CAC Hosts Global HD Conference

By Scott Gibson - Combined Arms Center PAOApril 17, 2015

Global HD Conference
Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, addresses the participants of the Global Human Dimension Conference which was held April 15-16 at the Frontier Conference Center. Coalition partners repres... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Coalition partners representing 23 countries met at a forum on 15-16 April to share ideas and best practices on how they are developing leaders in the face of emerging strategic challenges during first Global Human Dimension Conference at the Frontier Conference Center here.

This two-day information exchange encouraged open dialogue between all of the participants who briefed the group on a wide range of Human Dimension subjects from leader development and professionalism to cognitive dominance and institutional agility.

The underlying theme of this two-day exchange was the acknowledgement by participants that the age of dominating on the battlefield through technological advantage alone is no longer enough due to the speed of information and ability to replicate or defeat military technologies. Instead, the participants focused on the importance of providing our armies with dominance in the human dimension.

Summing up the change in mindset from a technology focus to a human focus, Brig. Mark Brewer, Director General-Training, Australian Army Forces Command stated, "We equip men, we don't man equipment."

Participants of the conference agreed that the world faces a more complex and ambiguous threat environment than ever before, expressing a need to design coalition forces to face an enemy that can rapidly adapt to exploit weaknesses and avoid strengths.

"Very few of our adversaries are building forces to attack or match our strengths, but instead they are working on ways to exploit our weakness," said Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and host for the event. "What we must identify together is, 'what are those weaknesses we will face in the future' and then focus on how we can protect ourselves from our vulnerabilities."

The nearly 200 conference attendees discussed the current operating environment and the dramatic shift to hybrid threats and urbanization which demands leaders to consider not only the rules of engagement, but also the cultural, social and political context of their actions and engagements.

"Amidst all future challenges and technological progress the focus of attention must firmly remain on the military leader," said Maj. Gen. Walter Spindler, Commander of the German Army Training Command. "That is why it is crucial that we continue to dedicate particular attention to the education and training of our leaders-to-be, and to provide them - at the relevant levels - with all tools indispensable for successful leadership."

What stood out to many participants of the two-day exchange was the renewed understanding that the problems being faced are not exclusive to any one nation or region, but are global challenges.

"What is fascinating about this HD Conference is when you hear the presentations you might assume that all of the countries involved collaborated in advance, but we did not," said Brown. "This proves that we are all struggling with the same problems and shows the importance of working together to learn from each other and find solutions."

The representatives of the 23 countries agreed that in order for future Solders to win in a complex world, coalition forces must optimize human performance by providing Soldiers who are mentally and physically prepared to thrive in ambiguity and chaos. Leaders and Soldiers must rely on critical and creative thinking to complete a training event with moving targets, non-combatants, urbanization, and battlefield clutter. Soldiers must consider more than just "can I shoot" but "should I shoot," according to Brown.

For many in attendance, the HD conference is a starting point that could lead to more open collaboration on leadership issues between nations who will likely be partners in future conflicts.

"The human being is the most important resource and constitute the Army's Main Priority," said Lt. Gen. Guido Montini, Chief of the Chilean Army Mission to the USA. "For the Chilean Army, it is very important to share its experiences and realities with other Armies of the world, with the aim of helping one another find new ways to optimize human performance, face modern combat and win in a complex world."

Related Links:

CAC Website

Human Dimension Dashboard

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