By Mr Forrest Berkshire (ROTC)October 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. (OCT. 10, 2011) -- On the opening day of the annual Association of the United States Army national convention, several hundred Army ROTC Cadets got a preview of the Army they will be leading as platoon leaders from the man responsible for forging how they will operate.
Gen. Robert Cone, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spoke at length on the topic "Shaping the Army of 2020" at the annual ROTC luncheon.
Cone said how this generation of incoming Army leaders, combined with 10 years of constant fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, is shaping how the organization looks toward the future.
"Our world has been dominated by Iraq, Iraq and Iraq for the last 10 years," Cone said.
But with the vast majority of troops pulling out at the end of the year and the operations in Afghanistan winding down, Cone said the Army is preparing to shift focus to training.
"It is an art form -- training your soldiers," Cone said. And one future commanders had better embrace if they are going to be successful. "The commander has the moral responsibility for training his soldiers."
In order to improve training, Cone said his command is looking at adapting the materials and media used to educate soldiers and commanders.
Cone said instead of cramming as many words onto a printed page to create a long doctrine in book form, the doctrines of the future will be boiled down to 11-page documents a Soldier can thumb through and understand easily.
The details, and lessons learned, will move online, where the squad and company and higher-level commanders can interact and communication becomes multi-directional. The supporting material for specific doctrines on war-fighting will take forms such as wikis.
Cone also covered some other areas of change coming to the Army.
Cone said advanced degrees from rigorous academic institutions will become more important for an officer's career advancement. Training will become more realistic, based off of actual operations and instances gathered from the past decade of reports and action reports the Army has amassed.
And more emphasis will be on empowering the squad-level unit, which he said, in his view, is the most vulnerable unit in current and future conflicts.
In short, he said, the Army is gearing up for a momentous change, both in its operation tempo and how it prepares for the future conflicts. And his command is emphasizing adapting the curriculum to meet those needs of the digital natives who will make up the force.
"We're willing to change," he said.
Following Cone's presentation, several scholarships were handed out to Army ROTC Cadets in attendance, including: The Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Foundation awarded $5,000 scholarships to Green to Gold Cadets Michael Postoak, from Cameron University, and Sara Peters, of Iowa State University; AUSA presented a $2,000 scholarship to Daniel Sweeney, of Minnesota State University, and Miranda Doss, of East Tennessee State University; as well as awards for local ROTC AUSA chapters for Best Company (Howard University), Largest Company (Saint John's University-Minnesota) and Most Active Company (Saint John's University-Minnesota).