Army Leaders Discuss Readiness, Teamwork, “Reality of War”

By FORSCOM Public AffairsOctober 12, 2023

U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General Gen. Andrew Poppas; Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, commanding general of the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos, Texas; Maj Gen. James Martin, commanding general of the 3rd Division (“The Iron Division”) (United Kingdom); and Professor Carolyn Davison, associate dean, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, discuss the “Reality of War:  Forging Teams for the Future Fight” during an Oct. 11 Contemporary Military Forum panel presentation at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting. “Winning the first fight is imperative for all of us,” Poppas said.
U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General Gen. Andrew Poppas; Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, commanding general of the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos, Texas; Maj Gen. James Martin, commanding general of the 3rd Division (“The Iron Division”) (United Kingdom); and Professor Carolyn Davison, associate dean, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, discuss the “Reality of War: Forging Teams for the Future Fight” during an Oct. 11 Contemporary Military Forum panel presentation at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting. “Winning the first fight is imperative for all of us,” Poppas said. (Photo Credit: Adam Luther) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior Army leaders discussed Oct. 11 the “Reality of War: Forging Teams for the Future Fight” during a Contemporary Military Forum panel discussion at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting highlighting Army readiness preparations, the importance of teamwork and planning for the future.

“We've had a lot of discussions this week about readiness and that's one of the key components here.  But, but it's really ‘ready for what?,’” said Gen. Andrew Poppas, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. “You realize that the world today is much more uncertain and it is a much more dynamic environment now that we have to prepare for. I tell people the future is not written.”

Poppas spoke as part of a four-person panel at a culminating event for the AUSA Annual Meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The panel also included: Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, commanding general of the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos, Texas; Maj Gen. James Martin, commanding general of the 3rd Division (“The Iron Division”) (United Kingdom); and Professor Carolyn Davison, associate dean, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Fort Liberty, N.C.

“We heard recently from our new chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Charles Q. Brown Jr. a really important quote that I'd like to highlight for us today,” Davis said. “He insisted that honing our warfighting skill has primacy in all that we do.  As we're seeing play out in Ukraine and now in Israel as well, it’s a matter of urgency for us to focus that today’s reality requires warfighters who are educated, trained and equipped to be all they can be.”

Poppas said FORSCOM’s core purpose is warfighting and winning. He outlined the command’s “Four Wins” principles: “1. Win trust and empower winners; 2. Win the first fight; 3. Win the future fight; 4. and Win as a balanced, Total Army.”

“These four driving principles for FORSCOM are synchronized with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s top focus area: warfighting,” Poppas said. “Winning the first fight is imperative for all of us. Warfighting … it’s the reason our Army exists.”

Maj. Huw Miller, 1st Cavalry Division current operations officer from the 3 (United Kingdom) Division, tracks and synchronizes current operations on the battlefield during the Warfighter 23-04 exercise. During this exercise, 1st Cavalry Division fully integrated all Mission Command Integration Systems including the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE) to synchronize units across the Division battlespace.
Maj. Huw Miller, 1st Cavalry Division current operations officer from the 3 (United Kingdom) Division, tracks and synchronizes current operations on the battlefield during the Warfighter 23-04 exercise. During this exercise, 1st Cavalry Division fully integrated all Mission Command Integration Systems including the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE) to synchronize units across the Division battlespace. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Jennifer Bocanegra) VIEW ORIGINAL

The global environment is dynamic and the character of war is evolving, Poppas said and the other panel members agreed.

“Our Army must be ready to respond globally to the full spectrum of operations,” Poppas said. “To deter and prevail in a conflict, the Army must continue to focus on providing combat-ready ground forces to the Joint Force.  Army formations are driving the readiness we need to deter, fight and win tomorrow’s wars wherever we’re called to do so.”

Panelists also cited the important roles of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve as well as the vital strengths that allies and partners bring to joint warfighting.

“The reality is, we’re not going to do an operation overseas somewhere without allies and partners,” Bernabe said. He also noted the challenging reality of war today.

U.S., U.K. forces conduct movement rehearsal during Warfighter 23-4 3rd (United Kingdom) Division Soldiers inspect a FV510 Warrior Infantry Section Vehicle during the Warfighter Exercise 23-4 at Fort Cavazos, Texas, April 18, 2023. WFX 23-4 was a Department of Defense directed multi-echelon, multi-national exercise with III Armored Corps, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade participating as primary training units. WFX 23-4 was designed to enhance lethality, readiness, and allied interoperability.
U.S., U.K. forces conduct movement rehearsal during Warfighter 23-4 3rd (United Kingdom) Division Soldiers inspect a FV510 Warrior Infantry Section Vehicle during the Warfighter Exercise 23-4 at Fort Cavazos, Texas, April 18, 2023. WFX 23-4 was a Department of Defense directed multi-echelon, multi-national exercise with III Armored Corps, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade participating as primary training units. WFX 23-4 was designed to enhance lethality, readiness, and allied interoperability. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Luis Santiago) VIEW ORIGINAL

“It's been about 600 days since we all watched the Russians invade Ukraine,” Bernabe said. “So, for 600 days we've all had a chance to watch the character of war change right before our eyes and we've had a chance to really watch and learn to appreciate the challenges of large-scale combat operations in the current environment. We must change the context in which we train and make sure that we are truly capturing the realities of this modern battlefield.”

