FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- Moving the Army forward through modernization and readiness were key themes during the “Changing Character of Warfare” Contemporary Military Forum, at the AUSA Warfighter Expo and Summit, July 27 at the Crown Complex in Fayetteville, N.C.

Gen. Andrew Poppas, U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General, along with Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, Deputy Commanding General – Interoperability for V Corps; Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, and Dr. Sean McFate, Senior Fellow from the Atlantic Council, participated in the panel. Lt. Cmdr. Nicole M. Winget, Assistant Dean of Student Life & Support, Site Supervisor, Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice, Campbell University, moderated the panel.

Panel members from the “Changing Character of Warfare” Contemporary Military Forum,“ from left to right: Dr. Sean McFate, Senior Fellow from the Atlantic Council; Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, Deputy Commanding General – Interoperability for V Corps; Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division; Gen. Andrew Poppas, U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General; and moderator, Lt. Cmdr. Nicole M. Winget, Assistant Dean of Student Life & Support, Site Supervisor, Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice, Campbell University.
Panel members from the “Changing Character of Warfare” Contemporary Military Forum,“ from left to right: Dr. Sean McFate, Senior Fellow from the Atlantic Council; Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, Deputy Commanding General – Interoperability for V Corps; Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division; Gen. Andrew Poppas, U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General; and moderator, Lt. Cmdr. Nicole M. Winget, Assistant Dean of Student Life & Support, Site Supervisor, Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice, Campbell University. (Photo Credit: Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL

Poppas said FORSCOM is solely focused on the readiness of the force, “and it is our requirement to fight and win our nations wars,” he said. “But what does that mean when we talk about readiness to fight future fights?”

He added, “How do we build through modernization and readiness for that future fight, while balancing the requirements that we have out there?”

FORSCOM units have supported a number of recent operations, to include COVID-19 support, Operation Allies Refuge, and the recent rapid deployment of troops to provide support in Europe.

Poppas said, “demand is not going down and the [Combatant Command] requirements continue to increase.”

With the Immediate Response Force mission, the 82nd Airborne Division, which is just coming off their recent deployment to Europe, always has to maintain readiness, LaNeve said. Because of that, “It is harder to balance all of the things that have to be accomplished.”

He went on to say that one of the ways they are doing this is through their operational readiness cycles, which lays out the tasks that must be accomplished during each cycle. LaNeve said this allows the unit in the training window to get to the highest state of readiness for their Combat Training Center rotation.

Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, speaks during the “Changing Character of Warfare” Contemporary Military Forum” during the AUSA Warfighter Expo & Summit, July 27 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC.
Maj. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, speaks during the “Changing Character of Warfare” Contemporary Military Forum” during the AUSA Warfighter Expo & Summit, July 27 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC. (Photo Credit: Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL


“Any exceptions to policy, I would hold at my level,” LaNeve said, “and that's the only way we can ensure we get the sets and reps at the lowest level, so we can get to the highest level of training.”

Poppas talked about the importance of training at the lower echelons, and how it is crucial to the foundation of each unit. He explained readiness in a 1.0 and 2.0 approach – saying that 1.0 focuses on the fundamentals, making sure there is expertise at those lower-level executable tasks, the battle drills.

He said looking at Combat Training Center rotations and garnering feedback from Commanders and Non-Commissioned Officers is imperative. “We have built that level of capacity and expertise,” he said adding, “The next step is to get to 2.0. “

“First you have to maintain that foundation. You can’t build a house on a foundation of sand,” Poppas explained, “The expertise at the level of execution has to be maintained, so we won’t take away from that. The first level of 2.0 is: Where do you start synchronizing your warfighting functions? How do you get complementary effects on the battlefield?” Poppas asked.

Poppas said synchronizing those functions starts at the battalion level, “We have to look at means of multi-echelon training. We have to figure out how we get to the point that battalions have a full understanding through the multi-domain what they are going to bring to bear on the battlefield.”

Yokes provided a NATO perspective to readiness, saying they created high-readiness forces and low-readiness forces. He explained that high-readiness forces are brigade level and ready to deploy within seven days.

With readiness also comes modernization and looking to the future.

“We have to look at the future fight and what the structure and capabilities we need to bring to bear - modernization and the temporal nature of the fight,” explained Poppas.

LaNeve added that the 82nd has to be ready to execute any task they are asked to do so they are continually transforming.

“If you take a look at the technology that is changing and the way to apply that technology against a near-peer threat, the way we do an airborne assault might be completely different [in the future],” said LaNeve. “The first pass across a drop zone might not be heavies dropping and paratroopers dropping. It might be dropping out drones, and the ability for the drones to understand exactly what the drop zone looks like -- the drones go out so we can have pinpoint accurate precision fires on our enemy as soon as we drop, LaNeve said.

He also said Army leaders are taking a hard look at all these things-- what the divisions looks like now, what the divisions need to look like in five years, and what they need to look like in ten years in order to meet whatever the Army might ask of them.

Another key aspect the group looked at was the role engaged leadership plays in overall readiness of the unit.

Poppas said engaged leadership is the human dimension. “It starts at [Physical Training]. It’s knowing the human dimension of the formation that you’re a part of. It you are a team leader, you know your team, and your team should know you. You should know every aspect of the individual. You should know who their family is. You should know where they live. You should understand what their goals are, what is their inspiration, what is it that motivates them.”

The AUSA Warfighter Expo and Summit is an inaugural two-day event taking place in Fayetteville, NC. For more coverage of the event, visit the FORSCOM Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FORSCOM.