From left, LTC Darrin C. Ricketts and LTC Donn H. Hill of       4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and     ...
By LTG Robert L. Caslen Jr.                                                           and                                 ...
Minnesota National Guard and Croatian      soldiers prepare to clear a room during             training at the Joint Multi...
Soldiers from 2nd                                                                           Initiative, risk and opportuni...
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Beyond the Horizon: Defining Army Core Competencies for the 21st Century


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Beyond the Horizon: Defining Army Core Competencies for the 21st Century

  1. 1. From left, LTC Darrin C. Ricketts and LTC Donn H. Hill of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and BG John Uberti, deputy commanding general of Afghan Development, 101st Airborne, confer with an Afghan national army commander in April about Operation Overlord, a joint effort that pushed Taliban forces out of the Naka district of Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and denied them exit through the mountainous terrain.24 ARMY I July 2011
  2. 2. By LTG Robert L. Caslen Jr. and LTC Steve Leonard “We will emphasize our Army’s ability to conduct both combined arms maneuver and wide area security—the for- mer necessary to gain the initiative and the latter necessary to consolidate gains and set conditions for stability operations, security force assistance, and reconstruction.” —GEN Martin E. Dempsey, FM 3-0 Operations fter nearly a decade of war, our Army is emerging as a leaner, more decisive force with unique expedi- tionary and campaign capabilities shaped through a historic period of persistent conflict. At the same time, the effects of globalization and emerging eco- nomic and political powers are fundamentally reshaping the global order against a backdrop of mounting competition for shrinking natural resources amid accelerating population growth and climate change. This rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive strate- gic security environment has given rise to the manifestation of hybrid threats—combinations of decentralized and syndi- cated irregular, terrorist and criminal groups that possess ca-U.S. Army/SPC Zachary Burke pabilities once considered the sole purview of nation-states. As these threats become progressively indistinguishable from one another, our understanding of, and ability to mas- ter, full spectrum operations will become the central founda- tional element to our future success. July 2011 I ARMY 25
  3. 3. Minnesota National Guard and Croatian soldiers prepare to clear a room during training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany. U.S. and multinational troops will deploy to Afghanistan together as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The Army Capstone Concept, pub-lished in December 2009, and The ArmyOperating Concept, released in August2010, spurred a conceptual renaissanceintended to reestablish the critical link U.S. Army/SFC Tyrone Walkerbetween our concepts and doctrine,forging the framework required to re-cast our doctrinal body of knowledgefor an uncertain future. In his MarchARMY Magazine article, GEN MartinE. Dempsey wrote that central to TheArmy Operating Concept is the idea that“success in the future security environment requires Army teragency, intergovernmental and multinational efforts.forces capable of defeating enemies and establishing condi- Combined arms maneuver is the application of the ele-tions necessary to achieve national objectives using com- ments of combat power to achieve a position of physical,bined arms maneuver and wide-area security to seize, re- temporal or psychological advantage over the enemy.tain, and exploit the initiative as part of full spectrum Through combined arms maneuver, Army forces leverageoperations.” This central idea is applicable across the spec- decisive combat power against an enemy to seize the initia-trum of conflict, from peace to war, in offensive, defensive tive, setting and dictating the terms of action while degrad-and stability operations. As we translate this idea from con- ing the enemy’s ability to mount a coherent response. Strik-cept to doctrine, we are narrowing the focus of our efforts ing along unexpected avenues of approach—when theon our ability to successfully conduct both combined arms enemy is unprepared—and in unanticipated ways, we aremaneuver and wide-area security, both independently and able to impose our will and set the conditions necessary tosimultaneously. resolve the conflict on favorable terms. From our perspec- tive, the initiative is established and preserved; from the en- Army Core Competencies emy perspective, defeat comes swiftly and with purpose. … to accomplish these two activities and provide forces Wide-area security functions similarly, while denying the capable of achieving speed of action … we need forces capa- enemy such advantages. Through wide-area security, we ap- ble of exercising mission command by decentralizing au- ply the coercive and constructive capabilities of the force to thority to act faster than the enemy. consolidate gains and to establish conditions on the ground —GEN Dempsey (ARMY, March 2011) to reestablish a stable and secure environment, address im- Through full spectrum operations—simultaneous combi- mediate humanitarian concerns, and prepare for the transi-nations of offensive, defensive, and stability or civil support tion of responsibility to a legitimate civil authority. Wide-areaoperations—Army forces seek to gain and maintain a posi- security strengthens and reinforces stability, sets the condi-tion of relative advantage. Our ability to successfully con- tions that enable the success of joint, coalition, and other gov-duct full spectrum operations is enabled through the ernment partners, and provides the foundation for transition.Army’s two core competencies—combined arms maneuver Wide-area security also supports the ability of Army forcesand wide-area security. In turn, these core competencies not only to partner with indigenous security forces in orderrepresent very specific and unique capabilities. They are in- to build their capacity to protect and secure