WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 16, 2014) -- In a media roundtable at the Association of the U.S. Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition, Gen. Daniel Allyn talked with reporters Monday, about troops deploying to Africa, the new Army Operating Concept, and how war-fighting concepts will determine vehicle types.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that at the end of this month, about 4,000 U.S. military personnel, most of whom are Soldiers, will deploy to western Africa to construct 17 planned Ebola virus treatment units, each with 100 beds. Several units will be in the Liberian capital of Monrovia and others in the in more remote areas.
Allyn said the Army has been taking a very aggressive stance on pre-deployment training for those Soldiers heading to Africa and leaders have all been connected to Army medical professionals.
"They're speaking with U.S. Army Africa leadership who are forward in Liberia making sure they're abreast of all the threats out there, both medical and health concerns as well as what's going on in the environment," Allyn said.
"We don't underestimate the risk associated with it, but our Soldiers will not be in direct contact with the principle areas of risk," he said adding that deployed forces will be in a supporting role to the U.S. Agency for International Development. "I'm confident our leaders will stay engaged to mitigate the risk and ensure we don't put our Soldiers at risk without appropriate protective gear."
Allyn also said the Army was in the early stages of studying the equipment requirements needed of small expeditionary units which will be the primary way the Army deploys under the new Army Operating Concept.
"Frankly, we know that we need a middle-weight, mobile, protected firepower platform to enable early-entry forces to seize and exploit the initiative," he said, adding that Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles are the finest in the world, but too heavy.
"You've got to seize a major airfield to be able to get them in, so we're looking into the future for equipment that's not so heavy, but still enables us to have tactical mobility with protection and firepower to maintain the edge on the enemy," Allyn said.
"I think if you look at where our nation is employing the Army today, across six continents, we're demonstrating the global responsiveness and regional engagement that our chief has given us as one of his priorities, and we're going to continue to ensure we can adapt the equipment to keep pace with the environment we're operating in," he said.
The vice chief noted that the Army Operating Concept will codify the way the Army has been already been operating for several years, with small groups of Soldiers around the globe, including some 15 countries in Africa alone, supporting theater security cooperation.