FORT LIBERTY, N.C. - U.S. Army senior leaders -- commanders, staff and senior noncommissioned officers -- gathered at U.S. Army Forces Command Headquarters on Fort Liberty, N.C., to enhance their shared understanding of FORSCOM's roles, priorities and key initiatives assisting Total Army units with warfighting preparations, building and sustaining readiness, training and implementing modernization initiatives for the active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
The Sept. 7-8 FORSCOM Senior Leader Orientation (FSLO) included Army leaders and representatives from U.S. Army Forces Command's corps, divisions, First Army, the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Army National Guard, British and Canadian army allies as well as FORSCOM Headquarters staff.
“The Army and FORSCOM are at a challenging point in our history,” Gen. Andrew Poppas, FORSCOM commanding general, told the group of more than 130 senior leaders representing over 40 Army organizations and units.
Poppas’ comments echoed the senior Army leadership’s vision. “We must focus on warfighting: the purpose of our Army and the reason we serve,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George said during Congressional testimony earlier this year. “Our Army is a lethal and dedicated team with a profoundly important purpose.”
The “Reality of War; Forging Teams for the Future Fight” also is the topic Oct. 11 during a major presentation by U.S. Army Forces Command senior leaders at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting 2023 in Washington, D.C. The Contemporary Military Forum AUSA meeting presentation will be live streamed at: https://www.ausa.org/ausa-live-streams .
“It’s absolutely imperative that we get together and have these forums because you are the senior leaders of the military,” Poppas said. “When we talk about warfighting and what it means when we go into conflict and the faces that our Soldiers are going to depend on … you are in this room today. How we prepare that formation … how we get them ready for the next fight, which will be the first fight, and how we drive thru it. That’s you. That’s a lot of responsibility.”
Gen. Poppas reminded the FORSCOM leaders that today’s complicated warfighting reality is not necessarily unique in world history, drawing historic parallels and international similarities to 109 years ago. He cited June 1914 and the complex events surrounding the start of World War I.
“Nobody foresaw that, but within one month war was declared and troops crossed the border of European countries,” Poppas explained. “Within four years, 120,000 Americans had died in World War I and 20 million people died in the conflict,” he said. He explained that, like the unexpected events leading to World War I, “our future is not written,” asking the group “are we potentially on the precipice of a similar chain of events” given today’s uncertain environment and the complex threats requiring increased readiness requirements?
“It just takes one incident to be a catalyst event for others,” Gen. Poppas reminded the group. “We have to be ready. The future is not written for you. It’s much more complex today.”
As part of today’s contemporary warfighting realities, Gen. Poppas discussed FORSCOM’s “four wins” objectives, which are aligned with the Army’s three priorities and the Secretary of the Army’s six imperatives. The FORSCOM “four wins” are: (1) Win trust and empower leaders through engagement and stability; (2) Win the first fight at echelon through tough, realistic training; (3) Win the future fight by modernizing capabilities and methodologies; and (4) win as a balanced Total Army.
The command's mission is: "FORSCOM trains and prepares a combat ready, globally responsive Total Force in order to build and sustain readiness to meet Combatant Command requirements."
The vision for the command is: "Combat ready and globally responsive Total Army Forces that are well led, disciplined, trained, and expeditionary … ready now to deploy and win in Large Scale Combat Operations against near-peer threats."
The purpose of the FORSCOM Senior Leader Orientation is to provide a forum for a shared understanding of FORSCOM’s authorities, roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures to assist units in building and sustaining readiness.
More than half of FORSCOM’s combat strength resides in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve – the Total Army. FORSCOM’s integrated collective training events involving all three Army components ensure the Army generates and sustains cross-component interoperability and teamwork. “We can’t go to war without our Guard and Reserve components,” Gen. Poppas said.
The next fight likely will occur within a Large-Scale Combat Operations setting in a multi- domain environment, military analysts predict.
FORSCOM’s training approach emphasizes the role of the Army’s divisions as the decisive tactical unit of action, the principle tactical warfighting headquarters. “The divisions have the resources to set the conditions for brigades and battalions,” Gen. Poppas said. Based on current operations, FORSCOM also is optimizing its training methodologies at echelon in all aspects of live, virtual and constructive training environments.
Commanders and command sergeants major set the conditions for engaged leadership that fosters cohesive teams and strong Army Families, Gen. Poppas emphasized. People come first in well-trained and disciplined units. FORSCOM encourages a holistic and consistent “People First” culture, with senior leaders who emphasize positive command climates, access to quality medical care, and deliberate talent management to enhance readiness.
Engaged leadership is a central FORSCOM theme. Senior leaders are emphasizing the human dimension of leadership and drive a renewed focus on leader presence, personnel accountability and adherence to training schedules. Leaders must be physically present at their unit formations and throughout the duty day’s training events, according to the command’s training guidance, starting with morning physical fitness training.
The two-day leadership orientation covered key topics affecting FORSCOM units now and potentially in the future -- including: command relationships; the Army’s Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM) unit life-cycle model; key aspects of the military's annual budget; Army training initiatives, such as Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises; training methodologies and strategies; modernization initiatives to “inform the future force;” installation and facilities management programs; procedures to evaluate military readiness; Ground Readiness Evaluation Assessment and Training for logistics operations; and personnel safety programs.
The general thanked the attendees for taking time to better understand how Forces Command, the Army and their units support each other with teamwork, preparation, realistic training and engaged leadership.