Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth's Remarks to the 2022 Maneuver Warfighter Conference (September 13, 2022) (As Prepared)

By Dontavian HarrisonSeptember 14, 2022

Good morning! Thank you, MG Buzzard for the introduction.

I am really pleased to be here today and to be here in person. Ft. Benning plays a foundational role in Army readiness and is leading the way in innovation for Army infantry and armor as we become the Army of 2030.

As you all know, the entire Joint Force is at a turning point. After spending two decades engaged in counterinsurgency and combatting terrorism, we are once again focused on nation state challenges – but unlike when I was growing up and we were focused solely on the Soviet Union, we now have to think not just about Russia but also the pacing challenge of China.

The nation state challenges we confront today pose different and more difficult operational problems than did the Soviet Union back in the waning days of the Cold War.

Today and tomorrow’s battlefield will be increasingly transparent. Sensing technology, from smart phones to UAS to passive radars to satellites will proliferate. Army forces will be under constant observation – and what can be detected can be targeted. You only have to look as far as Ukraine to know what this means for ground forces.

Sanctuaries are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The Joint Force will not have the luxury of safe APODS and SPODs. The advent of longer-range fires, cyberattacks, and the proliferation of UAS means that everyone can come under attack whether on the battlefield, in the rear areas, or even in the homeland.

As my friend Dave Johnson, who will be talking with you later in the conference, has been saying for several years now, the battlefield is a crowded place these days – it isn’t just military against military, our adversaries work with private companies like Wagner, cyber hackers, criminal organizations, and proxies, many of whom are equipped with advanced technologies.

And of course, we have all come to understand the profound role that information, disinformation, and misinformation will play in current and future conflicts.

And finally, for ground forces, the future will likely present complex, multi-axis combined arms fights. On an expanded, non-continuous battlefield that features dispersed forces, ground forces will need to pay attention to their sea and air flanks.

You all are the future leaders of the Army – the officers who will lead the Army of 2030, and who will be senior leaders of the Army of 2040 and beyond, so today is a perfect opportunity to share with you how I envision the Army doing its part to ensure that the Joint Force can fight and win on this type of battlefield.

To succeed on this battlefield and continue to dominate the land domain, the Army of 2030 will need to be able to successfully do six major things:

First, we must ensure our Army can see more, farther and more persistently at every echelon than our adversaries.

Second, the Army of 2030 must be able to converge dispersed, deceptive forces at optimal times to strike hard against enemy targets.

Third, we must be able to win the fires fight, working with our sister services, by shaping the battlefield, providing deep interdiction of lucrative enemy targets, and by rapidly attacking massing enemy forces.

Fourth, our Army must be able to protect ourselves using integrated, layered capabilities to offset vulnerabilities wherever we can.

Fifth, we must be able to communicate and share data rapidly with ourselves, our sister services, and our coalition partners.

And finally, the Army of 2030 must be able to sustain the fight to support pulsed operations as well as endurance for a protracted conflict.

On this kind of battlefield, we will need to constantly look to create advantages for ourselves that we can direct against enemy weaknesses – an idea that is central to maneuver warfare.

From the strategic level - where our network of allies and partners offers many advantages – down to the tactical level where the training, cohesion and initiative of our small units gives us advantages against the more rigid, less well-trained forces of our adversaries on a chaotic, disrupted battlefield.

As the character of the future battlefield changes, as nation state threats grow more sophisticated, the Army has not been standing still. To the contrary, we have refocused on everything from doctrine to force design to modernization so that the Army of 2030 will be able to do the six things I’ve outlined.

Let me spend a few minutes painting a picture of how our Army will do this – we are so large that sometimes you can lose sight of the forest for the trees.

First, to ensure that Army forces will be able to see more, see farther and see more persistently than our enemies, we are modernizing our aerial ISR capabilities.

-      The Multi-Domain Sensing system comprised of the HADES manned platform as well as unmanned elements will provide more sensing for joint targeting at the theater level. An expanded family of UAS will do the same at the division, brigade, and battalion level.

-      The Terrestrial Layer System (TLS-Brigade and TLS-EAB) will give us imagery, radar and electromagnetic ISR capabilities to every level from battalion up to theater.

-      TITAN will connect Army forces at the brigade, division and corps level to robust national, commercial and Joint ISR capabilities.

-      And at the tactical level, IVAS will enable even platoons at the front edge of the battlespace to see more of the common operational picture than ever before.

·       And before the first shot is ever fired, our Multi-Domain Task Forces and theater military intelligence brigades equipped with AI-enhanced systems will allow us to collect, exploit and share information about the environment in the Indo-Pacific and Europe so that Army forces know as much as possible about the disposition of adversary forces in advance.

Second, the Army of 2030 will be able to converge forces that have been dispersed and engaged in deception to avoid being seen so that they can concentrate combat power and strike hard at decisive points in the battle. Our forces will use hide sites, decoys and highly mobile command posts to be able to distribute C2 nodes, air defense assets and sustainment forces in unpredictable ways.

-      To do this, we are investing in a faster, more survivable armored fist. Upgraded tanks and Bradleys will be joined by AMPVs, which are already in production.

