Will King Staff Writer

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. Feb. 5, 2009 -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spoke Feb. 4 at the Combined Arms Center Senior Leader Conference about the challenges of training Soldiers and leaders in a changing Army.
The two-day conference at the Lewis and Clark Center brought together leaders from all the major subordinate commands from CAC, including the commandants of the various branch schools, their deputies and command sergeants major.
Dempsey addressed several challenges currently facing the Army in training Soldiers and leaders, including manpower, finances and time.
"Resources are flat to declining, requirements are increasing. You have to help me figure out how we deliver the best possible product at the resources available," Dempsey said. "This is hard, and it's going to get harder."
Dempsey said, "I didn't come here to make you feel comfortable." He challenged leaders to identify new areas where TRADOC will have to change today to meet shifting requirements and new force structures a few years from now.
"Prioritize, draw the line and then help me think about other ways to deliver it," Dempsey said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Kirkland, regimental command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., said of all the challenges the Army faces today in training Soldiers and noncommissioned officers, manpower continues to be the greatest. However, he said, commanders and units are finding ways "to think outside the box to figure out how to accomplish the mission given the resources we have."
Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commander of CAC and Fort Leavenworth, said he also sees manpower as "a challenge across TRADOC and Fort Leavenworth." He said Dempsey delivered a "very realistic assessment of the challenges and opportunities today, a reality check."
"Our ability as an institution to articulate a leader development strategy and a training strategy is something that we've lacked for a long time," Dempsey said.
Dempsey said he would work with subordinate leaders to determine "what we are providing given the resources available, where we're taking risk and where we have been innovative in delivering training and education in ways other than we are doing now."
Dempsey advocated the use of new technology as a means of training, but said leaders need to determine "how much of it has to be done in the brick and mortar schoolhouse" versus online.
"I don't know how we Internet and Web-enable our education system to take advantage of things that we don't have to reinvent, but I think there's reason there to believe there's opportunity," Dempsey said. "If we put our heads together on this and focus we'll be able to figure it out."
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, commander of the U.S. Army Infantry Center and Fort Benning, said leaders can't be hesitant to change simply because they were brought up on different teaching and methods.
"I really want to get behind the effort to figure out how we adapt ourselves. There's as many opportunities in this as there are liabilities," Dempsey said.
Dempsey took command of TRADOC Dec. 8, 2008. He previously served as the acting commander of U.S. Central Command.

Page last updated Fri February 6th, 2009 at 16:44