By Vince Little, The BayonetApril 27, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Now that the Maneuver Center of Excellence is coming into full view at Fort Benning, leaders here want to tell the rest of the Army all about it.
MCoE and Fort Benning Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Hardy recently led a small contingent to Fort Riley, Kan., to share insight about the command's mission and deliver the latest happenings within the Infantry and Armor branches. He also was guest speaker at the Expert Infantryman Badge awards ceremony for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
The group included Command Sgts. Maj. Steven McClaflin and Ricky Young of the Infantry and Armor schools, respectively, as well as Sgts. Maj. James Pearson and Greg Proft from the two branch proponency offices. The trip took place April 13-15.
"We wanted to update the operational Army on what the MCoE is doing for them and provide Infantry and Armor branch-specific updates to the NCOs," Hardy said. "The CG (Maj. Gen. Robert Brown) and I have discussed getting out to the force and educating them on what the MCoE is and what we're doing for the Army today as well as in the future."
At Fort Riley, the command sergeant major and his team met with commanders and top enlisted leaders at the division, brigade and battalion levels.
The MCoE is developing several strategic themes to maintain an advantage for the operational force, Hardy said. Combined-arms maneuver and wide-area security are two major keys to success.
"They're not conducted separate, but a force may be doing these simultaneous," he said. "We're also using blended training. It's necessary to inject the reality of the complex operating environment into a training environment."
Leader development and what's being done to boost the tactical small unit were high on Hardy's agenda as well, he said.
"We must treat the tactical small unit as a strategic system," he said. "Not just the Infantry squad, but all elements must be networked to create a common operating picture and situational awareness."
Young said Fort Benning leaders want to educate the maneuver force - both Infantry and Armor - on what it means to be part of the MCoE and the benefits of working together.
"In years past, we often found the two branches competing for the same resources," he said. "Now, we are on better footing and speak with one voice to ensure that all of the Soldiers in our formation will get what they need to accomplish their mission. We have always fought as a combined-arms team, so it is only natural that we take on force design, manning and equipping as a team."
As the Armor School command sergeant major, Young used the trip to address issues on that side of the house, too.
"We have an obligation to keep them abreast of the changing policy and training that will affect the professional development of our Armor and Cavalry Soldiers, NCOs and officers," he said. "In this we are able to discuss career paths and provide guidance for future assignment considerations. In addition, it provides an opportunity to update them on vehicle and equipment upgrades, as well as force structure changes, that impact our Armor and Cavalry formations."