-      These new vehicles will enable the fire supporters – engineers, medics, command posts and logistics trains, to keep up with the combat elements.

-      Close combat forces are becoming more lethal, leveraging the stronger punch of next generation squad weapons, the Enhanced Night Vision Goggles and IVAS.

-      The Mobile Protective Firepower system, which was just awarded to General Dynamics for production, will provide greater protection to Infantry forces without sacrificing speed or mobility. And robotic vehicles will provide an additional close combat multiplier, assisting with carrying heavy loads, breaching and providing close-in fires.

Finally, we’re reorganizing our combat engineers in battalions at the Division level and investing in select modernized bridging capabilities to ensure we can conduct a major river crossing, a deliberate combined arms breach or be able to rapidly emplace our own obstacle defenses.

Third, we must be able to win the fires fight, alongside our sister services. We have all seen the importance of fires in the Ukraine conflict.

Since 2016, the Army has been investing significantly in fire support systems and we’ve made Long-Range Precision Fires a top modernization priority.

Recognizing that both Russia and China possess fires capabilities that significantly outrange and outnumber the United States, we are in the process of growing our artillery formations and improving their range, rate of fire, lethality, and mobility—everything from longer barreled howitzers to hypersonic weapons.

We are increasing the number of field artillery units that can deploy quickly to a crisis and that are forward postured to deter adversaries. We’ve deployed our MDTFs forward in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific, and we have a plan to do the same with the new Mid-Range Capability and the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon batteries in FY2023.

We’re working tirelessly to ensure that we have multiple options to provide fires regardless of range from 40 miles (ERCA) to over 1700 miles (LRHW).

Fourth, if we can’t protect our forces, the first three things I outlined will be largely for nothing. Army forces must be able to protect themselves using layered, integrated electronic warfare and cyber, counter UAS and integrated air and missile defenses.

To survive, Army formations require improved mobility and the use of camouflage, decoys, and hide sites to reduce visual and electro-magnetic signatures.

We are enhancing our EW and cyber resilience, as well as our passive and active air defenses.

To protect our maneuver forces against a wide range of air threats, we’re continuing to field M-SHORAD. By the end of FY23 we will complete fielding our first battalion to EUCOM and begin fielding our second to FORSCOM.

We’re also developing an enduring Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC), that will work together with the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), to provide an unparalleled ability to identify, track and defeat aerial threats. This will be a significant step forward for our air defense forces.

Current events also highlight the proliferation and significance of enemy Unmanned Aircraft Systems. To get after this threat we are investing in Counter UAS Division sets that place fixed, semi-fixed, mobile and portable Counter UAS capabilities in the hands of our maneuver forces.

Fifth, key to our ability to perform all of these critical kinetic functions is being able to communicate rapidly and share data among ourselves, our sister services and our coalition partners.

The Improved Tactical Network is being fielded now. This iteration of the system improves classified transport with both better network bandwidth efficiency and resilient relay links.

Through our Project Convergence experiments led by Army Futures Command, we’ve shown we can use IBCS to share data beyond the Army.

We’re connecting far flung Joint sensors to Army shooters. The Army has demonstrated how to rapidly combine targeting data from our Joint teammates (e.g., F-35s or Marine radars) and pass that information to the correct Army fires element – reducing the targeting cycle to minutes.

This is just the beginning of a more data-centric Army.

I see more assured access to data, at even lower levels as a critical capability. Our ongoing transition to the data cloud will allow formations to harness targeting, situational awareness, and logistics data down to the battalion level.

And finally, but often overlooked and undervalued, the last thing we have to do is sustain the fight so that Army forces are ready for short, sharp pulsed operations as well as for a protracted conflict.

This is where I think we have the most work to do as a Service. And as I have said in other venues, one of our key roles in a conflict in the Indo-Pacific will be to sustain not just ourselves but to provide logistics and sustainment support to the rest of the Joint Force across the vast distances of the Indo-Pacific.

The Army has to not only sustain itself during the fight but also has to get to the fight. Both of which will be much harder in a contested environment.

This will require not only the “everyday” equipment, like fuelers and trucks, but also the niche, often overlooked, capabilities like Army watercraft and joint logistics over-the-shore. Logistics must be at the forefront of our planning, preparation, and training, not something we assume will always be there.

The Army of 2030 is not just about new materiel and organizations. We will publish FM-3, our new doctrine for Multi-Domain Operations next month, and I commend the document to each of you – Army leaders – knowing how central doctrine is to the Army.

Modernizing how we train and continuing to improve our leader development and professional military education are essential components of this historic transformation. Well-led, highly trained, and disciplined formations are core to what makes our Army the greatest in the world. The professionals here at the Maneuver Center of Excellence and our CoEs across the enterprise are critical to this effort. You all – our future leaders – are the fruit of that labor.

And at the end of the day, when you boil MDO down to its essence, it is really about how we do these six things.

How do we maneuver our forces to defeat an opponent through seizing the initiative – going on offence – using deception, dislocation, and disruption.

If our Army can do the six things I’ve outlined, and that are at the heart of MDO, we will prevail.