Contemporary Military Forum #1: Ready Now

Contemporary Military Forum #1: Ready Now

– Well, good afternoon. What a great AUSA day, we’ve had a tremendous morning. I want to welcome you to the afternoon session. It’ll be even more exciting. We have a dynamite presentation for you. Get to that in just a few minutes. You’ve heard our chief talk about readiness for several years. You’ve heard the SECDEF this morning allude to it. General Abrams spoke at the Guard and Reserve breakfast. A trained and ready force. So the topic of Ready Now is very, very appropriate. My name is George Cohen, I’m on the AUSA National staff. And we really want to thank you for joining us. As your professional organization association, AUSA and the Institute of Land Warfare, as a part of AUSA, are proud to provide forums like this one throughout the year that broaden the knowledge base of Army professionals and those who support our Army. These professional development seminars are AUSA’s way of amplifying the U.S. Army’s narrative to audiences inside the Army and to help further the association’s mission to be voice for the Army and support for the soldier. Of course we can’t do this alone. We rely on our members to help to tell the story and to support our solider and their families. A strong membership base is vitally important for our advocacy efforts not only in Congress, the Pentagon, but also the defense industrial base as well the public in communities across the country, through AUSA’s 121 local chapters. For those of you, Army professionals who are not yet members of your professional association, we encourage you to join with a special introductory offer. You will find the invitation on your chair, it looks something like this. And we have two ways to sign up. You can bring it to the AUSA membership booth, which is booth 307 in Exhibit Hall A. Or you can sign up online at If you’re already a member of AUSA, we thank you for staying with us, we need you. And please give your invitation to a fellow professional. You’ll be doing a service to the association as well as the United States Army. Well, you’ve heard me bang on enough, so now I’d like to turn the floor over to General Robert B. Abrams, Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command. General Abrams, sir.
– Thank you very much. Can you guys hear me all right? Because I can’t hear any side tone right now. There we go. Well, good afternoon. (audience greeting) All my guys are really worried. About eight minutes ago, this room was maybe 1/3 full and they were getting pretty nervous that people weren’t going to show and I know the deal. You’re here out of idle curiosity. What is Abrams going to say today? We got a great panel sitting in front of you. So let me introduce the panel members. On my left, this is Dr. Elise Van Winkle. She is performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and has been serving in that capacity since January. And I asked Dr. Van Winkle to sit this panel because OSD’s view and their voice with regards to readiness, as and you heard the Secretary of Defense speak today, is critical to our discussion about readiness. On my right is, on the far right there is Major General Joe Martin, Commanding General 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley. Many of you know General Martin, he just recently returned where he was the Combined Joint Force Land Component Commander for CGJTF-OIR in Baghdad and running operations in Iraq and Syria in support of the Iraqi security forces. So we’re glad to have him back and we’re glad to have him on the panel. On my immediate right is Major General Joe Jarrard. He the Adjutant General for the State of Georgia. Over 32 years of service, he’s a distinguished artilleryman and he’s a great Army senior leader. And he’s going to provide us some perspective today on readiness for the total force and in particular, Georgia Army National Guard soldiers. And then on the far left, Colonel Chris Norrie, currently the brand new Commander of Operations Group at the National Training Center, but recently, commanded 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and deployed that as a first heel-to-toe rotational Armored Brigade Combat Team to Eastern Europe. So I’ve asked Colonel Norrie to talk to us a little bit today, share some insights, not only from his current capacity as the COG, but really to highlight his experience and observations from when he was the Brigade Commander of 3rd Brigade, 4th ID. Go ahead and bring up the first chart. I got three and they’re mostly photos. So bear with me. So you’ve all heard our chief talk about readiness as our number one priority. You’ve heard the acting SECARMY say it’s the number one priority. We heard the Secretary of Defense today talk about the importance of readiness and really about warfighting readiness, should the Army be called. But our challenge, and look, I’ve looked around the room and I know many people in this room. One of our fundamental challenges is, is we don’t have a very good narrative. I don’t know, how many members of the media are here? So a couple and my PAO must have paid you to be here. Or you’re also curious. But we don’t have a very good narrative about readiness. There’s no real champion of readiness. There’s no spokesperson or lobbying group up on The Hill to advocate for readiness. Because it’s difficult to describe. Those of us in uniform, we intuitively know what it is, but we have not been very clear with our message. Hopefully this afternoon will lend some clarity to that message. But it’s not fancy, it’s not a new thing. It’s not a new tank, it’s not a new fighter jet, it’s not a new doctrinal pub. It is the tough work of professionals, where you have to roll up your sleeves to build that warfighting readiness. That readiness that enables units and soldiers to fight and win on the battlefield. Everybody wants a ready force, but we have a hard time describing it. So let me talk about a couple areas on this particular chart. Under personnel, so last year, and many of you lived this, our number one challenge still is personnel. But we have made huge progress in the last couple years on reducing non-deployables. We’ve got units now that are around seven to 8% non-deployables, but we’ve still got to do better. And there’s a number of ways that we can do that. Recently, this year, we feel the commander’s medical readiness dashboard, it’s available to company commanders and battalion commanders to help them better see the medical status of their soldiers. There’s things we’re doing. We’ve got a pilot ongoing, the Soldier Readiness Test, four brigades in U.S. Army Forces Command piloting a new solider readiness test that will evaluate all five measurable elements of fitness. There’s varying degrees of it. If you want to talk about that, we’ll be happy to talk about that during questions and answer. But fundamental to the Soldier Readiness Test is we have to revamp how we deliver medicine to our combat formations, to our soldiers in formations. We’ve got an Industrial Age medical system and we need one that is more 21st century. That gives soldiers the care that they need at their point of impact. Much like professional athletes are treated at point of injury, that’s how we’ve got to change how we think about delivering treatment to our soldiers. That will get us to a much lower non-deployable rate. Musculoskeletal injuries continue to dominate those soldiers who can’t get on the field and play their position for home and away games. Musculoskeletal injuries and we can and we must do better. I want to talk a second about rotational business rules. When Chris Norrie’s brigade deployed to Eastern Europe, he was assigned at 100% strength. His boots on the ground on day one of his deployment was 78%, boots on the ground. That’s the new norm for many of our formations in accordance with our Army manning guidance. We man our formations at 95% in the aggregate, but we’re going to have 10% not deployable and then we’re still committing to soldiers PCSing, ETSing and retiring with all available services made available to them. And we’ll also make sure that our soldiers get an opportunity to go to school in accordance with our Select, Train, Educate and Promote policies. When you add all that up, with a modest rear detachment, a home detachment to take care of our equipment that we left behind and our families, you’re sitting at about 78% boots on the ground. But to make that work, and that increased over time, by the way to about 84%, but to make that work, that means that every soldier in the formation has to be trained at a very high level. And I’ll talk about that on the next chart. Our biggest challenges next to non-deployables becomes crew stability. We still struggle with that. We’ve got a lot of learning, we’ve made improvement over the last couple years in terms of crew stability. There’s a lot of finger-pointing and when I ask the division commander and former brigade combat team commander to talk about things that they can do inside their formations, that they are doing, to help address crew stability challenges as it relates to readiness. On the equipping side, a number of improvements over the last year. So we’ve got standardized authorized stockage lists for our infantry brigade, Stryker brigade and armored brigades. 12 out of 25 BCTs in CONUS have been converted to date. And we’ve got 12 remaining to do and we’re working with very closely with our partners in Army Material Command to get that done. Inside Forces Command, we might run monthly logistics, readiness reviews and monthly aviation readiness reviews, both of which contributed immeasurably to improving the readiness of our fleets. And I’m happy to report last month, we met minimum DA standards for our aviation fleets for two out of three warfighting platforms for the first time in over three years. Huge improvement. Our ground fleets continue to be challenged. And for our industry partners in here, all I’d ask you to do is take a, if we have any that are here, our number one issue with our ground fleets is parts availability. We struggle to meet the Department of the Army minimum standards in sustaining our fleets at acceptable readiness levels that all of you would feel comfortable with. And the number one challenge is not mission capable time for supply. And I’ve got a couple commanders here who can talk about that. But we have significant, five times with the goal is for customer wait time for parts right now. For our primary warfighting ground systems. We can and we must do better, but we need industry’s help. Some of that’s got to do with funding, and I’ll talk about that here in just a second. Well, let me talk about it now. Personnel, one that’s getting better, but we struggle with, time available when it comes to training, biggest resource challenge. None of it is possible without predictable funding. None of it, it is crushing us at unit level. Continuing resolutions crush us at unit level. We are unable, on a monthly basis, to be able to adequately plan to support our training and requisition the appropriate amount of repair parts to support our fleets at the tempo that we are training. We understand where we’ve got to go, we don’t have predictable and adequate funding to be able to enable it. Next chart, on training, you’ll hear about this from three of the speakers up here today. But fundamentally, over the last couple years, we have transformed and the entire Army now trains in the decisive action training environment. It’s a very robust threat environment that we replicate at home, and particularly at our Combat Training Centers. It’s conventional force, unconventional force, cyber, electronic