HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- People are the Army's advantage.

That was the message attendees of the Association of the U.S. Army's 2016 Global Force Symposium and Exposition walked away with Thursday following the panel discussion, "People are our Advantage: The Impacts of Leader Development on Readiness."

Chaired by Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center, together with Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; and Randall Hill, executive director for the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, the trio shared their views about how leadership development plays into readiness to allow for today's Soldiers, as well as those who will wear the uniform in the future, to live and win in a complex world.

"There's nothing more important because the right leaders can handle any task, but it does take an investment in those individuals -- investment in their broadening, investment in them as leaders, and an incredible investment in time," Brown said.

Brown emphasized leadership development as the "most important aspect of readiness," and that to build readiness for today and tomorrow Army leaders must understand that "people are an investment, not a burden," and that when it comes to technology the coin needs to be flipped from "people who adjust to technology" to "technology that leverages people."

"The right leaders, even if we get it wrong predicting the future, the right leaders can handle anything," Brown said.

The Army's human dimension strategy includes lines of effort revolving around forming agile, adaptive leaders, realistic training and institutional agility, which requires a "different way to educate, a different way to train," Brown said. Initiatives underway to meet that mission include better and more rigorous coursework at the Army University, developing more realistic training and a greater emphasis on the Army profession. Some of the technologies being developed address the ways to optimize human performance, whether it be physical, cognitive or perception, according to Wharton.

"When you invest in the human dimension, in the Soldier, you're investing in the United States because everyone out there who has served, and those supporting those who have served, and the civilians that we generate, are leaders for our nation. … What the Army gives our nation in terms of leadership is tough to match anywhere," Wharton said.