are as important as its programs of training and education. The US Army has long set the standard across the world in its commitment to Soldier and leader development. This strong legacy is our fulcrum on which to leverage change. We train for certainty while educating for uncertainty. Today’s conflict presents both.

Individual Training. The certainty confronting today’s Soldiers is overseas deployment and probable combat. Some will enter combat within weeks or months of their basic and advanced individual training. Thrust into a conflict in which adversaries far outnumber their comrades, our Soldiers must believe and demonstrate that quality is more important than quantity, and that people are more important than hardware. On the battlefields we face, there are no front lines and no rear areas; there are no secure garrisons or convoys. Soldiers are warriors first, specialists second.

Therefore Soldier training will be stressful, beyond the comfort zone. We will adapt our training programs to generate the stress necessary to change behavior and increase learning. Training will accurately represent the rigors and risks of combat. It will last longer than in the past and will put teams and Soldiers through the exhausting, challenging, and dangerous tasks of fighting. Soldiers will fight in body armor and will wear it in training. The safe handling of loaded firearms must be second nature, live-fire training routine. For a conflict of daunting ambiguity and complexity, training must imbue Soldiers with a fundamental joint and expeditionary mindset; an atti-

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tude of multifunctionality rather than specialization, curiosity rather than complacency, and initiative rather than compliance. Above all, training must build the confidence that our Soldiers will prevail against any foe.

Collective Training. Our Combat Training Centers (CTCs) drive the tactical culture of the Army. They are the linchpin of our extraordinary battlefield success over the past two decades. Given that every Army employment presumes a joint context, we will reinforce this key condition throughout our collective training.

Therefore we have begun introducing joint, interagency, and multinational components into our key training experiences at both the CTCs and our Battle Command Training Program for division and corps headquarters. We also support establishment of the Joint National Training Capability and have begun routinely incorporating joint effects in our home-station training. All these efforts will make Soldiers expert in the application of joint capabilities at every organizational level. At the same time, at both CTCs and home stations, we have transformed training environments to reflect the more complex and ambiguous threats confronting our deployed forces. The ability to develop and disseminate actionable intelligence must be a key training focus.

Integrated with force stabilization cycles, CTC rotations will be the capstone experience for forces preparing to deploy. But the heart of the Army’s training remains the training conducted at home stations by junior officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). To empower them, we must shake a legacy of planning-centric rather than execution-centric training. We need battle drills rather than “rock drills,” free play rather than scripted exercises, and Soldiers and units conditioned to seek out actionable intelligence rather than waiting passively to receive it.

Professional Education. Just as training must reflect the hard certainties of the conflict before us, individual Soldier and leader education must address its uncertainties. George C. Marshall once said that an Army at peace must go to school. Our challenge is to go to school while at war. The need to teach Soldiers and leaders how to think rather than what to think has never been clearer. To defeat adaptive enemies, we must out-think them in order to out-fight them.

Technology can enhance human capabilities, but at the end of the day, war remains more art than science, and its successful prosecution will require battle command more than battle management. We can have “perfect” knowledge with very “imperfect” understanding. Appreciation of context transforms knowledge to understanding, and only education can make that context accessible to us. Only education informed by experience will encourage Soldiers and leaders to meet the irreducible uncertainties of war with con-

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fidence, and to act decisively even when events fail to conform to planning assumptions and expectations.

As we improve leaders’ skill and knowledge, we can rely more heavily on their artful application of leader knowledge and intuition. Planning will be iterative and collaborative rather than sequential and linear, more a framework for learning and action than a rigid template. Adapting our military decisionmaking process will allow us to capitalize on the American Soldier’s inherent versatility, our growing ability to acquire and process information, and the increased rapidity with which we can disseminate, coordinate, and transform planning adjustments into effective action.

To that end, the Army will continue to refocus institutional learning, shifting Center for Army Lessons Learned collection assets from the CTCs to deployed units. Similarly, recognizing that a learning organization cannot afford a culture of information ownership, we must streamline the flow of combat information to assure broader and faster dissemination of actionable intelligence.

At the individual level, finally, there is no substitute for experiential learning, and today’s Army is the most operationally experienced Army in our history. There are tremendous opportunities to leverage experience through our well-developed culture of After Action Reviews, Lessons Learned, the great experience of the serving officers and NCOs, and the links from joint and Army operational analyses to formal learning—distributed and in the classroom. At the same time, some of the best battlefield lessons result from tragic but honest mistakes. We cannot allow a zero-defects mentality to write off those who make such mistakes, and we will review our leader evaluation systems to ensure they are leader development tools and not mere management sorting tools.

Leader Development. The Army has always prized leader development, and in peacetime has been willing to accept some personnel turbulence to broaden career experience. That is not acceptable for an army at war. Effective collective training requires the participation of the entire team, and units are not merely training aids for commanders. If we are serious about developing more versatile junior leaders, we must avoid too rapid a turnover of those leaders in the name of career development.

