Army Capabilities Integration Center helps shape future Army
May 7, 2014
- "Our number one equipment modernization priority remains the network for this decade, and we will continue to make adjustments in order to simplify the network and synchronize all parts as we field the network to the force."
Army Technology Magazine
- May/June 2014 Focus: Soldier of the Future
Question: How does the Army Capabilities Integration Center help shape the future Army?
Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker: ARCIC develops concepts and integrates capabilities across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities -- known as DOTMLPF -- warfighting functions and formations. Concepts provide a vision of how the Army will operate and fight in the future. Concepts determine the capabilities future Army formations will need to operate in support of the joint force commander. We compare the required capabilities against the current Army, which serves as a baseline for capability needs analysis, to determine and prioritize future capability requirements. This also allows us to identify key areas for research and development that in turn identify the science and technology investments the Army needs to make today in order to deliver the capability solutions for the future.
Q: What provides the basis for developing future concepts for the Army?
A: The future operational environment provides the foundation for concept development. We look at the challenges and threats we will likely face in the future, and through the Campaign of Learning -- a series of seminars, wargames, experiments and studies -- we assess how the Army can best meet those challenges.
We also adhere to defense planning guidance with 11 military mission areas. The Army is heavily involved in 10 of 11. Everything from defeat and deter, to defend the homeland, to conduct humanitarian and disaster relief. Since we no longer have nuclear weapons in our formations, nuclear deterrence is not an Army mission area. This guidance describes a very wide range of operations that Army formations must conduct. The breadth of missions reflects exactly what the Army does for the nation. Secretary of War Lindley Miller Garrison, addressing the West Point Class of 1914, stated, "The American Army has become the all-around handy man of the government." He continued: "You may be called upon at anytime to do any kind of service in any part of the world -- and if you would not fall below the standard your fellows have set, you must be ready and you must do it, and you must do it well." You must ask if the Army cannot do all the various missions and tasks the nation needs us to do, what good are we.
Additionally, our adversaries will continue to leverage the proliferation of technology and the exponential increase in information exchange to challenge the United States in an asymmetric manner. Specifically, future adversaries will attempt to negate our nation's technological advantage and long-range precision strike capabilities. That said, conflict has and always will be a human endeavor. The human aspects of conflict will remain the focus of the Army.
We do not have a crystal ball, and our best projections of the future will not be 100-percent accurate. However, the art and science of concept development attempts to be not too far wrong. Our goal is to develop concepts that lead to a flexible and adaptive Army that is capable of addressing emerging threats across the range of military operations even when those operations were not predicted.
Q: What is your vision of the future operational environment and how will adversaries challenge us at the tactical and operational level?
A: The operational environment is indeed complex, if not chaotic, characterized by a multitude of actors and a wide range of possible threats. Many of our adversaries have adopted anti-access/area denial strategies. The adversary's regular forces, irregulars, our own coalition partners, criminals, refugees, nongovernmental organizations and others will all intermingle in this environment and interact in many ways.
Each of these actors has an agenda, and they often will not be in consonance with our objectives nor with one another's goals. Besides the broad range of conventional weapons readily available on the global arms market, adversaries can select from an array of affordable, but sophisticated technologies and adapt them to create unexpected but lethal weapons.
Why is this important to the Army? Because war is fundamentally a human enterprise, a clash of wills, that involves the immutable human aspect within the nature of conflict. We win wars on land -- that is the key factor as employing land power is about the continuation of politics by other means; compelling an adversary to change behavior to achieve our nation's objectives.
Moreover, while all services contribute to the joint fight on land, the forces that operate on land integrate and direct those capabilities at the point of decision.
Q: Is Strategic Landpower the Army's concept for the future?
A: Strategic Landpower is an evolving concept in which the Army is a key stakeholder, along with the Marines and special operations forces. This unifying theme addresses the application of landpower to achieve strategic ends. The Army is a key provider of land forces, enablers and sustainment to provide strategic landpower in support of combatant commanders and the national defense strategy.
Strategic landpower is based on the fact that war is inherently a human endeavor and the fundamental nature of warfare is defined as a clash of wills. For this reason, enduring strategic success can only be achieved by winning the clash of wills. Strategic landpower provides the means, across the range of military operations, to win the clash of wills, shape the operational environment and prevent conflict. This is achieved through the interoperable and interdependent application of Army, Marines and special operations forces in conjunction with other joint, interagency and multinational partners.
