Commandant updates state of Armor, Cavalry
September 18, 2013
By NICK DUKE
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 18, 2013) -- Less than a week after taking command of the Armor School, new commandant Col. Leopoldo Quintas was on hand at the Maneuver Warfighter Conference to deliver the annual State of Armor and Cavalry address.
Speaking before conference attendees at Marshall Auditorium, Quintas used the address as an opportunity to provide updates on a variety of Armor and Cavalry initiatives.
Those initiatives include plans for a standardized scout platoon, the increased importance of mobile protected precision firepower, the course map for Armor and Cavalry leaders and the need for continued excellence at the Armor School.
The plans for a standardized scout platoon call for platoons of six vehicles and 36 Soldiers, with the platoon capable of conducting both mounted and dismounted operations.
Quintas said the new organization will help to clarify what each platoon is capable of.
"Over time, frankly, we've experienced organizational disarray across our brigade combat teams with regards to how a scout platoon has been formed," he said. "(This platoon is) independent of what kind of vehicle a scout platoon is in. A scout will go from formation to formation, and it'll be uniform. It recognizes that we conduct reconnaissance both dismounted and mounted, and that provides enough capacity here to execute that."
Quintas also addressed the uncertainty facing the Army as operations in Afghanistan draw to a close.
He said he has reached out to previous Armor commandants for advice as the Army faces downward budgetary pressure.
"As they were quick to remind me, there is nothing new to what we are trying to do here at the Armor School," he said. "Most of it is challenges and problems that have been addressed through this Army and through the Armor and Cavalry force over time."
In addition to budgetary and manpower concerns, Quintas said finding ways to continue to motivate Soldiers will be important.
"How do we continue to provide excellence in all that we do?" he asked. "We've had the ultimate incentive … through competitive activity in combat. How do we promote that excellence as we move forward?"
Quintas said the Armor School will help to promote that excellence by implementing the Maneuver Leader Development Strategy and the Maneuver Self-Study Program.
"I just want to highlight that the self-study program is not done by yourself, and with the tools that are available now, we now are able to have leadership interaction with our subordinates to develop an intricate plan on how an individual is going to perform self-study," he said. "There are tools available to us and we should embrace that here."
Armor School Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Clemens also spoke about the school's reconnaissance and security instruction efforts, including the plans for establishment of a School of Reconnaissance and Security.
"We've taken the three reconnaissance schools that we have here and we've not only co-located them under one squadron headquarters, but we are going to physically locate them in the same compound," Clemens said. "This allows us to not only share ideas and best practices, but to have an instructor base across the full spectrum of reconnaissance operations that is able to interact with each other and students who are able to interact with each other and share their experiences so we have a better reconnaissance Soldier at the end."