The problem is somewhat less acute for middle- and senior-grade officers, whose fewer numbers in any case make greater assignment mobility unavoidable. Even in their case, however, the growing complexity and political sensitivity of joint and expeditionary operations urges leaders to seek assignments that inherently involve interpreting complex requirements and implementing sophisticated solutions. Our legacy system of leader development will certainly evolve, with the alteration of some current career roadmaps or the accreditation of a greater variety of substitute experiences.

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Just as we subordinate individual leader development to mission requirements, so too must we subordinate institutional leader development to joint requirements. Army training and education should produce imaginative staffs and commanders who understand how to interact with other service leaders and how to get the most out of the full set of joint capabilities. To produce leaders who reach instinctively beyond their own service for solutions to tactical and operational problems, Army leader development must routinely incorporate joint education and experience. In the end, we seek a bench of leaders able to think creatively at every level of war, and able to operate with equal comfort in Army, joint, interagency, and multinational environments. And if achieving that requires submitting our internal educational institutions to joint oversight, we should not shrink from it.

Doctrine, Materiel, and Sustainment

Doctrine. The Army rightfully views itself as “doctrine-based.” In the 1970s and 1980s, doctrine was the engine that transformed the post-Vietnam Army into the victor of our post-Cold War engagements. That doctrine, however, reflected the strategic environment dominated by a singular adversary, and an opposing army in symmetric contrast to our own. Although the challenge of developing doctrine for a joint and expeditionary environment is different, it is no less essential.

In any era, doctrine links theory, history, experimentation, and practice. It encapsulates a much larger body of knowledge and experience, providing an authoritative statement about how military forces do business and a common lexicon with which to describe it. As it has evolved since the Cold War, Army doctrine portrays military operations as a seamless and dynamic combination of offense, defense, stability, and support. Now we must extend it to address enemies who deliberately eschew predictable operating patterns.

To deal with such asymmetric opponents, doctrine must reflect the associated uncertainties. Uncertainty is in some measure inseparable from the nature of warfare. Asymmetry merely increases it. Doctrine cannot predict the precise nature and form of asymmetric engagements, but it can forecast the kinds of knowledge and organizational qualities necessary to cope with them.

Such a doctrine, however, cannot simply prescribe solutions. Rather, it must furnish the intellectual tools with which to diagnose unexpected requirements, and a menu of practical options founded in experience from which leaders can create their own solutions quickly and effectively. Its objective must be to foster initiative and creative thinking. Such a doctrine is more playbook than textbook, and like any playbook, it is merely a gateway to decision, not a roadmap.

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The US military enjoys an immense array of capabilities that are useless if we overlook their prerequisites and limitations. Doctrine can help frame those capabilities in context, while not prescribing their rigid application in any given case. A doctrine intended for our emerging strategic context must underwrite flexible thought and action, and thereby assure the most creative exploitation of our own asymmetric advantages. It must also account for the inherently joint character of all Army operations.

Most important in today’s environment, doctrine must acknowledge the adaptive nature of a thinking, willful opponent and avoid both prediction and prescription. It is not the role of doctrine to predict how an adversary will behave. Rather, its function is to enable us to recognize that behavior, understand its vulnerabilities and our own, and suggest ways of exploiting the former and diminishing the latter. It will be useful only to the extent that experience confirms it, and its continuous review and timely amendment therefore is essential.

Materiel. Materiel development is a special challenge for an army at war, because we must not only anticipate and address future needs, we must meet pressing current demands. There is, however, a constant first priority: equipping the individual Soldier. In the past, the Army reserved the best individual equipment for units most likely to fight; in an expeditionary army, one cannot forecast such units. Every deployed Soldier needs the best individual equipment available. In an expeditionary environment, moreover, we can no longer continue to treat equipment as permanently owned by the units to which it is assigned. In a rotation-based force, equipment ownership will be the exception. We will increasingly separate Soldiers from their carriers and equipment, tailoring the materiel mix for the mission at hand.

Being most amenable to adaptability, speed, and flexibility, aviation assets will be key to an expeditionary force. The lessons learned after two and a half years of war have provided our Army the opportunity to reassess near-term aviation requirements. We will fundamentally restructure our aviation program to ensure the entire Army aviation fleet remains a key tool of maneuver, with better command-and-control connectivity, manned-unmanned teaming, extended operational reach, and all-weather capability.

Equally vital is the continued development of more rapidly deployable fighting platforms. The Future Combat System (FCS) remains the materiel centerpiece of the Army’s commitment to become more expeditionary, and will go far to reconciling deployability with sustainable combat power. We will remain a hybrid force for the foreseeable future, and we will seek ways to improve the deployability of the platforms we already own.

