By Mr. Jeff Crawley (IMCOM)February 10, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla.--The head of Army training visited Fort Sill, Okla., and met with Soldiers in training to see if the instruction they were receiving was rigorous and relevant.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquartered at Fort Monroe, Va., was at Fort Sill Feb. 8 and 9.
"We aspire to (make) the challenges and complexities that they (Soldiers) face when they are in Iraq, Afghanistan or are deployed somewhere, seamless inside the schoolhouse," Dempsey said, meeting with members of the media, "so it's not two separate experiences, but rather one continuum of learning."
The first event Dempsey held was a town hall meeting with 300 officers in the Field Artillery Captain's Career Course at Snow Hall. The 24-week course is for Army and Marine captains and international officers, to prepare them for staff positions as fires support and fires direction officers and eventually as battery commanders. Although the town hall was closed to the media, Dempsey elaborated on the interaction between himself and the field artillery officers.
"I love them because they are so darn honest," Dempsey said. "They all seemed to feel challenged and, I'll tell you, they also asked some very important questions for our profession."
Responding to a reporter's question after the town hall, Dempsey said there were three things that he wanted to see in today's young leaders. "
I want to see inquisitiveness. They're not just sitting back daring us to educate them ... they are thinking about their profession - how it's doing, where they may be some capability gaps (and) what they can do to help us understand it a little better."
Dempsey continued: "I'm always encouraged ... by the depth of their feeling for their profession, their willing to challenge assumptions."
Dempsey said that he also expected the captains, who are junior officers, to be masters of their small units and weapons systems. And third, leaders have to be adaptable in their careers.
"They have to be, and have demonstrated adaptability, and that's a quality that I think will be increasingly important," said Dempsey, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974.
Dempsey remarked that TRADOC must continue to raise its game to challenge today's young officers, by using modern technologies, such as virtual environments and training simulations.
Dempsey also observed gunnery instructor certification and the Joint Fires Exercise Training Simulator and toured the new Air Defense Artillery complex.
Dempsey noted: "I will say Fort Sill and the Fires Center, in particular, generally stay on the leading edge of things in terms of challenging our young officers and taking care of their families."