HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Feb. 24, 2014) -- Leaner but still mean -- if not meaner -- is the future of the Army in 2025, and the time to prepare for that future force is now.
"We have a consensus and an opportunity, and really a need, to move ahead very quickly as we look at Force 2025," said Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Cone mapped out that path forward for attendees of the Association of the United States Army's 2014 Winter Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., as he spoke on Force 2025, Thursday.
"The reality is that the operational environments we keep talking about for 2025 are going to necessitate some changes as we think through the big ideas of strategic landpower, maneuvering strategically and expeditionary maneuvering," Cone said. "Expeditionary maneuvering is what drives many fundamental changes in the formations that we're talking about building for Force 2025."
With an aim to "increase expeditionary maneuvers while retaining or increasing current mobility, protection and lethality," Force 2025 offers supporting concepts for strategic landpower, the "roots of what is driving the factors and changes to Force 2025," according to Cone.
Comprised of three tenets: to make the Army force a more expeditionary, leaner force; retain or improve levels of tactical mobility, lethality and protection; and reduce the required sustainment footprint in austere environments, the heart of Force 2025 is all about creating a leaner force equal to or more capable than it is today.
Maneuvers for Force 2025 include battle labs, war games, Combat Training Program, Mission Command Training Program, and big exercises, Cone said.
"As we move ahead I think our challenge is to identify the research hypothesis and then to develop a much more flexible way than two major exercises a year in the NIE (Network Integration Exercise)," Cone said.
Choosing the right venue in the right organization will assist the Army in getting the answers it needs faster. Cone remarked that while the NIE worked great, the concept is compartmentalized.
"We really need a vehicle that is much bigger than that to do the kinds of exercises and experimentation that we will need to do Force 2025 in the time frame that we're talking about achieving," Cone said.
To assist in that effort a broader approach is called for, Cone said.
"As you think about where our Army is today, with the reduced op-tempo that we're looking at, we want to involve more of our Army, a broader slice of the Army in the experimentation and exercise business," Cone said. "Bring more people; invite our youngest, greatest talent, our non-commissioned officers and our young officers, to help us think about the future."
Force 2025 science and technology solutions include lighter, more capable protection; cyberspace operations; mission command on the move; optimized squads; increased presence; live, virtual and constructive gaming and immersive tools; and long range precision fires.
"This is a wake point -- 2025," Cone said. "If you think through science and technology, what are you really going to be able to come up with that we're going to be able to field by 2025? The reality of it is that you better think deeper than that, because most of what you come up with will be a wake point or an interim solution that will need to meet the needs of the Army for Force 2025."