Chief of Staff Forecasts Army's Future
by U.S. Army Lori Egan, Fort Benning Public Affairs Office
January 29, 2020
The Army is at an inflection point, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army told the attendees of the Maneuver Warfighter Conference on September 12, 2019.
Gen. James McConville said the inflection point is transitioning from irregular warfare and counterinsurgency of the last 18 years to great-power competition. This transition aligns the Army with the National Defense Strategy that counters China and Russia’s influence and power.
Setember 12, 2019 - Gen. James C. McConville, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, talks about Army transformation during the 2019 Maneuver Warfighter Conference at McGinnis-Wickam Hall. The conference gathers senior leaders and subject matter experts from across the Army, sister services and from partner nations’ militaries to discuss issues relevant to the Army’s maneuver force. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Fort Benning Public Affairs Office)
As the Army chief of staff, McConville said it is his responsibility to set the tone for the Army and provide priorities in moving forward. They are “winning matters” and “people are the No. 1 priority.”
“Winning matters,” he said. “When we send the United States Army somewhere, we don’t go to participate, we don’t go to try hard -- we go to win. … And we win by doing the right thing right.”
And it will be people who reform and modernize the Army … modernization comes with a lot of technological change but people are “our greatest strength and greatest weapon system,” McConville said.
Modernization isn’t just new equipment, McConville stressed. The multi-domain operations concept will drive modernization and how the Army fights in the future.
“We need you to think about this … In the future we will be tested or contested on land, in the sea, in the air, in the space and in cyber,” he said. “We are starting to look at multi-domain task forces that will help us operate in this environment, but we need your help as we experiment and as we develop these organizations.”
In the 1970s, senior leaders developed five systems the Army uses now: the Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, Abrams tank, Bradley fight vehicle and patriot missile system.
“Now, we are at the point where we are going to be changing our doctrine and the systems we fight with,” he said.
McConville also spoke about implementing a 21st-century talent management system.
“If people are our most important weapon system, we cannot be an industrial-age Army,” he said. “We cannot treat everyone as if they are interchangeable. We want to make sure we manage the knowledge, skills and behaviors to get the right person in the right job at the right time.”
The Army has three personnel systems, one for the active force, one for the National Guard and one for the Reserve; and when National Guard or Reserve Soldier goes on active status, mistakes can happen because of the change in systems. Under an integrated pay and personnel system, the Army will have visibility over the entire force, McConville said.
“We want to be the strongest military in the world so no one wants to fight us,” McConville said. “We can’t be an industrial-age Army in the information age.”
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