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BG (Ret) Ricky D. Gibbs

CCAC President

Posted: 5 OCT 23

Recently, I attended the 2023 Maneuver Warfare Conference at Fort Moore, Georgia formerly named Fort Benning.  The theme for this year’s conference was “Driving Change”.  As you may already know, the Army is transforming how it fights and how it is organized to fight.  The Army is shifting its focus from counterinsurgency to large scale ground combat with Army Divisions as the unit of action.  I think it is important for our young leaders to hear what Army leadership is focused on so here is a summary of what I heard from our Army Senior leaders.

GEN Randy George, the new Chief of Staff of the Army C(SA), opened the conference by describing what the Army would see or expect on the battlefield in the future…things like ubiquitous sensing, unmanned systems, effective long range ground systems and integrated air and missile defense, 3D printing forward on the battlefield, electric/silent vehicles, commercial advances for C2.  Given all this, the Army must change how we are organized and how we train. The Army must change how it acquires new things.  Every formation is going to have to learn how to use unmanned systems.

CSA focus areas:  Warfighting; Continuous transformation; Strengthen the Profession; and Delivery of Ready Combat Formations. Our formations must be Trained/Fit/Lethal and if challenged by time in training then Commanders should focus on things that make their unit more lethal and cohesive.  The Army will fight at every echelon. The Army needs to have a lower overhead in training Battalion and higher.  For Warfighters, we need to reduce the amount of “pucksters”, etal.  We will relook ReARM.  We have too long lead times on parts, and we must fix it.  We must provide Soldiers and families better predictability and will do this through better Unit Training Management (UTM).

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Weimer talked about the changing character of war and stated that the Army must transform how it trains the noncommissioned officers and the force.  Warfighting is the reason we exist. 

Regarding Delivering Ready Combat Formations, GEN George talked about creating Applications and Websites to improve Soldier and family support. He further went on to talk about improving the industrial base, go to a “Predictive Maintenance on vehicles and equipment to reduce service intervals.  He believes the Army has too much excess, so he appointed a two-star general to fix the issue.  A method that he will explore is the use of passive inventory systems.  For Continuous Transformation, he talked about tablets for commanders to improve Command and Control.  We will modernize and transform the Army.  For him, modernization means new technology and equipment, while transformation means how we train and operate.

To Strengthen the Profession, SMA Weimer stated that Soldiers, and Leaders must be brilliant at the basics. The Army will reinvigorate branch magazines such as the Cavalry and Infantry magazines. Create phone APPs and put more emphasis on standards and discipline.

Another often talked about theme was that the Army is a profession and not just a job.  So, in closing for you cadets, soon to be lieutenants in the Army, and to those young leaders now serving our Army, I leave you with this quote from an article I read while serving on Staff Duty as a Platoon Leader in 3/75 Infantry Ranger Battalion written by Major James W. Bellah. It best describes for me the Profession of Arms. 

“A dead soldier who has given his life because of the failure of his officer is a dreadful sight and a crime before God.  Like all dead Soldiers, he was tired before he died, hungry undoubtedly, dirty, wet, and possibly frightened to his soul.  And there he lies-dead needlessly, on top of all that-never again to see his homeland. Don’t be the officer who failed to instruct him properly-who failed to lead him well!  Burn the midnight oil, lieutenant, that you may not in later years, look at your hands and find his blood still red upon them!”


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