WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 29, 2016) – The chief of staff of the Army’s goal is for the entire Army to have fully readiness by 2020 (manned, trained and equipped) , to meet the national security needs of the nation, said Maj. Gen. Walt Piatt.
Piatt, director of operations, readiness and mobilization within Army G-3/5/7, and others, spoke at during an Army War College-sponsored conference in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, April 27.
As part of meeting that across-the-board readiness, the Army is rolling out a new forces generation model that will provide sustained readiness to all units so that all are ready, not just a few, he said.
Now, just a third of the force meets adequate combat readiness, he said.
A lot of the lack of readiness has to do with Soldiers who are non-deployable, and most of that is medical in nature, Piatt said.
A new website will inform company commanders and first sergeants who is deployable and who is not, Piatt said. They’ll be able to pull up profiles and access information from Army Medical Command that will allow them to get Soldiers the healthcare they need to become deployable.
Another issue of readiness the Army is working is providing combined arms maneuver training to all units in addition to wide area security which Soldiers have been doing for the last 15 years, Piatt said.
Dr. Andrew Hill, a U.S. Army War College professor, said wide area security operations alone would not work against a peer or near-peer adversary. He used an analogy to illustrate his point.
In 1939, certain cavalry Soldiers were fully trained, equipped and manned to perform cavalry maneuvers on horseback. They were, in fact, full ready, he said.
But were they relevant? He asked. The take-away being, relevance of training for the fight after next is a big part of readiness.
Daniel Feehan, who serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness, said he doesn’t lose any sleep over the Army’s emphasis on full-spectrum training, including combined arms maneuver. He said he knows the Army serious about the issue.
He said it’s ironic that today, the Army has the most experienced combat veterans in a long time, but that those same Soldiers are the least experienced when it comes to full-spectrum operations against a near-peer threat.
Over the last 15 years, he said, Soldiers have been experts in waging war against a stubborn insurgency, but that has left a capability gap for facing a peer or near-peer adversary.
Some brigade commanders of today haven’t experienced full-spectrum operations or full-spectrum training since they were lieutenants, Feehan said. “It will take time to get that readiness back.”
GOAL: DEFEAT PEER ADVERSARY
Piatt defined the readiness needed as the ability to “defeat a peer competitor, while denying another, while still fighting a war on terror.”
“If we had to go tomorrow, we’d either pull forces away from a current demand or send forces not ready, or go late, or we would not go. All of those options are not good,” he lamented, adding that “we are recovering readiness.”
Recovering readiness consists of an emphasis on both training and education, he said.
“Training prepares us for the expected, while education prepares us for the unexpected,” Piatt informed. “We take producing agile and adaptive leaders very seriously.”
Agile and adaptive leaders are needed for the future fight where the force will not only engage with the enemy, but also will deal with displaced civilians, disease, climate change and a very complex environment, he said.
Everyone is very comfortable with tactical readiness, Piatt said. But strategic readiness is just as important and that’s where the Army plays an outsized role. Take logistics. There will not be any movies made about getting ammo and fuel to the joint force but that’s where the Army’s three components will play a key enabler roll in the next fight.
“We have high global demand almost 190,000 assigned or allocated to combatant commands, many of which are rotational,” Piatt said. “These rotational models can help us build readiness.”
Piatt referenced rotational forces in Korea and Europe that get full-spectrum training every month in realistic settings.
He concluded: “Readiness is our number one priority and there will be no other number one.”