Tactically Savvy’ Force Must Reframe, Commander Says

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2011 — After 10 years of war, the Army needs to “reframe” itself beyond tac­ti­cal capa­bil­i­ties, and focus on areas that have had to take a back­seat to coun­terin­sur­gency train­ing, the com­man­der of U.S. Army Europe said yes­ter­day.

“We are a tac­ti­cal­ly savvy Army that has been fight­ing a spe­cif­ic kind of con­flict, and it’s now time to expand our­selves a lit­tle bit,” Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling told defense reporters here. 

The Army needs to resume train­ing for con­flicts oth­er than coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions, he said, and focus on sys­tems that often get neglect­ed dur­ing extend­ed peri­ods of com­bat: train­ing man­age­ment, sup­ply account­abil­i­ty, sol­dier dis­ci­pline and coun­sel­ing and mentoring. 

“I think, because we were in such a rush to field forces, that we ignored some intri­ca­cies” that oth­er­wise would get done, Hertling said. 

The speed of oper­a­tions in Iraq and Afghanistan meant that in some cas­es, suf­fi­cient analy­sis of mis­sions and equip­ment did­n’t hap­pen, he said. While Army mis­sions have been over­all suc­cess­ful, some tra­di­tion­al sol­dier and leader skills have been neglect­ed, he added. 

Lead­ers at all lev­els should be men­tor­ing and coun­sel­ing their sub­or­di­nates “two lev­els down,” the gen­er­al said, adding that he coun­sels brigade com­man­ders, who should be coun­sel­ing com­pa­ny commanders. 

“The dis­ci­plin­ing of sol­diers, the coun­sel­ing of sol­diers — if we’re going to reduce our Army, and all indi­ca­tors are that we are, we’ve got to [retain] the very best, and those very best have to be coun­seled and devel­oped and trained,” the gen­er­al said. “But they also have to be disciplined.” 

Army recruits in the 21st cen­tu­ry are in a sense elite, he said. 

“Only about 25 per­cent of the avail­able pool can even meet the require­ments for enter­ing the ser­vice, from either a phys­i­cal per­spec­tive or a skills per­spec­tive or a learn­ing per­spec­tive,” Hertling noted. 

The Army has to fur­ther devel­op those recruits with the organization’s val­ues and dis­ci­pline, he added. 

“Being a sol­dier is tough,” he said. “It’s some­times like laser brain surgery, the things that we ask these young kids to do � they are the Napoleon­ic strate­gic cor­po­ral, at times.” 

“A sol­dier is very dif­fer­ent than some­one on the street, and this has been an approach that we’ve tak­en as part of the ‘pro­fes­sion of arms’ cam­paign: a re-look at what we say are our pro­fes­sion­al val­ues, and how we live them,” he said. “Not just say­ing we do it, but hav­ing the video to match the audio.” 

That cam­paign began in Octo­ber 2010, when Army Sec­re­tary John McHugh and then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey direct­ed Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey, then com­man­der of Army Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand and now chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to review the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the Army “in an era of per­sis­tent conflict.” 

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no is now “lead­ing the charge” in the cam­paign, Hertling said. 

In a Feb­ru­ary 2010 let­ter announc­ing the cam­paign, Dempsey wrote, “We need to review, reem­pha­size and recom­mit to our pro­fes­sion. We need to ensure that our leader devel­op­ment strate­gies, our train­ing method­olo­gies, and our per­son­nel sys­tems all con­tribute to defin­ing us as a profession.” 

Hertling acknowl­edged there are some “dis­ci­pline prob­lems that we have not paid as much atten­tion to as we should” in today’s force, and esti­mat­ed 5 per­cent of sol­diers fall into that category. 

Lead­ers must not over­look acts of indis­ci­pline, he said, and must address inci­dents of mul­ti­ple offenses. 

When he assumed com­mand in Europe, Hertling asked for a list of sol­diers with more than one cita­tion for dri­ving under the influ­ence. The num­ber on the list sur­prised him, he said. 

“When you’re real­ly, tru­ly look­ing at build­ing a small­er, more pro­fes­sion­al army, those are the kinds of things you have to address,” he said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →