The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed Lt. Gen. Mike Lundy, commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, October 25 for a morning of discussion with Sergeants Major Course Class 68.

Lundy provided the students an overview of the operational picture within the Army and CAC, and noted the way the Army culture is now is a direct result of 16 years of persistent limited contingency operations.

"We haven't had more than a platoon [at a time] at risk for several years," he said. "If we face a peer threat we are going to have lots more than that at risk."

He added that the Army needs to build readiness to face a peer, or near-peer, threat and explained the Army's four strategic roles -- Shape the security environment; how to prevent conflict; how to prevail in large scale combat operations; and consolidating gains to make them permanent.

Noting the numbers of international students attending courses at USASMA and CAC, Lundy said the Army needs to not only embrace that relationship, but needs to start building readiness together with them to face the challenges of the future.

"How are we training together to build readiness," he said. "You can't shape and prevent unless you can prevail in combat and that is our number one [objective], the ability to prevail against a peer threat."

Lundy told the class that they should be proficient in the newly released version of Army Field Manual 3-0, Operations.

"FM 3-0, if there is nothing else you read in doctrine, if you read this you will be alright," he said. The environment has changed and so too the Army has to change. PME is important and it does change the Army, but that takes years, class by class. Out of a 20-year service career, Lundy said, a Soldier only spends about two years in the educational environment.

"So where you drive change is in the operational Army," he said. "You are the major change agents and you have a tremendous responsibility when you go back to the force."

Lundy said that the Army cannot face a peer threat unless we embrace mission command and strive for readiness at all levels. Your readiness and your ability to drive that readiness down to the force is critical, he said.

Lundy also provided some points for the class to ponder and said if they ever stop learning they will become irrelevant; don't stereotype by generations, Soldiers don't want to be your Facebook friend -- they want personal leadership and personal examples to follow, and your Soldiers know when you are about readiness or just about stats.

When it comes to training he said, "You have to be a part of the training action. Don't be an observer/controller -- you are out of practice."

Lundy also said, if you are hanging out in your office, you are failing; our weapon system is the Soldier, you need to take the human approach. When it comes to the command relationship, always tell your boss what they need to hear, get an understanding up front, and once a decision is made, make it your decision.

"It's okay to ask why," he said. "Ask the purpose."

In concluding his remarks, Lundy told the students to be in the mindset of change; think of large combat operations; think if what you are doing is important or just urgent; to be the bird dog out there and ask why, how does that make the force ready. He also urged them to allow the Soldiers to do things, let them make you uncomfortable, but be ready to make the diving catch.

"You are the [vigorous] shop foreman. Keep me straight so I don't make stupid decisions," Lundy said. "Just remember, you represent the Soldier. Don't ever forget that."

Additional photos of this event can be found on our Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.