Odierno: Future Army forces must be regionally aligned
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2012 - Future Army forces must be tailored to meet local requirements, must be rapidly deployable at lower echelons, and must be scalable from squad to corps level, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said here yesterday.
In remarks during the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Odierno discussed a changing strategic environment and the Army's future in that environment.
"We must approach operational tasks by organizing our missions around highly trained squads and platoons that are the foundation for our company, battalion and brigade combat teams, organized for specific mission sets and regional conditions," the general said.
Organizing for regional conditions is part of the Army's effort to align forces regionally to specific combatant commands, such as those in Europe, the Pacific and in Africa. Already, Odierno said, efforts are under way to designate such forces, align them with combatant command headquarters and increase integration with allies and multinational forces, such as the NATO Response Force.
"By aligning unit headquarters and rotational units to combatant commands, and tailoring our combatant training centers and exercises to plan for their greatest contingencies, units will gain invaluable expertise and cultural awareness, and be prepared to meet the regional requirements more rapidly and effectively than ever before," he said.
To be a military force capable of engaging around the world requires a modernization strategy centered on soldiers at the squad level, the general said.
"We must empower them with unmatched lethality, protection and situational awareness to achieve tactical dominance," he explained. "It entails an overarching network architecture that connects all echelons from squad to joint task force to ensure our leaders have the right information at the right time to make the best possible decisions."
Odierno said modernization efforts will prepare the entire Army for the complex and uncertain battlefield of the future by putting "squads with precise information and overmatched capability at the decisive time and place to achieve dominance of the operational environment."
And although the Army will be prepared for future conflicts, it acts as a deterrent to conflict as well, the general said.
"The Army represents one of America's most credible deterrents against future hostility," he said. "We prevent miscalculations from erupting into war, and we defeat an adversary when it does. No other nation can match the U.S. Army's ability to rapidly deploy a large number of troops over extended distances, sustain them, and deliver precise, discriminate results."