warfare, host nation security forces, indigenous peoples, integrated with cyber, our cyber forces that support the BCT, U.S. Special Operations Forces or Special Operations Forces every single rotation. We’ve had a 300% increase in company-level live-fires in the last two years conducted at home station. Principally driven by now the standard at our Combat Training Centers, is a BCT live-fire. This past February, we did our first BCT minus live-fire at the Joint Readiness Training Center. We’ve done three since then with Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. It is completely transformed how an Infantry Brigade Combat Team approaches their JRTC rotation. And it has taken home station training to a much higher level. We’re executing our, as a big change for us this past year, instead of flying the flying hours strategy, we’re flying the aviation training strategy. And lo and behold, what we’re finding out is, is we actually need more hours than we’re allocated. That’s okay and the result of us flying our flying hours strategy is we’re doing things at platoon and company level live-fire for our aviation forces that we haven’t done since the beginning of the war. So huge improvement in home station training for our aviation forces. Again, the biggest challenge for us is time available. Remember that the Department of Defense minimum standard for deployed well is 1:2. Ladies and gentleman, we have not been at 1:2 since 2004 in the United States Army. On average, across the force, we’re at 1:1.13. So time available for our formations, to get the reps and sets that we need to reach the level of mission essential task proficiency that we need to fight and win on the next battlefields, that’s our biggest challenge. Go the next chart. This is a story of two different armies. This year, we are fundamentally shifting our mindset. And I talk about this with leaders at every formation. Army Force Generation was about getting ready, getting units ready for a specific mission, for a specific location, at a specific time. Tied to their latest arrival date in theatre, the LAD. That is not the readiness that we need today. We need to have a fundamental mind shift change in the United States Army to about being ready now. So the picture on the left, for those of you more mature in the audience, you may recognize that. That’s a tank platoon. 1984, in Germany on the Autobahn. On an alert. In the cold war days, if you were a force stationed in Germany or in Europe, your unit was required to be on recall within two hours notice. When I was a lieutenant, the phone would ring at the squadron headquarters, we had two hours to be assembled, 100% assembled. And movement down to the motor pool. Within three hours, our tanks were uploaded with main gun ammunition, we had to draw all of our small arms. Draw our MBC equipment, load all our bags on our vehicles. We had to unload the ammunition Conex that sat on our platoon line. Only the platoon sergeant and I had the key to that small arms ammunition. Not some ASP somewhere, it was in the motor pool. We loaded that ammunition on the vehicles and we were ready to roll in three hours. In four hours, the unit had to be capable of road marching out to its tactical assembly area. The scouts in our squadron had to roll out the gate two an ASP to upload the scout vehicles. We had about five minutes for each platoon to upload their scout tracks and off they went. An 18-kilometer road march. We had to be assembled on there, within 4 1/2 hours and prepared to move to our general defense planning positions on the East-West German border. That was about being ready now. And we never knew when the call would come. Sometimes it was two o’clock in the morning on a Friday morning, think about that. What happens at every bar and restaurant around an Army post on Thursdays? But it happened. And we’d call an alert on Friday morning at 02:00. Often times, if we had had a blood alcohol test going on, we would have been in big trouble. But everybody had a sense of urgency. And everybody knew what was at stake. It was that mindset, we had to be ready all the time. We don’t have that right now in our Army. But that’s the direction we’re headed. The photo on the right, that’s Delta Troop 4-10 Cav in Poland, on a no-notice gunnery as part of their mission in Eastern Europe. So that unit got alerted and got sent out to a no-notice gunnery. They’re forward deployed, so you would expect that of them. But that same mindset about never knowing when we’re going to be called, that is about being ready now. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the direction that we’re taking the Army in FY ’18. I’m going to stop there. I’m going to yield my time now to the other speakers. And we look forward to your questions. Dr. Van Winkle.
– Thank you. Is my microphone on? Okay, great, everyone can hear me. I can’t project quite as well as you can. So I wanted to start off just by talking a little bit about the structure within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and where I fall, because I think that’s important in terms of the perspective that I’ll be bringing to this panel today. Under the Secretary of Defense is the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, informally we call that P&R. The mission of P&R is to enhance to readiness of the all-volunteer force, which is a very broad mission. Underneath it is a very diverse portfolio of programs and policies that are aiming to ensure that the total force is staffed, equipped, trained and prepared to deploy worldwide. And to conduct their operations as required. And that includes three Assistant Secretaries of Defense. There’s Health Affairs, Manpower and Reserve Affairs and Readiness, so I’m currently performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness. Our mission is also a bit diverse, although overall, we ensure that the department has the resources required to meet the requirements of the national defense strategy. And that includes considerations around what mix of forces we need, from a total force perspective, as well as the capability and the capacity that’s required. Within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, I have a number of Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense. And that includes Force Readiness, which is really what we’ll be focusing on today, but it also includes Force Education and Force Training, as well as Force Resiliency. And that portfolio is looking at, if you will, individual readiness. Those are the programs and policies around sexual assault, sexual harassment, suicide prevention, drug demand reduction. So again, it’s a very diverse portfolio. What we’re focusing today, is really what falls to the Force Readiness piece of that. What we’ve done in the last eight months to a year is to be very, very focused, as mentioned, the Secretary’s focus is on readiness, all of the chiefs are very focused on readiness. We bring something specific to the table when we talk about this because we are not the only ones in this space. Obviously, each of the services have their own readiness recovery plans, they’re each looking at readiness. The Joint Staff takes a look at what the services are doing as well as what the combatant commanders need. What we do within the ASD for Readiness is to assess and track and monitor, from the full department-wide, from the total force perspective, all of those readiness recovery plans. We also try to forecast the readiness requirements that we may need in order to provide guidance up to the Secretary on resourcing, on understanding the implications of one service’s readiness issues on the total force writ large. In order for us to do this, we collaborate and we coordinate very closely with the Joint Staff and all of the services. One of the things we’ve done in the last eight months is to develop a readiness recovery framework that allows us to take a look at readiness recovery target metrics, that’s our overall metric for each service of where they need to be to be whole. And then we broke that down into various sub-metrics in order to understand what the steps required to get to that target metric. And to General Abrams’s point, readiness has been a difficult construct to define. It continues to be, but this is one way, from the OSD level, that we’re working to identify where are resources most required. Where are they most needed across that total force? So that’s the analytic capability that we bring to the table in order to support the Joint Chiefs as well as the individual services. And how we provide guidance up to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Secretary. Those partnerships are extremely important. And we are working very closely. We are not there to necessary correct any of the services, we are there to accurately reflect the readiness issues of the total force. Both within the department and outside of the department. So that’s the perspective that I’ll be bringing to the panel from the OSD side today. – General Martin. – [Robert] Good afternoon, everybody. My name’s Joe Martin, I’m Big Red One Soldier serving in the 1st ID. General Abrams asked me to talk about a couple of things. And they might seem a little bit off topic, but they’re not, they’re actually interrelated and they nest nicely with the things we’ve talked about already. But as many of you probably know, I deployed with the division headquarters on a very short notice last fall and joined the multinational headquarters, the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq. As a division, our division was about 1/3 of the entire headquarters, the rest was multinational and Joint. And the way that our division prepared for this operation was they executed a decisive action rotation in a virtual and constructive training environment. They did do an MRE en route to that, but I will tell you that the decisive action training was probably at the center of their ability to build the competencies that they needed to, in order to be able execute operations in a partnered force environment in Iraq. And this is JFLCC. It was very successful. And I think what’s also noteworthy is it’s not necessarily the commander that makes the formation, the formation was trained. They were competent in their skills to assume the duties over there. And as I joined them, it was rather seamless because they were so good at what they did. And that’s once again, a function of the training that they did beforehand. While I was deployed, Fort Riley is unique. If you’ve never served there, we’ve got two BCTs and typically one is gone or on its way out or on its way back and one is there preparing to go somewhere else. So the red-amber-green cycle that you speak about typically at a location where you’ve got three brigade headquarters that you can rotate taskings to, other support activities to, is unique to Fort Riley. You can’t do that. And so while I was gone, we had the first brigade that had just deployed to Korea, so they were serving over in Korea. The second brigade has just come back from Spartan Shield and they had about a year and two months to prepare for deployment to Europe, where they serve right now. So while I was gone, all that was happening. Fortunately, the Army gave us an additional general officer and that senior commander, back there, while I was from a distance, monitoring activity, was essentially making happen the production of building readiness within the second brigade as they prepared to deploy. I also had the opportunity to receive a couple brigades as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Strike Brigade out of the 101st and then the second brigade, the Falcon Brigade