Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, speaks to cadets during an ROTC luncheon Oct. 6 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. The ROTC luncheon, one of several annual events hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army during the Annual Meeting and Exposition, was a chance for Cone to share some words of wisdom with future leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angelica Golindano)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2011 -- "I'm talking today to the most important people in this room, and those are the company commanders of 2020," said Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, during a luncheon Oct. 10 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The ROTC luncheon, one of several annual events hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army during the Annual Meeting and Exposition, was a chance for Cone to share some words of wisdom with future leaders.

TRADOC's commanding general provided insight to the students by sharing some of his own lessons in leadership from when he was a cadet visiting an Army unit. Cone explained that they, as leaders, could and would make a difference.

"Regardless of how bad the conditions were [in the unit], regardless of the hand you had been dealt, a leader who cared about Soldiers on a day-to-day basis could make a difference," Cone said. "You could take one platoon and see it rise above all the others, and the Soldiers would be happy. They'd excel, and you could see excellence in all that they did."

In addition to emphasizing the importance of positive leadership, the general also gave the cadets a look at some of the challenges the Army is currently facing and where the service is headed. In doing so, he asked the audience what they thought the Army of 2020 might look like.

He explained that the concepts that TRADOC focuses on today, such as the Army Profession, Doctrine 2015, the training challenge and the Squad, will have a direct effect on the company commanders of 2020, setting the conditions of the Army that they are about to join.

Cadet Jonathon Kasprisin of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota asked Cone for tips on how to keep training motivating for Soldiers. Cone answered by emphasizing leaders' and the Army's responsibility to keep training linked to real world scenarios. Cone said that the Army must get away from fictional adversaries like the Krasnovians, and should work to relate all training to actual and current world scenarios and threats.

In summing up his thoughts for the cadets, Cone said, "You're going to need to know everything you know now -- that our Soldiers know today -- plus, a lot of the skills that we had back before 2001 -- in terms of going kinetic in an instant and being able to overmatch and dominate our adversaries.

The general told cadets that the challenge is going to be significant, but he also emphasized that they are the most important part of the future, and they are also the ones getting it right.

"We have the finest generation of junior leaders that I have ever seen - absolutely amazing," Cone said.

And just s the general expressed pride in today's young leaders, he also continues to influence tomorrow's leaders.

Emily Robinson, a cadet in her first year at Kent State University, said the luncheon was motivating.

"I thought the general was really inspirational," she said. "I'm a freshman, so it was really exciting."

Page last updated Fri October 14th, 2011 at 00:00