FUTURE FORCE DEPENDS ON FUTURE LEADERSHIP
By Julian Nettlefold
24 Feb 12. General Raymond T. Odierno, 38th Chief of Staff, US Army gave an impressive speech outlining the future shape and structure of the US Army following the current reorganisation.
General Odierno opened his speech stating that the Army could drop from today’s 45 brigades down to 32, depending on the results of an internal Army study. When the new DoD strategic guidance was released in January, the Pentagon announced the Army would eliminate at least eight brigade combat teams and drop from 570,000 soldiers in the active duty force to 490,000. Army officials have said the number of brigade combat teams could fall even further with the conclusion of a force design/force mix study being done by Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). He said that the Army would use the power of all the relevant institutions to adjust the Future Force. By the end of FY17 there will be eight fewer Brigade Combat Teams (BCT), two of which, (the 172 will deactivate in 2014), will be taken from Europe.
“The Future Force depends on the Future Leadership, thus we must encourage soldiers to develop their skills within the military education and training framework. The Army undertook 6500 hours of simulated operations to decide on force structures, the results of this will be reported in two months. Early feedback suggests that we should add a third Manoeuvre Battalion to each BCT and bring in more engineers. We also propose to grow our Special Ops force to 35,000 and bring in more interoperability with the Army and other forces, this will allow us to better synchronise our WMD and Counter-terror activities. We have to bring in 56000 recruits a year and these men must be trained to the highest standard. We also intend using more soldiers in current civilian posts to retain this knowledge base.”
“My intent is to sustain a high-quality, All-Volunteer Army that remains the most decisive land force in the world; provides depth and versatility to the Joint Force; is agile, responsive and effective for Combatant Commanders; and ensures flexibility for national security decision-makers in defense of the Nation at home and abroad.”
General Odierno emphasised the importance of the Pacific Theatre to the Army and said that more effort would be deployed to that Region. He also said that the Army Service Deployed Command will develop better and more Preposition sets overseas and create better Army representation in the CoCom HQ for the Joint Force. He went on to say that it is vital to sustain the reduced number of Reservists, 205,000 and allow them to be better deployed in the main Army. To enable this transition the FY13 Budget reflects the move from current and future needs to current needs with many key Programs being slowed down. Development of the Network, GCV, Army Aviation and Soldier Systems remain the key objectives. RD must be sustained in the budget to allow new technologies to flow through.
General Odierno took a number of questions at the end of his speech, a key one being about the Ground Combat Vehicle Program (GCV). He said that the Army needs a new heavy vehicle capability in the Middle East and Korea after studies showed the need for heavy armour in these areas. An analysis had shown that the Bradley has a huge survivability issue and the Army has lost more of these vehicles than any other vehicle. He said that over the last seven or eight years with Bradley, first it hasn’t done very well surviving. In fact, of all of the Army’s combat platforms the Army has lost more Bradleys than any other combat platform. The Bradley has not been used in five years.
“I see survivability and mobility as the key to GCV and other new systems. We want to get back to the mobility we had before the wars in Iraq.”
In an earlier brief on the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV), M113 Replacement Program it was suggested that the favourite would be the turret