FORT SILL, Okla. -- Gen. Robert Cone, Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, visited Fort Sill Nov. 5 and 6, 2012 to see how the Fires Center of Excellence is supporting TRADOC's effort to shape the Army of 2020.

The general met with Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, FCoE and Fort Sill commanding general, and with Brig. Gen. Brian McKiernan and Col. Don Fryc, Field Artillery School and Air Defense Artillery School commandants and chiefs of FA and ADA, respectively.

"I'm tremendously impressed with everything I've seen here -- Fort Sill and the Fires Center is in the vanguard in implementing the concepts of the Army Learning Model," said Cone.

The general got a first-hand look into how Fort Sill is leveraging technology, such as simulations, to train FA and ADA Soldiers and officers at Jared Monti Hall.

"This is a significant investment by our nation in an approach to learning that is clearly cost effective," he said. "This facility achieves learning outcomes that used to require field units spending thousands of dollars firing munitions."

The general said Soldiers will need to make the most of technology, such as the kind used at Monti Hall, as the future security environment is going to become "tremendously more complex."

He said the focus on counter-insurgency may give way to a more uncertain security environment that will require consideration of the entire range of military operations. This will include combined arms maneuver, a central element that is Fires, and the role it will play.

"Our commanders at a critical point in time will turn to their close air supporters and expect timely and accurate Fires," said Cone. "The training I've seen here today will enable that."

He added that same thought applies to air defense where the Army has realized complete air superiority over the past 60 years.

"We're seeing in the world today unmanned aerial vehicles and such that are going to challenge the basic assumptions we've made about air defense. From what I've seen here today, we're clearly on pace with establishing the conditions that will be necessary to continue to dominate for decades to come," said Cone.

Meeting with 434th FA Brigade drill sergeants and Advanced Individual Training platoon sergeants, Cone said these professionals and the quality of their instruction is essential to the Army achieving its training goals.

"When you look at the experience, enthusiasm and commitment to learning here it is inspiring," said the general.

The general then addressed the integration of women into more military occupational specialties. He said the Army is moving to where gender will not be a discriminator in Army assignments.

"We should be more focused on knowledge, skills and attributes of individuals," he said. "You can see the field artillery and air defense artillery communities have taken the lead in many areas of integrating gender training.

"I don't believe anyone would say either FA or ADA is worse for wear in integrating the talents of this great group of individuals," he said.

Cone attended the family of the year ceremony at Patriot Club and said these ceremonies highlight the resilience of Army families to overcome the challenges of 10 years of repeated deployments.

"Their tremendous ability to balance their lives and be involved in the community makes all the rest we do in this Army that much more impressive," said Cone. "Not only are these the world's best Soldiers, but in many ways they are the world's best moms and dads, too."