By Leader Staff ReportsFebruary 28, 2019
Leaders from across the Army's Training and Doctrine Command gathered in the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School's auditorium Feb. 20 to gain insight from across the force and to hear about the commander's priorities.
The forum was led by Gen. Stephen Townsend, TRADOC commander, and Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr, Fort Jackson commander, welcomed the senior leaders to the installation and to the event.
Townsend began by entreating participants about the necessity of improving Army housing and spoke about his near and long term priorities.
"These are the things I need help with," Townsend said about his priorities.
Townsend said his near term priorities were to accomplish the Army's fiscal year recruitment mission; improve the quality, rigor and resourcing of initial entry training; reinvigorate the mission command system in the Army; reform the way TRADOC conducts business and help the Army field the Army Combat Fitness Test.
"Recruiting Command is killing it right now," he said. "Their numbers are looking better than they have in a while." Eighteen battalions and two brigades have made mission so far this year. "That is a significant improvement, but we have a lot to do -- we aren't there yet -- but things are trending in the right direction."
Townsend said the reforms put in are "starting to gain traction" and that he is "encouraged by the progress" but that "we have to stay on this."
"It is really important we make mission this year," he added. "It's more than just our reputation at making a number, etcetera. It has larger implications for the future of the Army."
Townsend illustrated why he was focused on reform by using accessions as an example.
It was learned that recruiting wasn't meeting its mission, "not because our Soldiers out in the field working hard enough in the field, it was because our recruiting machine was busted." He noted that the Army's recruiting website GoArmy.com hadn't been updated since 2009 and that some policies hampered recruiters from reaching potential Soldiers. He noted some of those systems had been fixed.
He lauded how the ACFT is being rolled out across the force.
"We are in the large scale field test," he said about the implementation of the ACFT. Fort Jackson is one installation that is part of the test's pilot program.
"(Center of Initial Military Training) has done great work" rolling out the test, Townsend said.
He also noted how Fort Jackson has a course where units can send master fitness trainers to learn more about the ACFT.
Townsend also called on leaders to make Initial Entry Training tougher and more realistic and particularly to "focus on large scale combat operations with near-peer adversaries, and to make sure we have Soldiers out in the field in austere conditions."
During the two day event, leaders heard presentations and participated in break-out groups. The command teams were given an update from U.S. Army Recruiting Command on current efforts to increase end strength; and presentations on Basic Combat Training, One Stop Unit Training and the rigors of Advanced Individual Training, among others.
On the second day of the event, participants were treated to a Meet Fort Jackson showcase tour where they witnessed how the post conducts day-to-day operations. The tour included stops at the Army Chaplain School, Soldier Support Institute, Leader Training Brigade and the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy. Some leaders even watched 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment trainees graduate.
The event was attended by command teams from across TRADOC as well as representatives from Army Futures Command, Forces Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Army Materiel Command and Installation Management Command.