By Spc. Ethan ValetskiAugust 10, 2018
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington -- In order to modernize and promote readiness in Stryker units across the Army, America's I Corps command team hosted the Stryker Warfighter Leader's Summit at the American Lake Conference Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord August, 1-2, 2018.
The two-day summit, hosted by Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, I Corp's Commanding General, and Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud, I Corp's Command Sergeant Major, brought together senior leaders from Stryker units across the Army, Department of the Army civilians and industry experts to discuss the modernization of the Stryker and what may need to be changed to help it fit into the Army's plan of readiness to deploy, fight and win on tomorrow's battlefield.
"I Corps is responsible, on behalf of the Army, to be the champion and the voice of the Stryker community," said Brig. Gen. Michel-Henri St-Louis, a Canadian soldier and the Deputy Commanding General for Operations for I Corps. "So twice a year we gather all of the Stryker brigade combat team commanders and stake holders in the community to talk about the issues that are important to the SBCTs.
The Stryker combat vehicle is the U.S. Army's Stryker Brigade Combat Team's primary combat and combat support platform. It is lighter and more transportable than existing tanks and armored vehicles. The Stryker provides combatant commanders with a strategically and operationally deployable vehicle capable of rapid movement anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration.
"It is important to have SBCTs in our Army because they are that in between mixture of light infantry and armor," said Master Sgt. Thomas Russell, the operations non-commissioned officer for the summit. "They can be in the fight while the heavier armor can get spun up."
A Stryker chassis' modular design allows the support of a wide range of variants, such as reconnaissance, medical, and anti-tank guided missile vehicles.
"This summit is important because it allows for bottom up refinement, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Richmond Minton, the logistics officer for the summit. "To be able to identify what needs improvement and to have the open dialogue and discussions here in order to shape the decisions that have an impact on the guys on the ground."
A big emphasis at the conference is how the SBCTs will fit into Army Secretary Mark T. Esper's 'Army of 2028' vision.
The Army is focusing on how we can modernize the Stryker for the future, said Minton. We are looking at and leaning on industry to get that technology in our formation and enable us. Right now, we are looking more into enhanced survivability and also maneuverability that was lost in recent changes.
Also in attendance of the summit were soldiers from Canada and the United Kingdom, both countries having an interest in the future of the Stryker in their armies.
"It is important that we have these other nations included in the conversation and at these conferences because it builds our multi-national relationships," said Minton. It builds our cohesion and shared understanding of how our formations fight. That really proves itself when we go operate in theatres where we have those joint operations.
The Canadian Army has been using the Stryker in its formations for over a decade and a half, before the U.S. Army's adoption of the vehicle.
"Our two armies have worked together in the field for decades," said St-Louis. "Wars that we will face and challenges that we face in the future will probably see us fighting and serving alongside each other. So being in a summit like the one today, talking about the issues and how we solve them together is a great opportunity for the representatives of the Canadian army.
The Stryker Warfighter Forum Leader's Summit is a bi-annual event. The next one will take place January 2019.