By Maranda FlynnAugust 21, 2014
As force reduction kicks into gear, Soldiers can't help but begin to question what the future of the Army will hold -- and those assigned to Fort Huachuca are no different.
As these challenges have begun began to surface, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III and his wife, Jeanne, paid a visit to Fort Huachuca Aug. 20 -- 21, to speak with local Soldiers, Civilians and Family members and reassure them just how important they are to the Army.
With the leading-edge initiatives and the unique training opportunities here, such as critical aviation, intelligence, signal and cyber enablers, Fort Huachuca and its capabilities play an integral role in the Army's future, Chandler said.
"Fort Huachuca is extremely important to the future of our Army because it is a part of our warfighting functions," Chandler said, during an interview at the conclusion of a town hall held at Cochise Theater Aug. 20. "The concepts and ideas that General Ashley and Command Sgt. Maj. Fairley and others are developing here for the way ahead on how we channel many of the new technologies and ideas into future warfighting functions for our Army is extremely important."
Among these vital capabilities is the ever-growing cyber technology field. As a supporting test center for the Army's cyber initiatives, Fort Huachuca ensures the Army is ready for a cyber future.
"I think we all recognize our reliance on the internet and on devices to communicate with one another," Chandler said. "From the military perspective, to be able to provide that mission command and control for our Army is becoming more and more important in our society and how we fight. So cyber, and our ability to defend ourselves, and when necessary, to go on the offensive, is extremely important and its a big part of what is happening here."
In October 2012 the Army established the Cryptologic Network Warfare Specialist (35Q) military occupational specialty. Last month the first Advanced Leader Course for the new MOS graduated here at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. During his visit, Chandler spoke with Soldiers attending the second iteration of the course and asked for their help
"What I ask you to do is provide a candid and thoughtful critique of what you are doing in the course. You're the next generation -- everyone in here," he said. "Your critiques will allow the Army to tailor this course and you owe that to the rest of the 35Qs in the Army. Your feedback is important to shape what others will be taught to do. I see this course as fundamental to leader development and leadership in the future.
"Your skill is going to shape the future. If you ask the Chief of Staff of the Army how cyber will shape the future, he will say it is one of the biggest pieces. So thanks for what you're doing. You are breaking new ground. You are setting the conditions for everyone else who comes after you. Continue to be the NCO leader we need you to be."
However, the technical capabilities at Fort Huachuca alone will not overcome the Army's challenges; engaged leadership is another necessary component .
"Leaders are responsible to drive change within the Army," he said. "NCOs are the ones who interact with the Soldier on an individual level on a day-to-day basis. So in order to drive that change for the Army, our NCOs have to be engaged leaders and that means being engaged with their Soldiers on a daily basis -- understanding who they are and where they are coming from. So NCOs here at Fort Huachuca, and all around the rest of the world, have to recognize that they need to make sure they are informed and understand where we are heading and why."
Chandler echoed that theme at his town hall meeting, telling the audience that he would be retiring soon, but that the future of the Army is in their hands. "it's up to you to determine what you want our Army to be. If you want it to be as good as it has been for the past thirteen years - or even better -- you need to make that happen.