US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno has unveiled a concept called Global Strategic Landpower Network. (Paul McLeary/Staff)
WASHINGTON — Preparing for the start of a series of hearings before Congress to discuss his fiscal 2015 budget, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno struck a cooperative tone in remarks at a Washington think tank Thursday, stressing joint solutions to future conflicts.
The chief unveiled what he called the Global Strategic Landpower Network, which he said is being discussed among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The idea is new, but Pentagon discussions about the concept revolved around “a multinational network that would be established around the world that enables us to respond” to contingencies, and a “multinational joint capability,” he said.
Army staffers and other Pentagon officials contacted for more information either did not respond to queries by press time or were unfamiliar with the discussions.
Specifically, Odierno said that he’s working with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on issues related to close air support, a nod to the Air Force’s desire to eliminate the aging A-10 ground attack jet, which Army infantrymen rely on heavily.
He said they’re working though issues such as, “what does close air support look like in the future, what kind of close air support do we need in order to support land power in the future, and how do we go about doing that?”
He stressed, “these are all joint concepts.”
Continuing his theme of placing the Army’s mission in a larger joint context, Odierno added that while the service is spending a lot of time working though its forced entry capabilities for potential future operations, “forced entry is not a ground exercise, it is a joint exercise that would require support from air, naval, cyber, etc.”
He added that the nascent Global Strategic Landpower Network he had briefly described “is not about positioning ourselves for the budget, this is about trying to develop concepts for how we believe landpower should be used in the future.”
The Army has previously teamed with the Special Operations Command and the Marine Corps to produce a white paper for their joint Strategic Landpower task Force, but this new “Network” appears to be more inclusive of the other services, and more global in its ambitions.
It is also unclear if the effort is an attempt to construct something similar to the “Global SOF Network,” which Special Operations Command leader Adm. William McRaven has been pushing for the past two years.
McRaven’s idea is to have Special Operations forces partner with US combatant commanders and indigenous special operators in partner nations to share intel and conduct joint training and engagement operations, in order to more fully integrate capabilities and increase information-sharing.
Odierno’s idea isn’t completely new, however. An article in the July 2013 issue of Army magazine authored by the head of Army Special Forces, Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, and Lt. Col. Stuart Farris promoted the idea of developing a multinational “landpower network” that would “consist of allies, expeditionary global and regional partners, and host-nation forces. It could ultimately include non-military actors that have a direct relationship to success in wars among the people in places like Libya and Syria.”
Cleveland and Farris continued, “this is not about outsourcing our global security responsibilities to witting and unwitting actors,” but rather to “generate strategic options for senior defense officials and policymakers, both domestically and abroad.” ■