By Stefanie L. Antosh (TRADOC)November 26, 2019
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (November 20, 2019) -- Former commanding generals and command sergeants major of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command gathered to share their experiences, provide insights and offer advice to the current TRADOC leadership during the 2019 TRADOC Former Senior Leaders Forum, held here on Nov. 19-20.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from each another," said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the current commanding general of TRADOC. "We are going to actually look at the thought process of how we led change in our Army during an inter-war period, like I think we're in now."
Funk outlined the 'Big Five' ideas used since the Vietnam War to modernize and change the culture of the Army toward Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities and Policy, or DOTMLPF.
Some of the changes include the evolution of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the development of the current After Action Report process, the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation System and leader development doctrine that considered all Soldiers to be leaders.
These things did not happen overnight.
"The change wasn't instantaneous. It happened over a series of years," Funk said.
Looking forward, he described how TRADOC has a responsibility to continue evolving to produce a fighting force to win on the future battlefield.
"We have these bridging documents--the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy. They've always kind of driven where we're going next, which we're using to focus on the threats of large-scale ground combat and near-peer threats," Funk said.
He stated that to better prepare Soldiers to defeat those threats, the Army must take advantage of emerging technology and the synthetic training environments, or STEs.
STEs use virtual reality technologies and databases to deliver training to Soldiers, instead of bringing the Soldiers to training.
STEs are currently being used to simultaneously deliver training to teams in the same virtual environment, although the team members are geographically apart from one another. This technology, however, requires skilled cyber technicians and data scientists to lead, develop and maintain the equipment and software before it can be scaled to the entire force.
"We have the Army Modernization Strategy … In support of that is TRADOC, through all the centers of excellence and schools," Funk said. "What we're looking for now is 'What are the attributes we're going to need ten years from now?' And to find the Solders we're going to need for the future."
That is where TRADOC leans on U.S. Army Recruiting Command and its partnership with the Army Enterprise Marketing team.
Together with the new marketing strategy and new recruiting strategy, they are working to attract the tech-savvy talent the Army requires to support the training needs of the future operating environment.
The future battlefield may look very different than the ones of the past but the challenges of recruiting, educating and training Soldiers during prosperous economic times and military reforms are not new to the participants of the forum.
"Every environment has different conditions that they operate under," said TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden. "So even though they might be the same problems, they have different problem sets that are needed to take care of them. It's good to hear (the attendees') perspectives."
One person who offered his insight was retired Gen. Martin Demspey, who served as TRADOC commander from December 2008 to March 2011, before he was appointed as the Army's 37th Chief of Staff and then the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dempsey said, "Don't think about change as something new or episodic. Everything is about managing change."
He added that learning from those who have been in the leadership seat can help Funk and his staff when they make the decisions as a driving force of the Army's center to recruit, train and educate the force.
Among the former leaders in attendance were retired Gens. Gordon Sullivan, William Hartzog, William S. Wallis, Martin Dempsey, and David Perkins, and retired Command Sgts. Maj. Gordon Paez, Anthony Williams, John D. Sparks, and David Davenport.