out of the 82nd. And what I can tell you is I go back to my first point, when I talked about the division headquarters. Both of those brigades executed decisive action rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in their preparation for a very unique mission, in a partnered force operation over in Iraq. And I could tell you that they were competent in their skills from individual soldier all the way up to brigade, they were adaptive organizations and they were able to adapt to that environment as it literally changed almost every day, depending on who you talked to about that. We talk about building readiness. Here’s what I will tell you in terms of the narrative and trying to deliver a message so that it can be understood universally, this is something that I tell folks and this is the challenge that our brigades have each and every day. I use an Armored Brigade Combat Team as an example, but it could be any brigade combat team because it’s going to just, the numbers are going to be different, but here’s what your average brigade commander, on a 1:1.3 requirements to preparation for requirements cycle has to operate in. There’s about 4,000 people in a brigade, okay. Each one of those have medical readiness, they’ve got physical readiness, they’ve got a certain level of resiliency. They’re each individual people that have to be brought up so that they can prepare to and then execute that requirement that they’ll be asked to do. There’s about 2,000 pieces of rolling stock in an ABCT. Every one of those pieces of equipment has its own individuality as well. You have to understand how to operate it, your people have to understand and be certified how to operate it. They’ve got to understand how to sustain its maintenance. They’ve got to understand the constraints of maintaining those pieces of equipment. And they’ve got to do that. That’s just 4,000 people, 2,000 pieces of equipment. Individual, all require their own level of care, depending on the state of that particular individual that I talked about. Well, that brigade, for it to be able to express its full capability and meet the requirements of the combatant commanders, has to, there’s 5,000 individual tests that must be executed competently across that formation. Across all the MOSs and career fields. And then there’s 700 collective tests that must be exercised competently from squad, all the way up to brigade level. In that environment, the commander has to build that readiness from the bottom up, starting with the individual people and then working their way up through collective proficiency production as they go their training cycle. As General Abrams alluded to previously, with sustainable readiness, there’s pros and cons and one of the drawbacks is every month, you’re going to have about 3% of your people turn over. Which really turns in to, in my opinion, to be about 6% of your people turning over. So what that requires you to do is you can’t wring your hands over it. You’ve got to look at it proactively. You’ve got to say, “I anticipate these changes.” I hold authorities at the right level, so that we make decisions on crews. We make decisions on schools. We make decisions on anticipated losses and gains. And we build training, we build maintenance, we build other activities around that. The last thing I’ll say regarding that is to build in that level of proactive thought, you’ve got to go back to some of the basics that we all know about. And that’s exercising disciplined unit training management across the board. That process, that’s in our doctrine, in 7-0 right now, if executed in a disciplined manner, will deliver a proactive look, so we can look at training horizons, we can look at resources that are available, human, equipment and training resources that are available. And that will optimize the readiness that we’ve got in our formations, thank you. – Joe.
– Sir, thank you. So I’m going to speak today about the 48th Brigade, associated with the 3ID. And go along with that, as many of you know, Task Force 1-28, the task force that was left out of 3rd Brigade of 3ID at Fort Benning, is associated with 48th Brigade also. So I’m going to talk about some of the tangible benefits. We’re about a little over a year into this relationship. And I’ll talk about some of the things we’ve benefited from so far. So the first thing is just the experiential development of the leaders of the 48th. And I would also say the 3rd Infantry Division. From brigade commander all the way down to platoon level, being around another set of leaders and another, a different organization than just the Georgia National Guard has benefited. And a lot of those are going to be immeasurable and hard to measure with respect to how much they’ve progressed, but that alone is going to make a difference with respect to post-mobilization training. Along with that and specific to that is the leader exchange program. We have taken some company commanders from 128 and made them company commanders in Georgia, in the 48th and also one of our captains has gone to 128 and taken command down there, along with some NCOs that are part of that program as well. Integrating into our higher mission command, headquarters has been beneficial. One of the things that 3ID has not had to deal with, is one of their subordinate units, where only 4.4% of the assigned strength come to work Monday through Friday. That’s unique, so you’ve got to figure out how to incorporate that into their daily operations and how to ensure that the information is continued to be passed back and forth, that their subordinate units have. But it’s also incumbent upon us to try to figure that out as well. And we have done that through, there are opportunities for us to go down and take part in different meetings, et cetera, at Fort Stewart. It kind of works in Georgia mainly because geography, and we’re close enough to 3ID’s headquarters to be able to get there. But that’s one of those benefits. Also, prior to this association, the 48th already had a relationship with most of the units that they worked with at 3ID, our Artillery Battalion with Dev Arty, et cetera. But this has formalized that, and it’s just strengthened those relationships. And that was really experienced this past summer when we executed XCTC at Fort Stewart. And 2nd Brigade basically ran that exercise, provided all of the OCTs for the 48th and really, they and Colonel Dugan, I think he’s here in the room today. So he could speak to this, but I think he benefited and his formation benefited from being able to provide those OCs, just as much as the 48th did with receiving an outside look through that exercise. Because the last time we did XCTC in ’13, we had to provide all of our OCTs. The access to resources and ranges at Fort Stewart has been infinitely easier this time around. Last time we executed XCTC in ’13, then we pretty much arm wrestled over every range that we got. Jim Rainey planned this one and General Lee Quintas followed through and 48th was the primary training audience for that period of time this past summer. And we got every piece of dirt that we asked for and it was very seamless, with respect to everything that we did. I will talk, opportunity training events. From everything to unit movement officer courses to master gunner, senior gunner, et cetera, we are not as flexible to react to some of those things that pop up, but we are given opportunity to do that. And we have taken advantage of that opportunity. Between the brigades’ op section, working with 3ID, we have been able to, on short notice, send some of ouR soldiers and NCOs down to some of those courses to take advantage and build some of that readiness that is key. I will tell you that the most envied battalion commander in the division is Task Force 1-28, who has their own air wing called the Georgia Army National Guard’s Aviation. And they get to do air assault training about any time they want to, whereas that’s not as easy down at Fort Stewart. So another benefit that is reciprocal with respect to this relationship. One of the things that’s unique to the Guard is some of the things that we do outside of the normal box, if you will. Grady Hospital, there in Atlanta, has partnered with us in making our 68 Whiskey, our medics, better trained. And they need more employees, so they’ve reached out to us. A normal 68 Whiskey graduation from basic and AIT at a level one certification, they have provided instructors at their training facility to get our medics better trained and up to a level two certification. So we opened up that to Task Force 1-28 this last rotation, brought five of the medics up. And so, increased their capability as well. So just another opportunity to be for a reciprocal relationship. So I’ll stop there and be glad to take some questions a little bit later. – [Robert] Thanks, Joe. Chris Norrie. – Sir, thank you and it’s really a privilege to have the opportunity to participate as part of this panel. As we are singularly focused on building readiness, there are tremendous conversations across our Army about how to most efficiently get there. All of my comments are resonant, really at the brigade level and below. And some of those narratives, I think are myths. And I wanted to share what I think are five myths about readiness. The first myth is that readiness is a straight line. Second, that there’s some secret recipe or some shortcut that’ll make us ready faster. Third, that sustainable readiness is hurting readiness. Fourth, that technology solves all. And then the final myth is that our Army is less ready now than it has been. The first myth, readiness is a straight line. You hear this sometimes, again, all of this is just intended to generate a conversation or a discussion, but you hear this sometimes, at the brigade level and below, in a fairly nostalgic way, as folks talk about how comfortable Army Force Generation was. A start point and then an end point, an organization in driving to that specific day. The challenge with ARFORGEN is of course, the world is not like Army Force Generation. And you could work for nine months straight and build one day of readiness as overnight, an adversary as a micro example, might evolve in a way that makes us untrained. At that point, when we thought we were most trained, we’re actually most vulnerable. The second way that you hear this myth manifest itself is when it comes to funding. In other words, we’re going to buy a set of readiness, one time and then we’re going to buy readiness again. And then buy it again, but as you all know, readiness is more than a one-time fund. It is a long-term investment. And then the final way that this manifests itself is really the way that we organize our calendars with a start date and then an end date. That, in itself, is a straight line. And we tend to view, or consider readiness, then as a straight line. The challenge with this myth is that we are training humans to operate in complexity. For example, you can’t have a soldier wear a set of night vision devices one time, walk one night and he’s got it. One soldier might get it in one night. Another soldier might require 50 repetitions. And this goes to the challenge, ma’am, that you we’re talking about, articulating that. We’re training humans to operate in complexity. And humans, I think, learn on a curve. And at some point, that investment starts to pay you back. So instead of readiness being a straight line, I think readiness is a curve. I think that there’s an acceleration to that. Your first gunnery, as an example, it might be hard. Folks not in the right places, after action reviews not done correctly. A million micro frustrations there. But repetition number two and