By Scott WakefieldSeptember 6, 2019
DETROIT -- The Detroit Economic Club hosted Gen. John Murray, commander U.S. Army Futures Command at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Mich., on Sept. 5.
The general participated in a "fireside chat" with the civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Michigan, Tammy Carnrike. They discussed issues facing today's Army including modernization and the Army's reliance on collaborative partnerships with industry.
In the initial discussion about modernization, Murray said, "the Army has failed to modernize over the past two decades because we were focused on two conflicts, Iraq and Afghanistan."
Although adjustments were made to existing equipment to keep them maintained and ahead of our adversaries Murray said "we've missed an entire generation of modernization because young soldiers today are using equipment that I used as a young officer back in the mid-80s."
He went on to say that the lack of a modernization program is making us fall behind our "near-peer" adversaries, Russia and China.
Murray also says the creation of Army Futures Command, which stood up last year, was the idea of then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and the late Sen. John McCain in 2015. The idea was not supported initially by Army civilian leadership until then acting-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper took the reins.
According to Murray, approximately 90% of Army Futures Command's capabilities were dispersed across other Army commands. The consolidation aligns all the modernization and innovation efforts under the leadership of one command.
Murray and Carnrike also discussed collaborative partnerships and the importance for the Army to team up with civilian industry. Murray said, "Although the Army has really intelligent engineers and scientists, we don't have them all."
He also stated Army research and development has had a lot of failures in the last decade with modernization efforts, specifically the Crusader, Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Comanche, which all cost about $40-billion. Although the platforms overall were failures, some technologies that came out of the research could be used in today's modernization efforts.
Murray said, "We have to fundamentally think differently about problems and how we solve problems."
During his visit to the DEC, Murray was able to meet with high school and college students for a question and answer session. Murray took the opportunity to emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics courses in school to help us maintain a technological and economic edge over our adversaries.
About Army Futures Command
Army Futures Command leads a continuous transformation of Army modernization in order to provide future warfighters with the concepts, capabilities, and organizational structures they need to dominate a future battlefield.
The establishment of Army Futures Command marks one of the most significant Army reorganization efforts since 1973, when the U.S. Army disestablished the Continental Army Command and Combat Development Command, and redistributed their functions between two new commands, U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Training & Doctrine Command.
Strategic We must create and deliver focused, prioritized concepts, organizational designs and capabilities to achieve Defense Planning Guidance objectives and meet Army Senior Leader guidance to address mid and long-term challenges.
Effective We must deliver what warfighters need, when they need it, in a timely and affordable manner.
Innovative We must create and cultivate a culture that front-loads smart risks through iteration and prototyping.
Agile We must be willing to fail early and responsibly and learn from our failures and successes. We must be creative and not become victim to a "that is not how we do it here" mentality.
Unified We must become "one team" with a laser focus on creating speed through shared goals and understanding, disciplined initiative, enabled decision making at the lowest possible level, and delivering valued outcomes for the Army.