By Mr. Mike Bowers (Leonard Wood)February 4, 2016
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's commanding general told Fort Leonard Wood military and civilian leaders that it is a "unique responsibility" to know what an organization is for and how it fits into the overall Army structure.
"Once you understand 'what you are for,' that decides how to understand 'what you do,'" said Gen. David Perkins during a leader professional development held Monday in Lincoln Hall Auditorium. "Once you understand what you are for, then you can grade your homework on -- is what I'm doing accomplishing what I am for."
In explaining what TRADOC does, Perkins described his organization as the U.S. Army's design build firm. TRADOC's Army Capabilities Integration Center cranks out the blue print for the Army, while the U.S. Army Recruiting Command obtains the Soldiers, and the Combine Arms Center trains those Soldiers, Perkins said.
"We design, acquire, build and constantly improve the Army," Perkins said. "That's what we are for. That is what makes TRADOC a different organization than in any other army, because it is one-stop shopping."
Fort Leonard Wood is part of TRADOC's 32 Army schools organized under eight centers of excellence, with each focused on a separate Army expertise. At Fort Leonard Wood, that focus is maneuver support, which includes chemical, engineers and military police.
The general said those centers train more than 500,000 Soldiers yearly, and recruiting command recruited 132,000 Soldiers last year. "The U.S. Army does things to scale that nobody else does," Perkins said.
Guiding the Army through doctrine also falls under the TRADOC umbrella. The first Army field manual was written in 1904, according to Perkins. "Until last October, almost all manuals were designed to deal with known problems at the tactical operational level of war," he said.
"This is the first time we have written a manual to deal with strategic issues for unknown problems," Perkins added, noting that the new document is the same product but completely different and from the aspect of operating in the complex world of today.
He also noted that future Army adversaries wouldn't be so clear and fixed as those the old Army manuals were written to combat and offered some advice.
"Never sacrifice clarity in search of accuracy. I'm not saying be inaccurate," Perkins clarified. "Your job is to provide clarity to what may be a very complicated and complex set of data or information. Never lose clarity in search of accuracy. Seek clarity; provide the big picture."
Explaining the relations between TRADOC and the U.S. Army, Perkins said the Army is the ultimate force compliance of the United States of America when the outcome matters. He said to be a great leader in that force, one must have one of the Five Essential Characteristics of the Army Profession -- military expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps and stewardship of the profession.
"This is not just military training, but the essence of who you are," Perkins said, reminding the audience that the U.S. Army is older than the United States of America. "The United States of America was built on the shoulders of the Soldiers of the U.S. Army. It will continue to exist on the shoulders of Soldiers of the U.S. Army. That is what any army is for. It ensures the survival of the nation."
Perkins said the Army, built 241 years ago and representing democracy today, was done so Soldier-by-Soldier, sergeant-by-sergeant and lieutenant-by-lieutenant.
"That's how you build a professional army. Everybody else in the world notices, and we're the envy of the world," Perkins said.
He emphasized leaders have the task to maintain the profession that has built the most powerful land force the world has ever known.
"That's what leaders are for. Your job is to ensure, while it is in your care, to keep it on the straight and narrow, so for the next 241 years, we are the envy of the world and to ensure the existence of the United States of America."