By Susanne Kappler, Fort Jackson LeaderMarch 26, 2015
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (March 26, 2015) -- Gen. David Perkins, TRADOC commanding general, visited Fort Jackson Tuesday to present the new Army Operating Concept, or AOC, "Win in a complex world," to Soldiers and civilians on post.
During a briefing at the Post Theater, Perkins explained the genesis and concepts of the doctrine, which was released in October.
The new AOC introduces a significant shift from the AirLand Battle doctrine, which was published in 1982 and focuses on the operational and tactical aspects of war against a known enemy in a known setting. In contrast, the new AOC addresses the strategic aspect of a war against an unknown enemy in a constantly changing world.
"You design an Army differently to deal with the unknown than you design an Army to deal with the known," Perkins said.
He said that premise will have wide-ranging effects on how the Army operates, ranging from materiel innovation to Soldier development. One of the main aspects in the new AOC is the need to empower Soldiers and the importance of leadership, Perkins said.
"In an unknown world, you need to empower people. One of the ways you empower people is to create common understanding and create a common visualization," he said.
In an interview after the briefing, Perkins explained how the new doctrine will affect Basic Combat Training. He said he asked Soldiers in the early phase of Basic Combat Training about the main take-away of their training thus far, and the Soldiers said what really has been inculcated to them is the culture of the Army and the Army values.
"You cannot operationalize the Army Operating Concept unless you have a values-based Army. And that was the first thing the trainees brought up to me was the values taught," Perkins said. "And the way they learn it is the model by the drill sergeants. So the drill sergeants show what right is like and, of course, then convey the knowledge, the culture and the professionalism and the Army values."
The new AOC also emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, which is another integral part of basic training, Perkins said.
"We are planting the seed for (the Soldiers) at a very early age that we expect them to think," he said. "We expect them to know the expertise of their craft, but we also want them to have critical thinking, the application of their skill. Sometimes people think critical thinking means absence of knowledge, (absence) of skill. It doesn't. You still have to have the skill on how to fire a rifle. The issue is, how do you apply that skill?"
Perkins said the human dimension is one of the new areas the AOC is looking at, which encompasses physical and emotional resilience, cognitive ability and teamwork.
"We've never had this human dimension aspect. We've focused a lot on making the tank better -- getting more armor, getting to go faster, getting a bigger gun tube. Now we're saying, 'How can we do that to the Soldier?" -- make him more physically fit, more cognitively capable, more emotionally resilient," he said. "One of the big initiatives is, we are starting an Army University where we can pull together all of the professional military education, pull together all the intellectual capital and focus on the human dimension."