FORSCOM Chief of Staff: Leader development, retention key to 21st-century Army readiness
May 3, 2013
In order to understand an increasingly ambiguous global operational environment, the U.S. Army must continually assess and refine the way it operates, develop its people, increase its capabilities and exploit its advantages, said the U.S. Army Forces Command chief of staff May 1 on Fort Bragg, N.C.
Maj. Gen. Les Carroll went on to describe FORSCOM's role and priorities in preparing for the nation's future challenges, in luncheon remarks during the 2013 Association of the U.S. Army Braxton Bragg Chapter Exposition and Symposium.
Before more than 150 industry partners, active and retired U.S. Army senior leaders, and Fort Bragg Soldiers, Carroll said the Army is shaping the operational environment by regionally aligning its forces, capitalizing on joint capabilities, and focusing on cyber opportunities and vulnerabilities.
FORSCOM's charge is to ensure its units and Soldiers maintain proficiency on a range of operations, and remain ready to respond in support of combatant commanders' requests, Carroll said.
"Our enemies today are determined, technologically savvy, cunning and patient," he said. "We can expect our adversaries of tomorrow to retain these characteristics, but we should anticipate them to be remarkably more adaptive, lethal, interconnected, resilient and capable."
To counter this, FORSCOM will provide trained and ready Soldiers to meet America's global demands, Carroll said.
"Fundamentally, the Army's focus is war-fighting, and specifically land combat," he said. "The most significant challenge for the Army today is building the right level of readiness to meet combatant commanders' requirements in an era of fiscal uncertainty."
To meet this challenge, FORSCOM is working to balance its readiness, modernization and end strength. If under-resourced in any one of those three areas, the Army will not be ready when called upon, Carroll said.
Carroll said the Army's readiness depends on its ability to recruit the right young people into its ranks while also retaining the Army's most combat-experienced Soldiers, NCOs and officers since the end of the Vietnam War. In order to retain these leaders, the Army must not only hold their interest and promote professional growth with challenging training and operational experiences, but also retain their Family members, who play an important role in building and maintaining Soldiers' readiness and resilience.
As another line of effort in building the Army's readiness, FORSCOM is shifting its training focus to include aspects of unified land operations beyond counterinsurgency and stability operations, Carroll said, highlighting conventional forces' relationships with local, joint, interagency, multinational and special-operations partners.
"Success ahead requires us to focus resources on our highest priorities and become more flexible in how we lead, more innovative in how we operate, and more judicious in our spending," he said. "We will keep our Army trained, well-led, cyber-savvy, ready and resilient--the characteristics of our future force."