three, investing in getting the fundamentals correctly, at some point, the organization starts to pay you back. Certainly you see this at the brigade and below level, manifesting itself with units that have conducted their second or their third decisive action CTC rotation. There’s an acceleration of readiness associated with that. I know it’s true at the brigade level, I would have to imagine that it’s also true across the Army. The second myth, there’s a secret recipe. We’re all looking for that, some way to make ourselves ready faster, some shorter path. But readiness is hard work and shortcuts do not work. This is just hard, doing planning correctly, bore sighting correctly, noncommissioned officers preventing and ensuring we have fewer non-battle injuries by checking feet, making sure that folks are eating and that they’re sleeping. That we’re rehearsing correctly. We’ve checked radios, weapons, that everyone is ready to go. Very simple orders, substantive rehearsals, bore sighting and zeroing to standard, maintenance done correctly, graphics checks, inspections, communications, load plans, casualty care, maintenance in the field, day and night and all weather, rain, ice, sunshine. A reduction of non-battle injuries, truly there is no shiny object when it comes to building readiness. Blocking and tackling correctly, fully committing ourselves to getting the basics right. And then mastering the fundamentals. And then that investment again, I think we’re starting to see, or we continue to see a return on that investment. The third myth, sustainable readiness is hurting readiness. Sometimes at the brigade level, you hear that in the form of, “Gosh, I would be ready, but we just lost “seven staff sergeants in the last 30 days.” Or, “We would be more ready but we just lost “three majors in the last, over the summer.” And I think that sustainable readiness is a lot like a PT run. You go forward some, you circle back, you pick folks up, you move forward some more, you circle back, forward some more and then you circle back. The challenge is sometimes at the brigade level, we’re focusing too much on the circle back and we’re losing sight of the fact that the entire organization is moving forward. As we receive soldiers from other duty stations to replace those that we lost in those circle backs, as an example, staff sergeants that have had two assignments that have been recruiters and drill sergeants, they make our formations better. And I think that sustainable readiness is actually accelerating readiness across our Army. The fourth myth about readiness is that technology solves all. Certainly technology solves some, but it’s important that we don’t wait for technology to solve problems that we can solve. So most often, you hear, “Boy, I would jump “my brigade level command post faster, “if I just got this operational need statement approved,” or, “I got this piece of equipment “that will allow me to do it faster.” There is tremendous innovation occurring within our brigade combat teams in response to this decisive action focus. And then multiple units going through Combat Training Centers using a medium tent next to a satellite with an expandovan or simply ramps down. That is a way to solve the command post issue as well. Decoys, if you consider what the environment might look like, an Armored Brigade Combat Team has 922 Army battle command systems, boxes, et cetera. Every one of those in an emitter, all of those emitters can be sensed and on this battlefield, if you’re sensed, then you can die. Acknowledging that it’s hard to hide a formation that big, we have some units trying to create micro dilemmas on the battlefield, building decoys, simply out of sheet metal. There was a sergeant in our Military Intelligence Company, who simply projected a tank against the wall, cut out a piece of sheet metal, hooked it up to a battery, put a hinge down the middle, it cost $13 to build. It weighed less than five pounds, it took about 30 seconds to set up and very, very effective. Again, not going to fool an adversary for the long haul, but as they start to make contact there, if you consider information on this battlefield like high-speed trading on Wall Street, we all have access to the same data, we just want to get it a second faster. Creating a dilemma for a gunner there, that gives our gunners and our formations an advantage is really important. We do have soldiers in a communications degraded environment, practicing using hand and arm signals and flags like we used to do. So when the sense that they’ve been jammed, turning the radios off and continuing to operate there as well. Again, technology may solve some, but another approach to operating in a complex world is not necessarily to make ourselves more complex, but to simplify. And then, finally, the final myth, our Army is less ready now than it has been. Yes, we are learning lessons at our Combat Training Centers, but those are the same lessons that we did learn in the ’80s and ’90s. This is the most combat hardened and ethical force on the planet and I would caution any adversary against underestimating the capability of our formation and its resolve to express the will of the American people on anyone who dares harm our national interests or way of life. – [Robert] And with that, somebody please ask the first question. – Thank you, sir and good afternoon. I’m Colonel Kirk Dorr, I’ll help facilitate the dialogue with this Q&A. A few simple requests before we begin. Please focus your questions so the panel respondents can hit your target. Please keep the gist of your question focused on the topic or tied to the topic of readiness. If you want to address your question to a specific panel member, please state that up front. Tell us your name, what organization you’re associated with. Please employ your finest broadcast voice, as this panel is being streamed live on DVIDS U.S. Army live streaming page and we want a broader audience to benefit from your insights this afternoon. We’re going to employ the four microphones in the center aisles today. Please move to them and queue up if you would. I’ll recognize the next questioner in the batting order. With that, let’s start the conversation about being ready now. Sir. – Major J. T. Thompson, I almost said it. I’m Deputy Commanding General Maneuver, III Corps. Adam Warrior Nine, Chris Norrie, I’m going to come over to you on something. I appreciate your myths up there. And some of those are conversations we do need to have. Sustainable readiness, I think sometimes is construed as a bad four-letter word. And it goes back to what General Abrams was saying, it takes a culture shift. Sustainable readiness, some people think means my people aren’t going to be locked down, I gotta deal with crew stability that can’t get from here to there. So I appreciate your comments on that. My question’s a little bit different, though. If we rewound to one year ago, today, I think you had finished a CTC rotation. You were taking your equipment with you to Europe. The first unit to take equipment over there. You were dealing with sustainable readiness. What would you have done differently? Not just for that mission, but for the ready now mission? And part of this is focused on strategic deployment, too, which we have to train to and be ready for. – So I think the many, many lessons learned. I think the largest one for me personally was having this ready now mindset every day. So when we deployed over to Europe, we had a command post that was established. We had a battle rhythm that supported an ASCC, soldiers in the field, training from individual all the way through company, battalion, and then brigade collective as we worked our way through the rotation. We absolutely could have, at home station, established a command post with a battle rhythm in place to allow us not a perfect repetition, but at least a micro repetition in some of those tasks. Sir, the other thing was RSOI, that is a significant task that I wish I had trained more at home station. We get a tremendous opportunity to practice that at our training centers, but in terms of delivering a capability to a combatant commander, articulating that I’m ready to fight or we’re not yet ready to fight, and gaps in terms of risks. All of those things are things that I would have benefited certainly as we integrated. – Question for Dr. Van Winkle. I’m Erik Peterson, Commanding General of Division West, 1st Army, part of FORSCOM’s team. You talked about metrics, with respect to regaining or rebuilding readiness across the services. If we’re focusing on a metric, that implies that we have confidence in the input mechanisms in the systems of record across our services in the department that feeds those metrics. In working with General Abrams recently, from another capacity, we focused on aviation readiness. And we discovered that we had some substantial challenges in that one line of effort in our measures of readiness across our own department. Are there efforts to adjust and improve across the department, the input mechanisms and the systems of record that feed readiness? Both for the department and for Congress? – Thank you, I understand your question and there’s some nuances there. To your point, when we talk about metrics for readiness, there’s a number of metrics that we use. Some are more flexible than others. We obviously have DERS, we do rely on C1, C2 ratings in some respect. And those are necessary, the C ratings, P ratings, T ratings, are necessary metrics, albeit imperfect. And it allows us, the DERS ratings allow us to have some standardized construct to use across the department. In order to talk a bit outside of the department, with some sort of simplicity and standardization. That very much, the integrity of that, is based on the integrity of the data coming in. So that’s always a conversation we’re having with the services, so we can make sure that when we talk about those metrics, outside of the department, or even within the department, that we’re also caveating them as required. So we talk about C1, C2, well, there’s a big difference between those two and often they’re pushed together. We talk about C4, but you may be A1, and what does that mean? In addition, one of the things we’ve done, as we start to move towards more stringent and rigorous metrics, that are a bit more flexible to your point, we still use our readiness recovery metric as being C1, C2, in the most general sense. But we break those down, so that we can understand what’s driving that rating? So if a force element or if a unit is C4, what’s driving that? Is it the P ratings, is it the T ratings? That would require a different response. So one of the things we’ve tried to do is to create these metrics and associated sub-metrics to pull apart where those drivers are. And that’s very much a living framework, where we work with all the services. We work with the Joint Staff, to try to understand what is the driver, to try to understand the nuances within there and to continually modify it, so that when we are reflecting out what our readiness challenges are, we have the most up to date and verifiable information on that. – [Kirk] Sir. – Thank you, my name is Brigadier General James Carl Smith, I’m the British military attache here in D.C. Can I ask a little bit about sustainable readiness, and about how ensuring that, when you come back from a deployment, you don’t hit a cliff edge? Where with one of the charts we saw up there, you go on the deployment at a high level of readiness and then there is this assumption, some of the time, that you start the next cycle at the bottom left of the graph? So I know it was touched on briefly, but I wonder if we could