FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 11, 2013) -- The commanding general of the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command said he believes the Army should increase its focus on Strategic Landpower, despite the scheduled withdrawal from major operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
Gen. Robert W. Cone, who has commanded U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command, known as TRADOC, since April 29, 2011, made that the focus of his remarks, Sept. 10, during the opening session of the 2013 Maneuver Warfighter Conference here.
"There are times in our nation's interest where boots on the ground are absolutely essential to those outcomes," Cone said.
"We're talking principally about Strategic Landpower and the value that land power brings to the fight," he said. "There are things that we have learned that make us a more effective force on the battlefield, and I think we want to go ahead with those lessons."
A large part of the general's presentation included the benefits of using assets and information gathered about a conflict region itself, the country and its citizens in order to gain a better understanding of the country before U.S. forces engage.
"One of the big lessons we've talked about is the power of understanding foreign language, culture, network, history, those kinds of things," Cone said.
Working on strategies like regionally aligned forces will be what young Soldiers and leaders do to maintain their war time intellectual acuity and their desire to be engaged when they are back on U.S. soil, Cone said.
"Our young generation is used to solving real-world problems," Cone said. "They are not interested in coming back to a training environment that washes away all that complexity and focuses on a handful of tasks."
Speaking to an audience of past, present and future leaders about TRADOC's role in incorporating lessons learned into the training of the future, Cone explained why organizations like TRADOC need to think about the future.
The Army is focusing on more intense and strategic leadership training. This was another lesson the general touched on, as he emphasized the importance of continued leadership development and the capabilities a good leader brings to their unit.
The most important aspect on that battlefield is the leader, Cone said.
"The value of leadership and what we do can never be underestimated. We invested in leader development; we have to continue to invest in leader development," Cone said.
Additional TRADOC components of leadership development strategy include focusing on noncommissioned officer education and professionalism, reinvigorating courses and emphasizing the importance of the self-study program, Cone said.
Cone emphasized the importance of preparedness of the individual Soldier and the effect that has on the success of the overall organization.
Cone said Soldiers on the ground need to be able to use all of the organization's capabilities to meet mission requirements.
"We are the best Army in the world, and when you put people on the ground somewhere they need to be prepared."
Cone also assured the audience of senior leaders, Maneuver Captain's Career Course students, and Infantry and Armor Soldiers the lessons learned from the past 12 years at war would be incorporated into the Army's training in order to build more capable Soldiers and leaders.
"We're going to put in the proper mechanisms in our training and in our doctrine to make sure that Soldiers are prepared, should we be called to serve," Cone said.
The 2013 Maneuver Warfighter Conference continues here through Sept. 13.
Keynote speakers from across the Army are addressing the conference's theme, "Developing a Common Vision to Adapt the Maneuver Force for the Challenges of Tomorrow."
The annual conference contributes to the combat effectiveness of the Army by addressing the Maneuver Warfighter Challenges, 11 issues that focus on the MCoE's efforts to develop comprehensive solutions for future armed conflicts.
A complete schedule of events is available online at www.benning.army.mil/mcoe/maneuverconference/.
In conjunction with the conference, defense industry contractors are showcasing their products Wednesday on York Field.