FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Nov. 12, 2014) -- The leader of the command responsible for shaping the future U.S. Army shared some of his leadership principles and insights with Army civilians during a professional development session here, Nov. 4.
Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, began the discussion at Fort Eustis' Wylie Theater with an overview of TRADOC's role in the big picture, so civilians could better understand how they support the command -- and the Army.
"Our job, in the institutional part of the Army, is to make sure that when our Soldiers are sent into battle, they have the full weight and might of the United States behind them," he said.
From the institutional point of view, that means TRADOC's job is to make sure the Army's brigades and battalions are filled with Soldiers who are well-trained, educated and equipped. But equipping Soldiers is more than just issuing rifles, pistols or artillery he said. It's making sure that Soldiers have been given the right ideas, grounded in solid lessons learned, so they are prepared to solve problems.
"TRADOC is the intellectual foundation of the future of the Army. We are the ones who think through all the concepts and doctrine, and it starts with your ideas. Eventually, it ends up in tanks and Bradleys, but it starts with you," said Perkins.
Solving the right problems was a major principle Perkins shared with the more than 200 civilians in attendance and thousands of others across the command who listened online.
"Remember -- as you get promoted to higher and more senior positions, it is more important for you to spend your time asking the big questions and focusing on the right problems, instead of wasting time chasing small answers," said Perkins.
To illustrate his point, Perkins discussed the recently released Army Operating Concept and how his team, led by Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and the Army Capabilities and Integration Center, focused on asking and addressing the Army's big questions and that answers to those questions will drive the force for generations.
[Note: To watch the full discussion, including Perkins' insights on the new Army Operating Concept and how it compares to AirLand Battle (Field Manual 100-5), visit TRADOC's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/usarmytradoc.]
Perkins said he believes that TRADOC was originally built after Vietnam to drive dramatic change for the Army, and will do so again during this period when the force needs to reposition for the future.
"We design and build the Army. TRADOC changes the Army -- that is what we do. Our job is not to maintain the status quo. Other services and countries visit us to see how we do it because we are good at it, and we have a history of it," said Perkins.
To further emphasize TRADOC's importance to the Army, Perkins pointed to Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Dailey, TRADOC's senior enlisted adviser, who will become the next sergeant major of the Army. Dailey will join Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as recent TRADOC leaders who have moved onto pivotal Army and Department of Defense positions.
"I think it is another indication of how serious the Army is about change -- they chose the next sergeant major of the Army from TRADOC, because that's where you get quality people who know how to change the Army," said Perkins.
Perkins encouraged the audience to question themselves and whether their actions contribute to the prestige and honor of the Army.
While the exact definition of esprit de corps varies from culture to culture, and from organization to organization, the attribute of honor often comes up when defining esprit de corps within military organizations.
"It is very powerful to see others interact with a sense of honor. They are representing not only themselves, but their organization and the United States Army. They have a sense that they are a steward of the reputation of the Army for decades to come," Perkins said.
Perkins ended the discussion by imploring the audience to go out and engage with others to explain the size and scale of the Army because many have no idea what the Army does every day.
"It's amazing when you stop and think that the Army is an organization of 1.2 million Soldiers with a multibillion-dollar budget that hires 10,000 new Soldiers every month, and gives 500 Soldiers a new job every day," said Perkins. "The Army gets things done because of people like you. We have a very dedicated workforce that has given a lot to our profession, and that makes us very unique."