populations, butseparable, intrinsically linked within the context of joint, in- also to support interagency efforts to build partner capacity by developing and strengthening governance, the economy,LTG Robert L. Caslen Jr. is the commander of the Combined the rule of law and other institutions with an eye toward le- Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He previously com- gitimacy. Supported by appropriate policy, legal frameworks manded the 25th Infantry Division and was the Multinational and authorities, Army capacity-building efforts focus on Division-North commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom. leading security force assistance, supporting institutional de- LTC Steve Leonard is the director of the Commanders Ini- velopment and participating in security-sector reform pro- tiatives Group for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. A grams. Wide-area security establishes the conditions neces- graduate of the University of Idaho, he earned masters de- sary for these efforts to build positive momentum toward grees from Murray State University and the School of Ad- professionalizing and strengthening partner security capac- vanced Military Studies. ity to integrate, synchronize and sustain operations.26 ARMY I July 2011
  4. 4. Soldiers from 2nd Initiative, risk and opportunity are Battalion, 3rd inherently linked within the context of Stryker Brigade full spectrum operations and are fun-Combat Team, 2nd damental to successful combined arms Infantry Division, dismount their maneuver and wide-area security. Ac- vehicle following cording to FM 3-0, “When comman- live-fire training in ders accept risk, they create opportuni- March on ties to seize, retain, and exploit the Nightmare Range, initiative and achieve decisive results. U.S. Army/CPL Hong Yoon-ki South Korea. Risk is a potent catalyst that fuels op- portunity. The willingness to incur risk is often the key to exposing enemy weaknesses that the enemy considers beyond friendly reach.” The delicate balance among initiative, risk and op- portunity spurs the spirit of the offense Mission Command through combined arms maneuver: Successful commanders We know how to fight today, and we are living the princi- balance risk and initiative with audacity and imagination to ples of mission command in Iraq and Afghanistan. strike at a time and place and in a manner wholly unex- —GEN Dempsey (ARMY, January 2011) pected by enemy forces. This is the essence of surprise, Together, combined arms maneuver and wide-area secu- which creates opportunity.rity are underpinned by mission command—“the exercise The balance among initiative, risk and opportunity is noof authority and direction by the commander using mission less important in wide-area security, though it is more tenu-orders to enable disciplined initiative within the comman- ous. In wide-area security, the balance tends to shift towardder’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the risk, which assumes increasingly complex dimensions whenconduct of full spectrum operations,” as stated in Field small units operate in a decentralized manner across widelyManual (FM) 3-0 Operations. Mission command is essential dispersed areas. With limited resources available to conductto operational adaptability. It drives initiative and fosters operations across a wide area, commanders must choose theour ability to decentralize authority, allowing our forces to appropriate amount and type of capacity that can be safelyconsistently and coherently act faster than the enemy. pushed to the “tactical edge.” This in turn drives a dialogueWhen confronting hybrid threats, mission command en- among leaders at all echelons on how and where to assumeables the development of adaptive leaders and teams capa- risk, and how best to mitigate that risk. For these conversa-ble of anticipating changes in the environment, recognizing tions to occur among leaders, the command climate mustand managing transitions, and accepting risk to create op- engender trust while encouraging candor and conversation.portunities to exploit the initiative. In a complex and uncer-tain operating environment, mission command fosters the The Need to Adaptability of the force to combine the two core competencies to Nearly 10 years after coalition forces entered Afghan-conduct successful, decisive full spectrum operations. istan in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we face an In January, GEN Dempsey stated that mission command emerging strategic environment much different from that“emphasizes the importance of context and of managing at the turn of the 21st century. A fundamental shift in thethe transitions between combined arms maneuver and international system produced a phenomenon Fareed Za-wide-area security among offense, defense, and stability karia referred to as “the rise of the rest,” characterized byoperations, and between centralized and decentralized op- emerging regional powers, a globalized economy and theerations.” Within the context of these two core competen- growing influence of nonstate actors on the world stage.cies, our evolved expression of mission command repre- Many believe this marks the emergence of a nonpolar po-sents an understanding of conflict informed by nearly a litical order in which power is more evenly distributeddecade of war: Conflict, in its most elemental form, re- among regional and global actors, rather than among amains a fundamentally human endeavor. In this contem- handful of nation-states.porary expression, mission command acknowledges and As the strategic environment evolves around us, so, too,underscores the central role of the commander in opera- must we adapt. As we begin to rekindle our basic combattions among the people, an essential component to success skills and refocus our leader development efforts, we drawin the future operating environment. on the certainties of our past while preparing for the uncer- tainties of our future. Our Army’s core competencies— Initiative, Risk and Opportunity combined arms maneuver and wide-area security—rein- In today’s warfare, as in the past, the force that retains force our commitment to full spectrum operations while the initiative will win. building on the expertise gained through nearly a decade —John L. Romjue of war. (28 ARMY I July 2011