Providing the Army with best Soldiers possible critical to leader of Training and Doctrine Command
February 28, 2009
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (TRADOC News Service, Feb. 26, 2009) - As he addressed the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium here, Gen. Martin Dempsey, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, talked with the group about what TRADOC faces.
The general acknowledged that the Army is operating in an era of persistent conflict and will be in that pattern for a long time.
The general said he has been visiting TRADOC schools and centers since he took command in December 2008 and, as he looks to adapt the way TRADOC operates, he is working to find the "aim point" to give the Army the best Soldier who can operate across the full spectrum of operations while making sure that the Soldier is trained, educated and taken care of on a personal level.
With many different forms and methods of training and educating today's force, the general is looking for the most effective and efficient way to provide the best quality Soldier to the Army.
Dempsey is looking at how to preserve the all-volunteer force with the Army being at war for more than seven years.
"We never want our Soldiers to have to make a choice between service to the nation and love of their family," said Dempsey. "If we have those two values in competition with each other, we will lose the all-volunteer force."
Throughout his tenure as the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey has been addressing the balance of the Army. As the commander of TRADOC, Dempsey said he understands that part of his mission is adapting the institutional Army to work hand in hand with the Army Force Generation model, or ARFORGEN, to help make life more predictable for Soldiers.
"ARFORGEN is important to get to a predictable deployment scheme," said Dempsey. "We have to get much more predictable in every way inside TRADOC so that we contribute to the Army's efforts to rebalance itself."
The general talked about some of the problems he is working to address as he brings institutional adaptation to TRADOC.
He talked about the Basic Officer Leader Course.
"The average wait from the time an officer graduates college and gets to BOLC III is 137 days," said Dempsey. "The Army commissions nearly 7,000 officers per year and, if you do the math, that's 959,000 man days of waiting or holdover time. If I were running a business, I don't think I would survive that number of lost man days."
To address those lost man days, TRADOC is adapting to the ARFORGEN model while continuing to produce the quality of leaders the Army expects.
In conjunction with the Army's field manual for operations, FM 3-0, Soldiers are expected to operate across the full spectrum of operations: offensive, defensive and stability operations. This is a big-picture scope, and TRADOC is working to find the aim point to produce the best Soldiers with the right skills at the right time.
"The Chief of Staff has asked all of us to take a look and tell him what is the best Army he can have with 1.1 million active and reserve Soldiers and 'X' amount of dollars," said Dempsey. "That is the right question to ask. We can't have the perfect Army because it probably isn't affordable and probably not able to fulfill through human resources. We are all working hard to help him give the nation the best Army possible."
Another challenge that Dempsey mentioned he faces is how to deliver the three pillars of the human dimension to support ARFORGEN. Those pillars are to train, educate and provide experiences.
"We are trying to figure out how much of the training and education we deliver needs to be done at the brick-and-mortar schoolhouses and how much can be delivered through structured self-development and distance learning," said Dempsey. "TRADOC needs to adapt to the comfort level of the Soldiers. We need to get into the business of how we deliver training and education, and the answer can't be that this is how we have always done it."
The general highlighted the many great things in today's Soldier.
"Nobody better question the personal courage of the American Soldier," said Dempsey. "Nobody better question their sacrifice, their selfless service, their resiliency and their ability to be adaptive. We have great Soldiers as our seed corn of what we do, I happen to believe we'll be OK."