expand about how you use a deployment to enhance your readiness such that you sustain it without hitting a cliff edge? Something our own Army is facing as well, thank you. – Hey, Courtney, bring up chart 16. So I couldn’t see the other chart, James, but this is my chart. So I like this one, better. (audience laughing) I’m going to give a little intro, and then I’m going to defer to General Martin and Colonel Norrie. The, I guess I got to look at it, and see what color it is. Army Force Generation, that red line. That’s the cliff you’re talking about. We would build that readiness for a specific mission, a specific point in time. And then at the top of that red curve, we would deploy the unit at our highest level of readiness. And then we gave no requirement to the combatant commander that we delivered the unit to, to sustain any level of readiness. It was all about supporting the mission. And then over the time of the deployment, soldiers get hurt, wounded, killed, evacuated, you’d have other issues associated with it. We’d have a replacement mechanism, but frankly, it was all about the mission, as it should be. And then at the end of the deployment, we would take, 1/3 of the equipment would stay in theatre, for the issue of the next unit. 1/3 of the equipment would go to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait to be refreshed and then 1/3 of the equipment would come back to the United States for refreshment. Reset, we call it. And then, because of our manning, the way we manned units, we overstrengthed them, but we didn’t have enough for everybody, so we would overstrength to 120, 125% strength units, which meant other units we’re going to be at 60% strength. So when you got back, we’d take units down to about 70%, 65% on personnel, and rip out about half of their leaders. So you see that red line that would dip into that green oval set called reset. That’s ARFOGEN, our goal is the blue line. Is to sustain this readiness throughout consistently. So one of the key tasks, and I got an ASCC commander sitting right down here in front, so he knows this, is we’ve told them, hey, when the unit is there, you have a responsibility to help sustain their training readiness while they’re doing their mission for you. So let me yield to General Martin and Colonel Norrie, who deployed brigade combat teams to Korea and to Eastern Europe and let them talk about how were they able to do that so we can avoid this cliff. – The way it’s done is, I talked about it previously, you gotta look proactively. You can’t see my visual aid here, and I don’t have this to present up on the chart, but you can come up afterwards if you want to look at this, but this is the Dagger Brigade’s operating strategy. And if you see a bunch of granular details in here, under their various categories, it’s because there’s a lot of thinking that’s got to go into how you receive people, when you receive people, when you do collective training. Because as you build your readiness, as your formation changes three to 6% each month, you’ve got to anticipate that. And if you do that, you can be successful. The 1st Brigade, who’s currently preparing to go to a CTC, a future mission unknown right now, but ready now, they’re in the process of transitioning from an ARFORGEN unit to a sustainable readiness unit. So he’s losing a lot of people right now, but he’s starting to gain folks back. And then the three to 6% factor’s also coming into play. So we are deferring training that we would rather prefer to do right now with this brigade, we’re waiting until a couple months down the road because it wouldn’t make sense for him to train collectively because it would be lost as he lost more people and gained more people in. So you’ve got to look at things very strategically at the brigade level, over time, in order to be able to account for the smaller changes, but still change nevertheless, in your formation. – Chris, could you talk a little bit about how you were able to avoid, well 3rd Brigade, 4th ID will be coming back here in the next month or so. Talk to us about the training that you conducted while you were there. – Yes, sir. Sir, just to reinforce what General Martin said, the challenge with sustainable readiness, that myth that sustainable readiness somehow hurts readiness, is that the business rules are known. We know what those business rules are. It’s an attrition rate of 1.5 to 2% by design, every month and then a replacement at or slightly below that. So if you have a staff sergeant, as an example, in a brigade combat team that’s been on station for two years, you can expect that you’re going to probably lose that staff sergeant to go to drill sergeant or to recruiter. And you can qualify an alternate crew. Or do an alternate squad, as one example. It just goes to what General Martin was talking about, anticipating, and as an example, the last gunnery that 3rd Brigade 4th ID did, in Europe, would qualify 288 crews, that included 74 crews. Those were alternate crews in anticipation of possible losses, et cetera. Second, investing in simulation to allow you to build that bench, so even if you don’t think you’re going to lose someone, having alternate gunners and alternate vehicle commanders in simulation, we had done 2,836 hours in simulation in our first six months there in Europe. And of the 270 days we were programmed to be deployed there, 208, on average of those days, were all in the field, on the back of a Bradley or a tank. Out in the field, practicing our field craft, et cetera. 10 of our 13 companies had completed a CALFEX, all of our platoons finished platoon live-fire training within our first six months of being there. And then all of our Paladins had completed Table 15, and we were working our way through Table 18, for the second time. While deployed or regionally allocated in support of U.S. Army Europe, we fired live ammunition every day, to include on the 10th of January, when our first crews arrived in Poland. That was almost a million rounds in six months. About 820,000 total rounds, 26,000 large caliber munitions. Are UAS platoon had flown just under 300 hours. And really, all of that I only highlight, is every piece of that training is leader development. It’s an opportunity to educate not just those leaders currently in position, but to also inform and train those soldiers that will next be in position as well. So I also just want to quickly highlight services. Just a tremendous opportunity, back to this investment, not only in our formations and our soldiers, but in our equipment. We had completed just over 11,000 vehicle, weapon and optic services. And the brigade was on glide path to finish all of the required services before redeploying, saving almost $25 million on 260 jobs and desets. Just a lot of investing in our formation as well. And then finally, a lot of times we think about training from a physical standpoint. Do we physically have the ground? Do we physically have the space, et cetera? There is a temporal aspect to training. Certainly at the brigade level. I didn’t do a great job explaining it earlier, sir, but establishing a battle rhythm, processes, inputs and outputs, again, getting those repetitions. Both physically and temporally, that allow us to sustain that readiness over time. So anticipating and investing, sir, I think that is the way to sustain that readiness over time. – Okay, Joe, did you have something you wanted to add? – I just wanted to add, a benefit to the Guard is the 48th has transitioned about 75% of the company commanders in the past eight, nine months. But less than half of those have left the 48th. So we’ve built a lot of experience there, that doesn’t necessarily leave just because we move and rotate company commanders. So that’s a benefit that we have within the Guard. – Sir, the only other thing I’d add, in light of everything that’s been spoken to, is the one thing we’re trying to avoid is chasing our tail on maintaining readiness. In other words, reacting to things. I keep talking about proactive activities. The thought of doing four gunneries a year so that you can maintain your live-fire proficiency levels for all your crews, it sounds like a great idea, but what aren’t you doing when you’re doing that? And if you’re not doing it as an entire unit, is it truly developmental and is done to standard? And so on and so forth. Once again, you gotta see left of the boom and that’s the key to success if there is one thing to be mindful of, it’s a major thing. – Okay.
– Thank you, sir. What’s your question, sir? – Lieutenant Colonel Ed Gadidez, my question is real simple, actually. We haven’t talked about low-density organizations, skillsets and individuals. We’ve excised them, generally from the active force structure, moved it into total Army Force structure. We’ve removed several of the skillsets and leaders from division level, pushed a few down to brigade level. Pushed others to corps level. How do you manage sustainable training for low-density organizations and individuals? – I’ll take a shot.
– I’m going to let General Martin go first and them I’m going to see if Joe Jarrard’s got anything he wants to add. Go ahead, Joe. – So I’ll tell you, a sustainment brigade, I think is a microcosm of what you’re talking about, with its diverse organizations. You’ve got modular formations that are down to section level in some cases, that have to deploy. So what goes into that organization is much more complicated, it’s like a kaleidoscope of activities. So you’ve got to understand, you’ve got to understand what’s required of those organization, what their core competencies are. Who is responsible to ensure they’re prepared in their core competencies? And then you’ve got to be able to understand when you need to reach outside of your installation, because you don’t have those skills available to oversee that training, so that we can certify them to deploy. That’s postal detachments, financial units, CSSB headquarters, things like that. But I’ve learned a lot since I’ve come back about the sustainment brigade and the complexities that go into that. But it’s the same blocking and tackling. It’s just you’re not dealing with a BCT, you’re dealing with a bunch of competencies that you’ve got to be mindful of their level of readiness. And they’ve got be ready to go when they’re asked to go. – I was just going to add that I visited one of our support battalion companies, I think back in February. And I got there on Sunday afternoon and there were two captains and a E7 from the sustainment brigade at Fort Stewart that we leaving, that had been there all weekend helping that support company get ready for their next drill period, where they were going to do gunnery. That’s a great relationship that we have with the sustainment brigade and everybody at 3ID. – I’d just add one other point to this. And that is the inclusion of our combat service support as part of our Combat Training Center rotations. So the CSSB that now goes for every rotation, both JRTC and NTC, it’s a multi-component solution. It’s representative of all elements of a CSSB and what that’s driving now, because now they’re all, unlike in years past, the CSSB at both training centers is now competitive. They’re both in the box, they both have to deal with the operating environment, they have to deal with the threat, they have to be integrated inside the brigade combat team. And what that’s doing now is driving much, much better home station training to ensure that they’ve got those, their warrior tasks, battle drills and their ability to operate in the environment at a much higher level. Thanks for the question. – [Kirk] Ladies and gentleman, another question please? – Uh oh.
