Bringing more than 175 years of Army leadership and experience into one room, five former commanders of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command met with the command's current leaders Jan. 17 to learn how TRADOC is continuing to design, build, acquire and improve the future Army.

The Former TRADOC Commanders' Forum also provided an opportunity for Gens. William R. Richardson, Carl E. Vuono, William W. Hartzog, Kevin P. Byrnes and William S. Wallace to share previous experiences, ask questions and provide insight on a number of the command's current initiatives.

Throughout the day, the former commanders received information and asked questions on topics including Army University, Multi-Domain Battle, the next-generation combat vehicle, NCO 2020 and an update by the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training.

"These are some of the most pressing things we're working on," said Gen. David G. Perkins, TRADOC commanding general, as he outlined the day's discussion, adding that the topics they were preparing to discuss were all "in some state of change"

Before the presentations began, Vuono, who commanded TRADOC from 1986 to 1987 and went on to serve as the Army chief of staff from 1987 to 1991, commended the command for its efforts in building the future force.

"This is a special command -- it really is the heartbeat of the Army," Vuono said. "You should be proud of what you've accomplished already."

The former commanders also provided input based on experiences throughout their career. Hartzog, who commanded TRADOC from 1994 to 1998, shared some advice on network modernization.

"We were trying to build a network for 2010, but we made a couple of mistakes," he said. He explained that one of the mistakes was losing track of the different generations and how each generation used information differently.

"As you move forward, pay attention to the next generation -- how are they going to use the information? You've got to understand who you're building it for," he added.

Perkins agreed, emphasizing the importance of having a long-term vision when designing the future Army.

"If you don't have a long-term view of the future, you can start making near-term decisions for the future," Perkins said.

At the close of the forum, the former commanders thanked TRADOC leaders for the updates and all of the information the command provided throughout the day.

"One word to describe this day: breathtaking," Vuono said, explaining that TRADOC has had the challenge of fighting a war for 15 years while still moving the Army forward.

As the forum came to a close, Perkins thanked the commanders for their participation and told them that it was humbling to continue the tradition of the TRADOC forum.

"We are in great company today -- thanks for the feedback and dialogue," Perkins said.