FORT BENNING, Ga.- The U.S. Army's three priorities: People, Readiness, and Modernization, were at the forefront of the 2021 Maneuver Warfighter Conference hosted at Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 15-17. This year's conference theme is "The Dreadful Array: Modernizing for LSCO in the Pacific."
In a recently released video for the conference, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, spoke about the Changing Character of War.
"Between World War I and World War II, you have one of the greatest fundamental changes in the character of war ever recorded. There are fundamental changes that have occurred throughout history in the character of war, but they only occur once in a while. We are in one of those once in a while right now," said Milley.
The character of war is evolving, but the tank-infantry team will remain the centerpiece of maneuver in wartime. Preparation for large-scale combat operations requires us to be honest and challenge the assumptions we make to ensure capability, capacity, and lethality match the realities of near-peer conflict.
Lt. Gen. Scott McKean, Army Futures Command deputy commanding general and Futures and Concepts Center director, started day two of the conference by emphasizing the importance of experimentation as part of the Army’s Campaign of Learning.
“Last summer, we conducted a Joint Warfighting Assessment with Pacific Sentry 21. Having the INDOPACOM team participating allowed for insights to be gathered on organizations supporting the Theater Army to include redundancies in some cases. The JWA also provided opportunities to figure out the best ways to employ emerging capabilities at the operational level and in close combat operations,” said McKean.
As part of the Army Modernization Strategy, the Army has emphasized its focus on becoming Multi-Domain Operations-capable by 2035. One of the tenants of MDO is convergence – or the ability to integrate effects across the five domains to decisively overmatch any adversary in conflict.
Over the past two years, Army Futures Command has held its Campaign of Learning Capstone event, Project Converge, to experiment with technologies that support the Army Modernization Strategy.
Project Convergence is the Army's campaign of learning, designed to aggressively advance and integrate the Army's contributions to the Joint Force. As part of the Joint and Combined fight, it ensures that the Army can rapidly and continuously converge effects across all domains – air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace – to overmatch our adversaries in competition and conflict.
According to McKean, who leads Project Convergence 22 for AFC, modernization and readiness are not individual efforts.
McKean stated, “We have to modernize even while we are building readiness. We have warfighter exercises that start getting after modernization initiatives, so it’s not like we are at zero, but we have to start intentionally focusing our efforts to capture insights and then assess their applicability to emerging doctrine.”
The Army is transforming by integrating next-generation technologies and warfighting concepts across the force to enhance our ability to compete globally, deter adversaries and win on all-domain battlefields in an era of strategic competition.
“Modernization is about more than just technology, equipment, and weapons. It is about creating new formations, new doctrine and most importantly about enabling our most precious asset which is People, to fight and win the wars of the future,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, commanding general, Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, and host of the 2021 Maneuver Warfighter Conference
The operational environment of large scale combat operations will require leaders to think in multi-domain terms and to enable their forces to make creative and bold decisions in anticipation of, or as a response to, the rapidly changing battlefield.
“The side that does it the best, integrates the technology, changes their leadership, and adapts their doctrines to best incorporate all of that in a synergistic way by the 2030s and 40s, is the side that is going to win,” said Milley.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) and Fort Benning delivers trained and combat-ready Soldiers and Leaders while developing and integrating the doctrine and capabilities of the Maneuver Force.