Meeting the Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

By Byrnes, Kevin P. | Army, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Meeting the Challenges of Today and Tomorrow


Byrnes, Kevin P., Army


Training and Doctrine Command

The nation is committed to winning the global war on terrorism and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is adapting the way it operates to ensure continuous and proactive support while continuing to build a campaign-quality Army with joint and expeditionary capabilities. Modifying training and doctrine and bringing new capabilities to the force used to imply years of development and refinement. In an environment where peace was the default condition, we had the luxury of following lengthy development processes. In the current environment, however, peace is now the exception and our past processes of lengthy development are no longer an option.

On today's battlefields, our soldiers are adapting everyday to defeat everchanging adversaries. TRADOC is helping defeat this learning enemy by pursuing innovative efforts to dramatically shorten the time-to-field capabilities that the warfighter requires. In response, TRADOC is transitioning every facet of this command to create and adopt practices to provide timely and relevant training and doctrine that build combat-ready organizations that are equipped to win today and tomorrow. It is incorporating battlefield lessons into training and designing capabilities to ensure the Army's combat effectiveness as a member of the joint team. Where the Army once had years to insert emerging technologies, it is now rapidly spiraling ready capabilities from the Future Force into the Current Force.

For the first time in the nation's history, the Army is fighting a protracted conflict using an all-volunteer force. At the same time, the Army is growing and restructuring at a rapid pace. The added burden on an already taxed training base creates a challenge that requires innovative solutions. The most experienced, talented and proven officers and NCOs are meeting this challenge by recruiting, training and developing the finest warriors for the current fight while continuing to prepare the force for the future.

Soldiers remain the Army's centerpiece. Today, as in the past, soldiers want to be challenged and to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, part of an Army of One-one cohesive team. They are proud to serve in an organization that places people before hardware, an organization that continues to value high standards and the warrior ethos. Soldiers want to be part of a unit that functions as an effective team in the face of ambiguity and complex operational environments. TRADOC is ensuring success by transforming the way we train soldiers and develop their leaders. Drill sergeants, still the backbone of soldier development and the standard bearers for the Army, are turning lessons learned in combat into relevant and demanding training designed to instill the warrior ethos and prepare soldiers for deployment to the battlefield upon completion of their training.

TRADOC has modified initial entry training by infusing greater rigor designed to mentally and physically prepare soldiers for today's realities while introducing the skills required to operate in the joint environment required for tomorrow. This rigor is partially achieved by setting and enforcing combat standards, providing a more realistic environment, and increasing the time and intensity of weapons training and field exercises. Tasks such as night weapons firing, urban operations and convoy security are integral to transforming civilians into soldiers who are warriors first.

TRADOC has taken the same approach to developing leaders with a joint and expeditionary mind-set. New Army leaders have to be able to instinctively operate collaboratively in distributed operations and possess the skills to rapidly form and reform coherent teams. Joint and expeditionary leaders must be self-aware, adaptive, competent, innovative and decisive in uncertain environments. This new institutional foundation for officer development, the basic officer leader course (BOLC), transforms the first step in officer education. …

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