“We've seen that combined-arms maneuver is still the key, or a key, to success,” Bernabe said. “We've also seen how difficult combined-arms maneuver can be and, in fact, often it's easier to stop combined-arms maneuver than it is to generate it.  We've also seen that the fires warfighting function has perhaps regained its place as the tactical center of gravity: the side with the most tubes and the longest range, the best sensors and the shortest sensor-to-shooter linkage is the side that's going to win,” Bernabe said.

“We've watched the challenges of sustaining a Large-Scale Combat Operation,” Bernabe said, “and it's not just about the ammunition and the repair parts and the fuel at the tactical level, but it's also about magazine depth and industrial capacity at the national level.”

The Army provides global combatant commanders with combat-credible ground forces capable of fighting and winning in Large-Scale Combat Operations, according to the panel members. The Army also makes a difference in global security by providing visible and credible land forces that exercise and engage with allies and partners around the world.

“We are prepared to fight, sustain and win in multidomain operations anywhere in the world,” Bernabe said. “So, we want to ensure we’re prepared for anything that comes our way.” As we watch what happens in Ukraine, as we now watch what's happening in the Middle East, and as we contemplate what may happen in the Indo-Pacific region , we must change that context for training now.  In the III Armored Corps, we've done a lot of that changing. We've been helped by teammates like the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center,” he said.

“There’s no doubt if we have to deploy somewhere to fight, we’re going to have allies and partners with us,” Bernabe said in an earlier interview. “We want them with us. That is one of our advantages over any adversary in the world.  There is no other nation in the world that has such a strong network of allies and partners.”

“I would say the trust between our two nations, our two militaries, and two armies is unparalleled,” said U.K. Maj. Gen. James Martin, commanding general, 3rd U.K. Division, said while training at Fort Cavazos earlier this year.

“I think it's a truism to say that effective teams increase one's competitiveness,” Martin said during the AUSA panel presentation. “I think when it comes to warfighting, we need to be a bit more specific about what the advantage good teams provide us with and then build those teams.”

U.S. Army Jesus Ramirez , assigned to the III Armored Corps, patrols roads for the jump of the tactical operations center during the Warfighter Exercise 23-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, April 22, 2023. A jump TOC consists of moving the location of the operations center. The TOC serves as the unit's command and control hub, assisting the commander in synchronizing operations. The TOC is the location where the majority of the planning, staff coordination, and monitoring of key events occurs.

WFX 23-4 is a Department of Defense directed multi-echelon exercise with III Armored Corps, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade participating as primary training units. WFX 23-4 is designed to enhance lethality, readiness, and allied interoperability through NATO participation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. LaShic Patterson)
U.S. Army Jesus Ramirez , assigned to the III Armored Corps, patrols roads for the jump of the tactical operations center during the Warfighter Exercise 23-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, April 22, 2023. A jump TOC consists of moving the location of the operations center. The TOC serves as the unit's command and control hub, assisting the commander in synchronizing operations. The TOC is the location where the majority of the planning, staff coordination, and monitoring of key events occurs.

WFX 23-4 is a Department of Defense directed multi-echelon exercise with III Armored Corps, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade participating as primary training units. WFX 23-4 is designed to enhance lethality, readiness, and allied interoperability through NATO participation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. LaShic Patterson)

(Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. LaShic Patterson)
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“As we build joint, collective and combined readiness, it's clear that we need to prepare for a fight in which our opponent outnumbers us and has numerical superiority certainly in people and platforms to which we need a response,” Martin said. “And what is our response? What is our advantage? Well, at least a great deal of it lies in the concept of achieving tempo -- that rate of military activity relative to one's opponent.”

“It's impossible to build genuine operational tactical tempo without mission command -- that concept which focuses on empowering our teams around the central and singular imperative of achieving the mission and of mission command's foundational principles,” Martin said.  It is the trust and the shared understanding that are absolutely pivotal.”

Both III Armored Corps and 3rd U.K. Division participated earlier this year in the multinational exercise Warfighter 23-4 at Fort Cavazos, Texas. Warfighter 23-4 simulated Large-Scale Combat Operations involving tens of thousands of troops from across the globe, with the goal of enhancing lethality, allied partnerships, and interoperability. The exercise tested the III Armored Corps’ ability to project combat power and included units from the 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade, alongside NATO allies.

More than 1,500 soldiers and 400 vehicles from the 3rd U.K. Division supported the 2023 joint warfighting exercise at Fort Cavazos.