Meanwhile, neither current platforms nor the FCS will satisfy expeditionary requirements without significant improvement in the ability to de-

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velop actionable intelligence and increase communications bandwidth at corps level and below. The Army, together with the joint community, must relentlessly address the architectures, protocols, and systems of a redundant, nonterrestrial network capable of providing the focused bandwidth necessary to support mobile Battle Command and joint Blue Force tracking. Lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom continue to highlight the successes and potential of network-enabled operations. The operational advantages of shared situational awareness, enhanced speed of command, and the ability of forces to self-synchronize are powerful. In this light, we must change the paradigm in which we talk and think about the network; we must fight rather than manage the network, and operators must see themselves as engaged at all times, ensuring the health and operation of this critical weapons system.

Logistics. The Cold War Army designed its logistical structure for operations in developed theaters with access to an extensive host-nation infrastructure. Expeditionary operations promise neither. Simultaneity and complexity compound the eternal constraints of decreased time, vast distances, and limited resources, creating a pressing demand for a logistics system that capitalizes on service interdependencies. We must operationally link logistics support to maneuver in order to produce desired operational outcomes. We will realize such “effects-based logistics capability” only when all services fully embrace joint logistics, eliminate gaps in logistics functions, and reduce overlapping support. We require a distribution-based sustainment system that provides end-to-end visibility of and control over force-support operations; one that incorporates by design the versatility to shift logistical support smoothly among multiple lines of operation and rapidly changing support requirements.

At the tactical level, that means eliminating today’s layered support structure, instead bridging the distance from theater or regional support commands to brigade combat teams with modular, distribution-based capabilities packages. We intend to use the resources from current-day corps and division support commands (COSCOMs and DISCOMs) to create joint-capable Army Deployment and Sustainment Commands (ADSCs). These ADSCs will be capable of serving as the foundation for a joint logistics command and control element at the Joint Task Force (JTF), and capable also of simultaneously executing the full range of complex operations—from theater port opening to employment and sustainment—required in the emerging operational environment.

Finally, it is clear that the physical security traditionally associated with the rearward location of logistical facilities no longer can be assumed. On today’s battlefields and tomorrow’s, we must make explicit provision for

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the protection of logistical installations and the lines of communication joining them to combat formations. And the Soldiers conducting sustainment operations must be armed, trained, and psychologically prepared to fight as well as support.

Installations. Installations are an integral part of the deployed force from home station to the foxhole. Operational deployments and rotational assignments across the globe mean installation capabilities will transcend more traditional expeditionary support requirements associated with mobilizing, deploying, and sustaining the force. More than a jump point for projecting forces, installations serve a fundamental role in minimizing their footprint through robust connectivity and capacity to fully support reach-back operations.

Installation facilities must readily adapt to changing mission support needs, spiraling technology, and rapid equipment fielding. Installation connectivity must also support en-route mission planning and situational awareness. Education and family support will use the same installation mission support connectivity to sustain the morale and emotional needs of our Soldiers and their families.

Moving Out

The changes ahead are significant. But they are neither reckless nor revolutionary. On the contrary, they reflect years of Army study, experimentation, and experience. We have delayed this transformation repeatedly, fearing that we could not afford such change in a time of turbulence and reduced resources. Now we realize that what we cannot afford is more delay. The 3rd Infantry Division is reorganizing today to a prototype redesign that converts its combat structure from three brigades to four brigade combat teams. Other divisions will soon follow.

The best way to anticipate the future is to create it. The Army is moving out, and this is merely the beginning. Our incentive is not change for change’s sake. Our incentive is effectiveness in this protracted conflict. If necessary to defeat our adaptive adversaries, the changes described here are a mere down payment on changes that will follow.

But our challenge is to measure ourselves not against others, but against our own potential. It is not enough that we are changing. The real question is, “Are we changing enough?” Our brave Soldiers and adaptive leaders constitute the best Army in the world, but we can be even better. It is inside of us and it is what the Nation expects. The future as we know it—our lives, the lives of our families, this country, everything we love and cherish—all depend on our success in meeting this challenge. Are you wearing your dog tags?    


Mr. Les Brownlee became the 27th Under Secretary of the Army on 14 November 2001, following his nomination by President George W. Bush and confirmation by the United States Senate. Since 10 May 2003, he has served as Acting Secretary of the Army. Mr. Brownlee is a retired Army colonel. He was commissioned in 1962 as a lieutenant in the infantry through the ROTC program at the University of Wyoming, and he holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama. He is a distinguished honor graduate of the US Army Ranger Course, an honor graduate of both the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and the Army Command and General Staff College, and a graduate of the Army’s airborne course and the US Army War College. Mr. Brownlee served two tours in Vietnam.

General Peter J. Schoomaker is the Chief of Staff, United States Army. His career has included more than 30 years with conventional and special operations forces. He participated in numerous deployment operations, including Desert One in Iran, Urgent Fury in Grenada, Just Cause in Panama, Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Southwest Asia, and Uphold Democracy in Haiti. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he holds an M.A. in management from Central Michigan University and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Hampden-Sydney College. He is a graduate of the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. His most recent previous assignment was as Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command.


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Reviewed 24 May 2004. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil