Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Dwight David Eisenhower luncheon at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army on Tuesday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. (Mike Morones / Staff)
- Filed Under
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Dwight David Eisenhower luncheon at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army on Tuesday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. / Mike Morones / Staff
Soldiers’ training will change significantly as the Army’s focus shifts from more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to creating a regionally aligned force.
The next two years will see the Army implement institutional changes that will prepare soldiers for the service’s future role, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, speaking at the 2013 Eisenhower Luncheon during the Association of the United States Army conference.
“As we continue to reduce our presence in Afghanistan we will expand our regional alignment of forces across the force,” Odierno said, “Our brigades will cycle through a regional alignment rotation under combatant command support and control.”
For this new “globally responsive, regionally engaged” role of the Army, soldiers can expect regular rotational deployments to worldwide regions, like Africa or the Asia-Pacific, Odierno said, which means they will train for that mission.
Instead of soldiers going through Joint Readiness Training Center rotations that focus on Iraq- and Afghanistan-based counter insurgency, some of the new training will look like the recent rotation of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, he said. At JRTC the 3rd BCT soldiers participated in the Decisive Action Training Exercise rotation, which is supposed to train soldiers in their after-Afghanistan mission. The scenario included paratroopers assisting an allied foreign country against hostile forces.
The DATE rotations began last year at JRTC, and include training to enter a foreign country with a joint force, evacuating people from another country if they might be in danger and unconventional warfare in a joint, multinational environment.
Some of these missions have been traditionally carried out by Special Forces soldiers and the regionally-aligned concept promises to bring closer partnerships between Special Forces and conventional Army units, Odierno said. During the DATE rotation the soldiers of 3rd BCT trained with the 5th Special Forces Group. Conventional soldiers jumped into a simulated foreign country while Special Forces soldiers met them at the drop zone.
Besides the change in training at JRTC, soldiers can expect more reinvigorated home station training, Odierno said. Additionally, the Army will re-invest in combat training centers and capitalize on multinational training exercises, he said.
Other changes ahead include:
■ Reviewing curriculum in all of Noncomissioned Officer Education System, officer and Army civilian education to ensure it is aligned with the new focus.
■ Broadening assignments to include assignments at combatant commands and government agencies and even internships with think tanks
■ Incentivizing advanced civil schooling
■ New assessment tools for the Army to identify the best talent to match soldiers and civilians with the right assignments
Odierno said these changes will help soldiers retain tactical and technical proficiency while cultivating an operational perspective to carry out their regionally-aligned global missions.
Soldiers must be tactically trained, but also be able to think strategically, he said.
“Given the dynamic uncertainty of conducting operations in today’s world, it is imperative that military leaders not only have tactical and technical proficiency, but also understand the underlying political economic and the social context at the tactical operational and strategic levels of war,” Odierno said.