– Geez. – [Robert] Colonel Sanders is moving to the microphone. Go ahead, Jessica. Don’t put up with Colonel Sanders. – Sir, my name’s Major Jessica Grassetti. I’m the Army Fellow here at AUSA. My question is for Dr. Van Winkle. Earlier today, Secretary Mattis responded, when asked what the American people can do to influence Congress to pass a budget and to stop with sequestration the use of continuing resolutions. He said that we need to speak in compelling and persuasive terms. I was wondering if you could please expand on what that means from your perspective at your level, please, thank you. – Yeah, it’s a very good question. We’re all obviously very concerned currently about budget and you’ll hear everybody at this panel say it, certainly on the OSD side, that we need the sustained funding. The Secretary has been very forward leaning in this space. And he speaks so eloquently, I can just quote him on this, where he has said that no enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration. That is his opinion, certainly one that we all share. The continuing resolution impacts us in a number of ways. And I’ll speak to that first and then talk a bit about how we can best provide the compelling argument around it. There is an evolutionary effect of a CR. Not all CRs are created equal. And over time, they have an exponential impact on us. The longer CRs last, the deeper the cut. And we have more and more of a challenge in terms of execution of funds. This becomes important as our baseline gets reset year after year. It’s not uncommon for services to have money left on the table simply because they weren’t able to execute it. It resets our baseline, this becomes problematic. In addition, our Secretary has been very clear in this focus on capabilities. Capabilities, even above and beyond capacity. Capabilities require new starts. They require modernization. They require additional contracts, they require that, the sustained funding that is necessary for us to able to do what we need to do. So that’s an additional consideration when we start to talk about CRs. We are all very concerned about the budget, across the services and certainly at the Secretary’s level. Within my shop, one of the things that falls to us is our ability to accurately reflect the readiness challenges that the total force has. And how the CR and how unstable and inflexible budgets impact us. Part of that goes back to the metrics. Being able to understand that when we talk about readiness recovery, and often we have dates that far into the FYDP, that there are specific resources required right now, in order to ensure that we can meet those readiness recovery plans. All the services have their readiness recovery plans. Certainly, Army has their own, as do all the other services. They’re working towards it, they’re making progress. But every time that we enter back into a CR, it makes that a little bit more challenging for us to get there. So one of the things that we provide to the Under Secretary and up to the Secretary are those metrics to show, if you don’t fund at this specific level, here is the exponential impact you will have on readiness recovery. It also involves some of that analytic rigor in order to be able to understand what are the priorities? The services have their own priorities, but we have to look at the total force as well. And we work closely with Joint Staff on that. The services are very inter-correlated in their readiness issues. That what affects Army affects the Marines. And what affects the Marines affects the Navy and vice versa. So we understand that a readiness concern within one service has that impact on another service. And that’s part of that OSD perspective that’s provided. And how we need to be able to speak more in this space. – [Kirk] Colonel Sanders, sir. – Yes, sir, my question is for General Jarrard. Sir, with the importance of the Guard and Reserve, for overall Army readiness, we see some challenges in the crew, fire team, squad level manning and leadership stability. Do you know of any techniques or processes that could help stabilize those fire teams, squads, platoons, et cetera, or crews, that can help maintain a level of readiness. Because that’s one of the two challenges we face right now, is a transition of folks in a number of instances that hurt the overall team to meet platoon level live-fire, et cetera, readiness. – I can’t really tell you a specific technique, I don’t guess. We’ve got the same, we don’t have a TTHS account in the Guard. If you’ve got a infantry platoon or infantry squad that’s minus a soldier, you’ve got to have a vacancy before you can recruit that individual. What that means is, you have a vacancy and then you can go out and recruit him. So you’ve got to recruit him, send him to basic and AIT, and get him back before you can fill that vacancy. So that’s part of the challenge that we have, is filling that squad and then getting them trained and keeping them for a certain period of time. I can’t really speak to a particular process, I guess, but it all goes back to, in my opinion, the leadership at the company level. That’s one of our biggest challenges is, we don’t have as many touch points with those company commanders and first sergeants as you do on the active side. Those company commanders are alone and unafraid out there all by themselves on drill weekend. And we’ve got to make sure that they understand the importance of their leadership with respect to recruiting, retention and training those individuals and getting those squads and teams up to the standard that they need to be. – [Kirk] Moving to our right, sir, you’re next. – Good afternoon, ma’am, gentleman. Lieutenant Colonel Jason Brown, I’m currently assigned to Office of Chief of Public Affairs at the Pentagon. For the past 42 or 43 days now, I’ve been assigned to the crisis action team at the Pentagon managing the federal response, or the Army’s response, to the hurricanes. My question, specifically for General Jarrard, sir, is as we saw in the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Georgia and now in Puerto Rico, it really put a large requirement on the National Guard. Actually the total Army response. How do you balance your requirement to be ready to fight tonight and deploy, with your responsibilities to your Governor to respond in the event of an emergency like we just saw? – The first thing I’ll tell you is that what we do, with respect to training to be ready to fight tonight or to be able to fight, because we’re not the fight tonight force, but that we do to train, that prepares us to be able to respond when our Governors call. Luckily, Georgia wasn’t impacted as much as some of the other states with respect to the hurricanes, but we task organized, mobilized, sent them out to different locations. They were not at their armories, they were located at YMCA, different locations throughout the state where we thought the impact was going to be the greatest. All of that is just the same thing that we do when we mobilize and deploy to go to the field. All of that training is still doing the same type things and doing those same tasks with respect to preparing. Now it did have a significant impact on the 48th. The 48th was supposed to do a computer exercise down at Fort Stewart that was canceled due to that hurricane. Fort Stewart shut down and evacuated and we couldn’t go there anyway. But we were using that formation to respond to hurricane as well. We’ve got to reschedule that training period and that formation was still utilized during the hurricanes. So it did not go to their primary employer that week, nor did they do the computer exercise we’ve got to reschedule, so those are additional days that that formation is going to miss from its employer. So we’ve got to message that appropriately to all of our employers, to ensure that they understand why those soldiers are missing time away from work. And so that they understand the importance of that training that they’re going to do. Or the response to the state, at the direction of the Governor. – You didn’t direct it at me, but I’m going to answer it anyway. Because I have training and readiness oversight of the Army National Guard and the Reserve. It goes to the point of why, what are the outputs we want from tough, realistic training? You’ve heard a couple of the speakers, General Martin and Colonel Norrie talked about this. Our training at home in our training centers, especially our training centers, we want that to be a crucible leadership experience for leaders. But training is not just about mission essential task proficiency. Every repetition in the field, regardless of the task, is also leader development. It gives leaders competence, it gives leaders confidence. It gives soldiers confidence in themselves, confidence in their unit and confidence in their leaders to accomplish their wartime task. That in itself is what gives our Army National Guard and our U.S. Army Reserve, they are the response tonight force, the first responders in support of these natural disasters. All of their training, if you talked to one who responded, there are applying what they have been taught and what they have developed over time inside their Army National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve unit. Whether that’s on a drill weekend, annual training, you name it, or an operational deployment. All of those skillsets came in. If you look at the Texas response to Hurricane Harvey, we talk about mobilizing the Guard, the state of Texas mobilized. Whether they were currently in the Guard or not. The Adjutant General of the Joint Force Headquarters, well-trained in being able to do those things to pull that together, but the 36th Infantry Division was the backbone of that planning in support of the TAG. And where the 36th, they’re still deployed in Afghanistan. Half of that division to headquarters. But their division commander’s back now. The new division commander, and he and his staff immediately kicked in. All of that leader development that we gave them as part of their operational deployment kicked in and paid off in outstanding results. Same thing in Florida, same thing in Puerto Rico. Same thing that’s happening down in Mississippi today, in response to Nate. It’s about developing leaders who can deal with uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, they’re comfortable with it. They can handle the responsibility. That’s what good tough, realistic training delivers. – Thank you sir.
