By John HarlowFebruary 29, 2008
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (TRADOC News Service, Feb. 28, 2008) -- In his presentation to the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Gen. William S. Wallace, the commanding general of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, put to rest some myths about the quality of Soldiers in today's Army, introduced the new field manual for operations, FM 3-0, and spoke of the importance of land power.
In 2007, the Army met its goals for active-duty and Reserve recruiting. Retention numbers are historically high, especially since it is a time of war. Currently, the Army has recruited 18,829 active-duty Soldiers and 8,667 for the Army Reserves. Those numbers have active-duty recruiting at 101.2 percent and the Reserve at 93.7 percent toward the 2008 mission. The general believes that the trends are showing that Reserve recruiting numbers will climb in March, April and May.
The general also addressed a myth about the quality of the American Soldier. In 2007, between the Active and Reserve Components, 107,410 young men and women raised their right hands and pledged to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Of that total number of entering recruits, 79 percent did not require a waiver of any kind. Throughout the year, the Army granted a total of 22,186 waivers to recruits. Of those waivers, 1,492 were granted for previous drug or alcohol use; 8,637 were for pre-existing medical conditions and were granted by medical doctors for conditions that were treatable with modern medicine, and 12,057 were moral-conduct waivers. Of those 12,057, 598 had been previously convicted of a felony charge. Before any young man or woman enlists in the Army with a felony conviction, their case is reviewed by 10 officials, including a general officer.
"When you look across this great nation of ours, all felonies are not created equal," said Wallace, noting some of the legal differences among the states. "But America is about opportunity - not about denying opportunity. While the waivers ultimately grant a recruit a second chance to possibly rectify past mistakes, Wallace in more concerned about the output than he is the input. "It's really about the put or the product than it is the raw material."
The general challenged members of the audience to visit and observe Soldiers who have completed basic training rather than spend time critiquing their pre-entry characteristics. "I challenge you to go to see a young Soldier at Ft. Jackson, Ft. Knox, Ft .Benning and Ft. Leonard Wood, or those in Iraq or Afghanistan, and make your own assessment."
Wallace noted some of the changes made throughout TRADOC over the past year. Basic combat training extended from nine to 10 without the addition of any new tasks.
Advanced individual training drill sergeants were replaced with platoon sergeants, and platform instructors became squad leaders. According to Wallace, that has changed the ratio from leader to led from one per 50 Soldiers to one for every 15.
TRADOC is also working to support the implementation of the Army Force Generation Model, or ARFORGEN. The command has taken steps to shorten Noncommissioned Officer Education System courses and provide mobile training teams to bring the NCOES courses to home station.
"We have an inventory of 20 MOS (military occupational skill) that we take to the Operational Army that we take to home station to conduct ANCOC (advanced noncommissioned officer course) and BNCOC (basic noncommissioned officer course)," said Wallace. "We found that because of the pace of operations, units were not releasing their noncommissioned officers to come back to the institution for training. We as an institution have the obligation to provide that education, whether it is in the school house or at home station."
TRADOC currently has 349 mobile training teams that will takes NCOES courses to the installations, rather than forces Soldiers to travel to a particular training site to complete the required training.
TRADOC is taking lessons from the Soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and adding them to what is being taught to initial-entry Soldiers. Combat lifesaving is now taught to every Soldier in basic combat training.
"Every Soldier leaving basic training is certified as a Combat Lifesaver," said Wallace. "Folks in the field said that when a Soldier is injured in combat, the injured Soldier is stabilized not by a combat medic or doctor, but by a fellow Soldier, and our standard first-aid training just wasn't enough. So we made sure that every Soldier comes out of basic combat training as a Combat Lifesaver."
This training doesn't just help Soldiers in the field, but it helps citizens on the highway.
"We had a Soldier who was heading to the airport as he was returning from Christmas leave who came across a very bad traffic accident," said Wallace. "He applied his combat-lifesaver skills to triage and stabilized several causalities in that accident. That tells us that this training was the right thing to do."
Wallace spoke briefly about the new update to the field manual for operations, FM 3-0. He noted several major changes from the previous edition, which was published in 2001.
"This is the Army's capstone operations manual," said Wallace. "FM 3-0 is the blueprint for an uncertain future. This manual has been influenced by almost seven years of warfighting and was written by warfighters."
The general noted that the reason the Army needed to change the way it operates was because the environment is changing.
"We are operating in an era of persistent conflict, operating among the population, and in a pervasive information environment facing unpredictable threats and in a context where conflict resolution requires a 'whole of government' approach," he said noting that the solution will likely require all of the elements of national power of diplomatic, information, military and economic.
FM 3-0 also defines the central role of the commander in operations. The commander has to be able to understand the problem first, visualize the end state, describe the time, space and resources necessary to effectively conduct the operation; and, finally, direct the warfighting function, highlighting the aspect of understanding the environment must happen before visualization - a significant change from past doctrine.
Having led V Corps into Baghdad, Wallace knows about the importance of land power and its impact on global security. National security depends on global security, which requires the "whole of government" approach also known as DIME (diplomatic, information, military and economic) functions. DIME requires local security, not just by the United States, but also from allied forces. Local security requires land power, and land power dominance requires a full-spectrum modernized force. That force is made up of precision effects that are Soldier-delivered.
In closing, Wallace emphasized TRADOCs role in providing the best-trained Soldiers who are trained and equipped to operate across the spectrum of conflict.
"It means to us there are no fair fights and that the American Soldier will not be playing home games," he said. "Our Soldiers will take the fight to our enemy on their turf to enable the American people to enjoy the safety and freedoms that America provides."