Q: What is Force 2025 and Beyond and how will the Army achieve the objectives?
A: Force 2025 and Beyond is the Army's modernization approach toward a leaner, more expeditionary Army capable of enabling strategic landpower in support of combatant commanders with equal or greater capabilities. The year 2025 is simply a waypoint to a fundamentally changed future Army that encapsulates aligning science and technology priorities, materiel development and force design across DOTMLPF and warfighting functions to achieve integration and maximize interoperability and interdependence across the joint force. Force 2025 and Beyond addresses near, mid, and far term objectives for Army forces.
If we continue on the path we are on, the force in 2030 will look a lot like the one we have today. There will be engineering change proposals that upgrade particular platforms; however, our combat vehicles, tactical-wheeled vehicles, and our aircraft will look a lot like they do today. As the Army moves into the future, our modernization approach looks at our force in three segments over time.
In the near-term, 2014-2020, the resources for this decade are pretty much committed to support the Army 2020 force, the POM [Program Objectives Memorandum] force. We will still need to make some adjustments but most of this Army 2020 force is set in motion. Our number one equipment modernization priority remains the network for this decade, and we will continue to make adjustments in order to simplify the network and synchronize all parts as we field the network to the force. However, our top investment priority is not a materiel solution. The top priority is leader development so that our leaders must have a strong foundation in their profession to empower them to adapt when committed.
Our current path for materiel solutions means we will lose operational overmatch to our adversaries in several areas over the next decade. We must adjust select S&T investments now in order to counter this trend and ensure that we do not lose operational overmatch. This means continuing engineering change proposals to improve our existing platforms while identifying those technologies that we can get into the hands of Soldiers by 2025 to make our formations leaner with equal to or greater than capability when compared to today. In the far-term, 2030-2040, we must fundamentally change the nature of the force.
Q: With so much uncertainty, both operationally and fiscally, how do you address the far term beyond 2025?
A: Today, our Army is roughly one-third direct combat to two-thirds operational support and sustainment. Some folks call that the tooth-to-tail ratio. In the future, we can expect continued budget pressures, and this means continued pressure to reduce size of the Army, since that is where most of money is spent. Therefore, we need to have more tooth in our tooth/tail ratio even as the total size of the force decreases. At the same time, we must enable expeditionary maneuver by an operationally significant force. The increasing momentum in human interactions drives the need to conduct operations around the globe at the speed of change. Force 2025 and Beyond modernization calls for focusing basic research in a few key areas that could result in a breakthrough that will help us adjust our tooth/tail ratio.
Human sciences, material sciences, advanced decision-making and advanced lethality are examples of areas in which we need to focus our basic research. That also means investing less in other areas as this modernization will happen in a declining fiscal resources environment.
While we may not be able to afford many new programs today, we can adjust our investments in science and technology in order to ensure our Soldiers and formations have the foundations for capabilities they need in the future.
Q: What does the Army expect from its researchers and scientists?
A: Budgetary realities require innovative solutions for future required capabilities. Specifically, the Army must build a network without relying on fixed infrastructure, sustain competitive advantages on the battlefield and prevent threat overmatch. Necessary and fundamental change can be accomplished for the mid- to far-term respectively, but the Army must invest now and integrate across Army and joint stakeholders.
The exponential increase in the momentum of human interaction means that we will have to have the ability to employ an operationally significant force with greater speed if we want to provide strategic leaders with options in response to conflict. Concurrently, the projection of power from CONUS [continental U.S.] bases will be contested immediately and across all domains (e.g., air, sea, land, cyber), which will drive all of DoD to develop faster, more capable expeditionary systems. To meet these future challenges, the Army relies on researchers and scientists to bring solutions to life for a leaner, more mobile force that more easily operates in urban environments with appropriate protection and lethality.
Perhaps the most significant and challenging need is to create comprehensive change to Soldier assessment and development, coupled with human augmentation, that mitigates effects of a shrinking recruitment pool caused by a population with increasing physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. We simply must get even more performance from our Soldiers and our civilian work force as the quantity of each decreases.