– But thanks for asking. – [Kirk] We’ve got some time for additional questions, sir. – Brigadier General Cole, I’m the Program Executive Officer for Simulation and Training. My question is for General Martin and Colonel Norrie. In light of your recent deployments, and your extensive CTC experiences, what new training capabilities would you like to see at the CTCs to prepare our units for their challenges that they see today? – Whew, you know, when I left Fort Irwin, California, before I went to the 1st Division and went over to Iraq, I was pretty amazed at the capability we had at the NTC in terms of the live-fire capabilities. The direction we’re going to live-fire. The force-on-force simulation environment. The urban training environments that we had. And I tout it all the time when folks came to visit, we had 575 buildings in the city of Razish, well, you’ve been to Mosul, there’s 200,000 buildings in Mosul. So how do you replicate that? In the complexity of a very, very complicated, near-peer, peer or less than near-peer threat that you’re facing. Our CTCs, in my personal opinion, have everything they need, but they’ve got to continue to be modernized. And we’ve got to account for the nuances and changes that happen in the operating environment, so that we can get as real as possible. I don’t know if we’ve solved the problem yet, but quadcopters were like an albatross. You couldn’t put your arms around how we could field quadcopters there. Because we didn’t have an acquisition program for it and there wasn’t a PM or a, we gotta come up with ways to introduce capabilities that our adversaries are going to do, immediately in that environment. So we don’t have to wait for two to three years for something to come out that’s two to three years behind whatever was available two to three years ago. That’s gotta change somehow, and I don’t know exactly how it does, but I mean, over in Iraq, the way we fixed that is I said, “What’s the absolute limit I can go to?” Because I wanted to arm the Iraqis, and I know this is not supposed to be about OIR, sir, but it matters in terms of our training, how to we arm the Iraqis with the same thing their adversaries are using? And they came back and they said, “Well, sir, “you can spend X number of dollars “and that’s your ceiling.” I said, “How many quadcopters can we buy for that?” And we did it twice without violating the rules, regulations or the laws and we gave those to the Iraqis. My whole point is is that CTC commander says, “Hey, we need to introduce this capability.” It shouldn’t be, oh, well let’s build a requirement. Let’s get it through this process and that. We’ve got to be more flexible and agile because I’m telling you, I watched an adversary evolve by the day. And if you don’t think that near-peer or peer are going to do that, just because it was ISIS, I can tell you, the cat’s out of the bag. That’s what they’re going to do. That’s how they can counter our technological superiority. And our competencies that we build with our training that we do. We’ve got to move beyond that, so that we can at home station, and in our CTCs, evolve our training environments without going through a bunch of laborious processes to deliver that, over. – [Robert] Chris, you want to follow on that? You’ve got something on your mind? – Yes, sir, so we’re focused on the fundamentals. Reliably and consistently and efficiently synchronizing combined arms. That rests on a thousand details. Again, it’s very, very hard work. It’s all about the basics of shooting, moving, communicating and sustaining. In that sense, we have all of the simulations tools, the environment, the simulated environment, is commensurate to what we might see in the world. And it certainly allows us to focus on all of those fundamentals. Three things, specifically at the National Training Center. Our founding fathers, in the early ’80s, said that they wanted the National Training Center to be a place that had an unforgiving environment and a relevant scenario. Second, a ruthless OPFOR and then finally, a professional OC force, all with the goal of making the hardest day for a unit to happen in the desert and not in combat when they got into combat there. So we have all of the tools that we need now to meet that intent and then to allow our units to train in an environment that is commensurate with the world today. – Okay, I’ll reinforce General Martin’s. We gotta come to grips with this. On how to rapidly infuse emergent TTP that’s a device of some sort that the threat’s using and we’ve gotta figure out how to do it on the cheap, but not be in a program of record. It is crushing us. Daesh puts a quadcopter up for $400 a copy, maybe. The current program of record is five digits. We’ve got a problem. Okay, next question.
– General Christian, sir. – Brigadier General Doug Christian, I’m currently assigned to the UK as a Deputy Commanding General of their 3rd Division. But my question is really a U.S. question. It’s about readiness, and the Brits are watching us in the way that we struggle with measuring and communicating readiness. They’ve got a narrative that they’ve got to sell to their political leadership as well, to say, “How do we get more ready?” But all the panel members in one way, shape or form spoke about the value of repetition. And whether it was Chris Norrie talking about circling back, and taking another turn at a particular training rep, whether it’s about reps and sets or just the fact that any time you get really good at something, it typically takes you more than one iteration of that something. I wonder if Objective T, as we’ve sought to make a means to better measure our readiness across the U.S. Army, the total force, is Objective T scratching that itch? It’s delivering a more prescribed set of tasks that all units can now measure themselves against. So I think in that case, it’s absolutely delivered. But does it still create a thought process of a readiness culture that readiness is linear? As opposed to as Colonel Norrie said, it’s more on a curve. And are we still potentially contributing to a culture where you move through a set of activities and we’re not necessarily rewarding the opportunity for a unit to go back and do something two, three, four, five and six times before there’s a tendency to have them move on to the next step. Whether that’s to achieve a T1 status, for instance, or just to meet a training gate and satisfy concerns from our political side that readiness is expensive and we’ve got to be able to show that we can achieve a higher level of readiness over time? – You put your hand up.
– I did. And then he kept going and I’m like, wow, that’s a big one. Okay, so, what I’ll tell you, Doug, and good to see you. I think Objective T is going to be good. Because I’m having a discussion now with a brigade commander about, all right, you’re going through this period of transition. What I need you to be able to describe, and much more so than the subjective, I need 30 days to get ready. If I was asked to deploy, how much time would I need? And what resources would I need in order to be at a higher level? We’re having those discussions now. Because we’re looking at personnel equipment, the training that we would require to get to a higher level of readiness. So we know what our current level assessment is and we know where we’ve got to go, and we’ve got a mindset that we’re trying to establish that echelon that what must be done in order to get to that next level of readiness? I will tell you that before, that was prescribed and just everybody walked through and used a gate-based training methodology. But I think it’s much more sophisticated than that now. And I think our leader development sessions are paying huge dividends because now we’re telling our suborn of battalion commanders, company commanders, platoon leaders, squad leaders, why we’re doing something. The approach we’re taking, so that we get their buy-in. And more important than that, their development. So that when they become a platoon sergeant after being a squad leader, they understand why they did what they did. Where, God bless them, it’s not their fault, it’s ours, we just told them, “This is what “you’re going to do next.” I ran into General Wallace. We were talking about readiness in the lobby. He’s a mentor of mine and he said, “You know what, Joe? “The one thing people have got to understand,” because I said, “we can learn from people like you, “who were in Europe, commanding a regiment “against the East Germans back in the Cold War.” But he said, “Nobody besides you “is going to give you readiness. “No one’s going to deliver it to you.” You’ve got to understand, you’ve got all the capabilities, which you do, and as long as the resources are there, a brigade, a division, you have the ability to do it. But because we’ve been enabled, with short timelines in ARFORGEN, we’ve been enabled by outside parties, we think we’ve got to outsource this. So I do believe that it’s good. And I think it’s going to actually contribute to the development of our junior leaders as they continue to move up through the ranks. – Doug, that’s a really, thanks Joe. Doug, that was a really good question. I think there’s the potential that it could drive the wrong behavior. I think there is potential for that. But the alternative I think is a much bigger risk for the Army. Our failure to put objectivity in our fundamental mission essential task proficiency evaluation and having some sort of objectivity, I think has been a fault of ours for as long as I’ve worn the uniform. It’s been too much of a hand wave. So I think there is potential, though, that this zeal now to get to a T or a T minus evaluation, could drive people to, once I get that, let’s move on to something else, as you suggested. So here’s my thought. We should not confuse met mission essential task proficiency with mastery. We should not confuse the two, they’re not the same. Being a T on one repetition of externally evaluated at night, in the most competitive contemporary operating environment might get you a T on conduct movement to contact. But that’s not mastery. Mastery comes after hundreds and hundreds of repetitions. Whether that’s conduct movement to contact or any other task at any level. And our goal should be mastery. The T will take care of itself over time. Because the more reps, eventually, either you’re going to get to a T or we should fire you. Because if you can’t, after seven or eight repetitions, get to a trained level, something is amiss with the leadership or the formation. But our goal is to get to a trained level. But that’s not mastery. Mastery is a different level and that’s what our goal should be, does that make sense? – Yes, sir.
