By Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza
7th Infantry Division commanding general

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Through the last decade, the Army has enjoyed very robust funding. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, it is inevitable that funding will become more constrained. A more austere fiscal environment is unique to many of our Soldiers, but it is not without precedent. We will not sit back as a victim of circumstance; we will utilize this as an opportunity to refocus our efforts to develop our core competencies. While this presents challenges - further complicated by the uncertainty generated by the Sequester - we will adapt, move forward and continue to train.

Challenging, dynamic times require challenging, dynamic leaders. A decade of wars has formed a generation of leadership with a vast depth of technical competency, experience, and ability to understand and operate in complex environments. I charge each and every leader in 7th Inf. Div. to leverage your capabilities for the betterment of your soldiers and unit. I will ensure all leaders in the Bayonet Division have adequate time to develop and conduct training on standardized mission-essential task list tasks that directly support assigned mission requirements.

Resource levels will impact training; most likely with regards to large-scale exercises, flight hours, and live fire exercises. What should not be impacted is our ability to conduct tough, platoon-based, training here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including Basic Rifle Marksmanship, simulator training, light infantry operations, Army Regulation 350-1 training requirements, and Physical Readiness Training. I expect young, innovative leaders to step up, take initiative and demonstrate the adaptability, ingenuity, and leadership which have been the cornerstones of our successes over the last decade. Leaders need to find and develop innovative ways to train.

One of the biggest challenges you have faced over the last decade is the uncertainty of a steady routine, but it is the routine tasks that are key to leader development in our young Soldiers. Despite challenges, ensure you are completing routine tasks: counseling and developing soldiers; maintaining property accountability; executing quarterly and annual training requirements; and monitoring medical and dental readiness. Take care of your troops, innovate and lead.

As you lead soldiers in a force that will be cut by nearly 90,000 over the next seven years, it will be of utmost importance to build complex-thinking, adaptive leaders. The Army is going to look to retain the best and brightest, those influential officers and noncommissioned officers who provide purpose, direction and motivation. Engage your soldiers, challenge them, question them and show them techniques that you have learned from experience, both, in and out of theater. The end result is that we will have leaders who not only posses the character, competence and commitment necessary in the Army profession, but leaders who can apply critical thinking skills, manage complexity, and remain adaptive.

A competent leader is one who studies and practices the fundamentals of his or her branch and duty position and who can creatively apply doctrine to solve problems. Leaders who understand the Army's training, sustainment and readiness systems are, then, able to apply their knowledge in order to accomplish their mission. Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers who can effectively interpret, understand and act in complex situations to achieve their mission, task or objective are the epitome of the competent leaders we aim to develop.

Leaders with character are those who embody the Warrior Ethos, live by the Army Values and foster a culture of trust. A committed leader is dedicated to his or her unit, to the mission, and to the lifelong development of themselves and their fellow Soldiers.

Bayonet leaders are prepared to meet our nation's future security challenges in an increasingly uncertain and complex strategic environment, and continue to remain resilient in times of fiscal constraint and challenge. We will continue to move forward, increasing our readiness to answer the next call to action.

Page last updated Tue April 9th, 2013 at 00:00