Under Secretary speaks at Army War College

By Carol KerrApril 8, 2014

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In his first public presentation as Under Secretary of the Army, Brad R.

Carson spoke to Army War College students about seeing the Army's future in

a different way at Bliss Hall April 8 as part of Army Leader Day.

Sworn in less than two weeks ago, Carson's discourse demonstrated that he

was already deep into analyzing fiscal constraints against the Army's future

missions. Focusing on the future, he said what we need more of today is

creativity, and asked the students to consider, "Does our culture run

counter to innovation and creativity?" He urged the military's next senior

leaders to think about how the future will develop.

Through an exhaustive by-the-numbers review of the Army, Carson guided the

students to confront the magnitude of the Army's people, organizations,

weapon systems, and costs, and to think differently about what they

considered to be the core Army competencies and to focus on the Army's

obligation to its "customers."

For example, he told the story of Polaroid. The company developed digital

photography at a standard that far outpaced the competition but didn't

pursue the new business, thinking that it was not the company's core

competency. Carson urged leaders in the class to avoid the competency trap.

The combat power in the Army is a great deterrent, he noted, but that the

Army must be more engaged in strategic discussions. Carson recommended that Army leaders talk about solutions, seek improvement and "protect and promote those with ideas."

Carson previously served as the Army's 20th General Counsel: legal advisor

to the Secretary of the Army and Chief Legal Officer for the U.S. Army. In

2000, Mr. Carson represented the 2nd District of Oklahoma in the United

States House of Representatives. After leaving office in 2004, he was a

fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and,

later, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses, L.L.C. From

2009 to 2010, Mr. Carson served on active military duty as a United States

Navy officer deployed to Iraq, embedded with the United States Army's 84th

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion. Mr. Carson was awarded the

Bronze Star for his service as an intelligence officer working with EOD