Finally, and most importantly, we must deliver capabilities focused on the priority needs of our primary customer, the warfighter. With this focus, we need scientists, researchers and engineers to provide the Army with potential solutions that include realistic assessments of technical and integration risks. The art of the possible includes risk assessments. We need them to do this in a coordinated and integrated effort with the broader community of scientists, researchers and engineers to ensure the most effective and efficient solutions are developed.
Q: What role will technology play for future Soldiers?
A: Technology will play a key role in fundamentally changing the Army to realize the CSA [Chief of Staff of the Army] vision. In the area of human science, there are exciting opportunities to enhance human performance, both cognitive and physically. Admiral McRaven, the SOCOM [U.S. Special Operations Command] commander, spoke of developing an "Iron Man" suit for special operations forces. What was comic book fiction yesterday is a possibility in the next 10 to 15 years. Advanced computing combined with next generation of wireless communication offers mobile command centers on the move with unprecedented access to information at the lowest tactical level that includes connectivity across the entire joint force.
The individual Soldier in 20 years could coordinate and deliver a lethal attack that exponentially exceeds today's force capability, as well as deliver humanitarian aid and assistance to the exact location where most critically needed. The area of material science offers the potential to deliver the same lethality, protection and mobility of an Abrams tank, but only half the weight.
Robotics can reduce risk to Soldiers by performing some of the more dangerous and physically demanding tasks such as clearing routes and lifting heavy objects. Technological advances are available today to allow for driverless trucks. Lessons we have learned in through manned and unmanned aviation applications can be further expanded in our aviation units and be applied to our ground combat vehicles as well. A lighter, unmanned tank, fighting as part of a combined arms team is a great possibility in the near future.
These areas, along with other research efforts, will change the way the Army fights, trains, sustains and deploys as the leaner, more expeditionary, more capable and resilient force as described in the CSA vision for the future. However, we must not forget the most important point that sometimes gets lost in our exuberance and fascination with technology … technology enables the Soldier, not the other way around.
Q: With so many challenges in a period of fiscal austerity, are you optimistic about the future of our Army?
A: Yes, we have been here before. War is often followed by a period of innovation where lessons from the previous war and new technology were combined to develop the Army of the future. We have a great opportunity to set a course for Force 2025 and Beyond.
We understand the future strategic and operational environments that Army formations will likely face when the nation commits those units again. We understand the guidance from our national strategic leaders. We know what the Army must do, and we have a good idea about how Army units must operate differently in the future. As we look to modernize the force for future challenges, we are again doing so at a time of immense budget reductions that forces our leadership to make trades between readiness, force structure and modernization.
This is a tough balancing act. For the last 12 years, we have been in a period of organizational adaptation, driven by the exigencies of two wars and abundant resources. Our Army adapted well and quickly across DOTMLPF.
Now we enter a period of innovation characterized by limited resources and no definitive, specific threat. One of my favorite sayings attributed to Sir Winston Churchill is, "Gentlemen, we are out of money -- now it's time to think!" Thinking is hard, but the good news is that thinking does not cost a lot of money.
We need to think first, and then invest. The intellectual must precede the physical as we deliver Force 2025. Finding the best solutions (addressing cost and benefit) to maintain operational overmatch and providing equal or greater capability to the joint force with a leaner Army will not be easy. Beyond 2025, fundamental change in the nature of the force must occur to achieve strategic and expeditionary maneuver against highly adaptive adversaries. To achieve that fundamental change, we will need to leverage science and technology to deliver the future capabilities our concepts demand.
ABOUT ARMY CAPABILITIES INTEGRATION CENTER
ARCIC develops Army concepts that provide strategic and operational direction through the Army Concept Framework. ARCIC also supports combatant commanders by evaluating capabilities needed for the future force in a range of operational environments.
In many ways, ARCIC is the think tank for the Army. They look at the future, determine the threats the Army will face and the missions it will receive, and come up with the operational concepts required to organize its structures and the capabilities needed to drive its programs.
ARCIC's mission is to develop, evaluate, and integrate concepts, requirements and solutions for the Army - across DOTMLPF, warfighting functions, and formations - to provide Soldiers and units the capabilities they need to support Combatant Commanders. ARCIC actively supports the Army's transition to a future force - one that is focused on developing adaptive leaders and organizations, modernizing equipment, and revolutionizing training.