– Yeah, but I think you’re right, the other thing I’d tell you is that I’m looking back, right behind you, standing in the back is the Director of Training. So the other thing that we have to be reminded of is our training resource model. We have to have a resourcing model for everything that we do. And training is no different. So we’ve got a training resource model that’s, it works pretty good, if we would just resource it. For the last four or five years, we’ve resourced the training resource model to be able to execute those repetitions at 80% of the requirement. 80%, we started this last fiscal year, because of the continuing resolution, at 82% of the requirement. Now at the end of the year, when all was said and done, at the end of the FY, we ended up executing almost 94% of the training resource model. But we are still, we started FY 18, $98 million in the hole. Because of our inability to fund the training resource model at a 100% of the requirement. To build the readiness that the Secretary of Defense is talking about, to develop mastery of our warfighting and have that level of readiness to fight tonight, we need 100% of the training resource model. That’s what we’ve got to get to. Or we won’t be able to sustain it. – Sir, I’m General McCaffrey, I’m the Commanding General of 1st Army Division. My question is for Dr. Van Winkle. Dr. Van Winkle, you have the unique perspective on the panel of seeing all the services. And General Abrams started off this session talk of the need for a readiness narrative. I’m curious how you see the Army’s narrative compared to the other services? Clearly different mission sets, some platform-based, our is clearly not platform-based. But how’s the Army doing on our narrative? And where can we improve to help you do your job at OSD to influence members of Congress and all? – That’s a great question. The Army has been a wonderful partner to us. I will say that a lot of Army’s issues are not unique just to Army. Across all the services, we’re looking at manning issues. They may fall into different categories, but generally, we’re looking at challenges with manning. Whether it’s the maintainers, enablers, pilots, just across the board, that’s one of the considerations that we’ve had. Army is also no unique in their drive for modernization. All the services are looking to modernize, to take it to the next level. And infrastructure sustainment is all very, those are all similar across all the services. There are some differences within the services. The Navy’s very focused on their optimized fleet response plan, looking at a lot of the levers that they need to focus on in order to ensure that the total force is supported by the Navy. Marine Corps has paid operational bills at the expense of modernization and capability. They’re very focused on that. The fifth generation MAGTF. RBAs are a lot of their focus. Again, some very unique parts, but in general, falling into those categories that I previously mentioned. Air Force is also facing some fairly significant challenges that certainly impact all the services. In terms of just air support that’s required. And they’re also looking at their manning. They’re looking at their infrastructure as well as the modernization that I spoke to. So in general, Army’s falling into some of the similar categories as the other services, although there are certain specific, Army-specific initiatives that are in place. Some very creative, as well. And we talk about SFABs and we talk about Objective T. Some of the things that Army is doing in order to ensure that they’re meeting their readiness requirements. All the services are doing those creative things. Certainly, Army’s doing it very specifically for Army. – [Kirk] Given the time remaining, we have time for about one or two more questions, please. – Hi, I’m Susan Katz Keating, I’m with AUSA. Looking at our history, recent history, there have been times when we’ve had national and international emergencies where it seemed like we were not ready. And yet, we really rose to the task. And in fact, it was the National Guard. The 29th ID, D-Day and California Guard in Korea. And suddenly, we became very ready very quickly. My question to you is, if we were faced with an overwhelming and sudden national emergency, do you feel that we would be able to rally now, the way were able to rally in those conflicts? – Thank you for that, ma’am. I guess my question back to you would be, how much risk do we want to assume? – Are you asking?
– When we attacked on D-Day, – Right.
– 8,000 casualties on Omaha Beach. We haven’t seen the scope and scale of death and destruction like we saw in World War II and in Korea. For those of you who watched, there was a special 10-part series on Vietnam recently. 5,000 casualties in a week. We can’t imagine that, as an American people right now. Here’s what I like to tell people. If you ever think, in today’s world, that you’re going to need an army, that you want to use your army for what it was intended for, then you have to ask ourselves, how much risk? Because right now, and those wars are different. We’ve been at war for 16 years with all-volunteer Army. First off, it’s the longest war we’ve ever been in. And no one in the planet has attempted one this long with an all-volunteer force. And it’s a great, it’s the best Army I’ve been in, for 35 years. How much risk are you willing to accept with American sons and daughters? So if you’re willing to accept a lot of risk, and we as a people are willing to take a lot of casualties, then we can not make the investment in readiness today. And units both in the regular Army and the great Army National Guard and the Reserve, we’ll commit them, they won’t be ready. And we’re going to pay the price in blood and treasure. So I go back to you, the American public, how much risk are we willing to assume? You asked specifically will we rise to the occasion? You bet we will, because that’s who we are. But most of us who’ve been doing this for a long time and that’s a bitter pill. Every single memorial ceremony we go to, it is really hard. Because those are special Americans who raised their right hand to defend their country. And they did it on their own, but they’re special. And they’re in our units, they’re part of our families. So if you’re asking me, can we rise to the occasion? Sure, but I sure would like to minimize the cost and do all we can to minimize cost in terms of soldiers’ lives before the day comes when we’ve got to commit this great army. But they will, make no mistake, they will rise to the occasion. – [Susan] Thank you for that. I was actually thinking of an instance where we would have no choice, if we were invaded. How quickly would our readiness rally? – Ma’am, it just takes time. As Colonel Norrie alluded to, you can’t magic proficiency overnight. I tell our leaders that there’s at least three things that are components of readiness, that just flat take time because it’s a human endeavor. The first one is trust. Really good warfighting units, there’s a trust amongst soldiers and amongst soldiers and their leaders. Fitness, you cannot magic fitness. You can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly everyone’s going to be ready for combat. It just takes time. And the other component is discipline. You can’t wand that over as well. And every time in our history, where we have shortchanged the timeline to get units ready and then we’ve asked them to perform, at least one of those three elements had not been established and we paid the price in soldiers’ lives. So yeah, they’ll rise to the occasion. You should sleep well at night that the American Army will rise to the occasion. But it’s going to be costly. – [Susan] Thank you very much for that, appreciate that. – [Kirk] Go ahead, sir. – I’m Colonel Chris Rudolph, I’m at West Point. My question for the panel here is, what changes need to occur in our current officer PME system to better educate and train future leaders of these various formations and the officer system to be prepared to implement requirements for sustainable readiness? – [Robert] I yield to any of the distinguished panel members. (audience laughing) – I don’t want to make this a critique of TRADOC, but I think that in some regards, we’ve got to get back to what we want to deliver beyond the course that we’re sending folks to. We’ve got warrant officers we’re trying to give Master’s Degrees to, trying to create strategic leaders of warrant officers that are technical specialists in the United States Army. And I could go into a bunch of examples of that. But things I’ve been taught by a warrant, I’m not talking to warrants and hey, have you thought about this? And I’m the one that’s advising, the paradigm’s gotta change. I don’t know if the sergeants major academy is delivering command sergeant major material. They come to battalion to be the senior non-commissioned officer that knows how this whole battalion works and can be that wing-man for the commander with all those skills. And that’s not a critique on any of command sergeants major, but when, at NTC, you get a chance to go and talk to a whole bunch of command sergeants major. And the one question I always ask them is, did the sergeants major academy give you the skillsets to be successful in this? “No, sir, I had to learn that on the job.” Career course, I think we’re getting better with that. CGSC, I haven’t been back long enough. But we’re going back to some fundamentals and having OPDs on doctrine to talk about this is how you do these things and this is why, to get that buy-in I spoke of previously. So that as an organization, these guys, the processes are all set. Because the environment around you is complex enough. If you have folks that don’t understand how a process works, that increases the complexity. I think our schools, the PME system, needs to take a good look at are we delivering someone that can walk into a battalion as a captain, a major, a sergeant’s major, and be able to fulfill that role that they’re walking into? As opposed to some of the other goals that we’ve had that may have been lofty, might have been well-intended, but don’t necessarily help the operational commanders as they receive these people in their formation. Just a thought. – I can also speak a little bit. Within P&R, that’s one of the areas that we’re also looking at. And there’s a number of considerations there. It’s the curriculum, is the curriculum appropriate for what we’re looking for in order to get strategic thinkers? It’s also the professionals that are teaching. Are they being compensated? Did they get what they need in order to ensure that we’re not losing them to universities and colleges. And it’s also to make sure that the combatant commanders are getting what they require and what’s relevant to them now so that these strategic thinkers are meeting the bills that we need for the combatant commanders. So that’s one of the things within P&R that we’ve been looking at as well. – Okay, our window is closing. Any more questions for the panel? Sir, closing comments.
– Well, thanks, Kirk. I hope you all enjoyed this. And again, all of you in uniform, you have a role to play to help us with our own narrative. We made an attempt this afternoon to talk about those things on our mind and those things that we need to stress as an army. We know what we need to do. Our task at hand often is to explain to others, those that make policy decisions and those that make resourcing decisions, why it is so important. And you’ve heard some good points today made by all members of the panel, in terms of changing our mindset. Instead of this episodic sine wave, with steep approaches and cliffs for readiness, we have got to get our Army into a footing of being ready all the time. It requires consistent, reliable funding. It requires competent and committed leaders, who are prepared to execute a disciplined process. They’ve got to be forecasting on their resources. And then they’ve got to be relentless in repetitions and sets of those repetitions to be able to achieve mastery. Because that’s our goal, is mastery of our core warfighting skills. That’s what the nation expects of us. And as you heard, the Secretary of Defense today, that’s what he absolutely expects of us and all of us are up to that challenge. So thanks for joining us this afternoon and enjoy the rest of AUSA. (audience clapping)
– Thank you very much. (people chatting)

Danny Hutson

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