CARLISLE, Pa. (Sept. 9, 2014) – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno sought an opportunity early in the academic year to address the U.S. Army War College Class of 2015, and made them the first major audience with whom he shared the strategic concepts of the new Army Operating Concept, scheduled for later formal release.
The new Army Operating Concept for Unified Land Operations, “Win in a Complex World,” will become the responsibility of the senior officers, national security civilians, and international officers in the Bliss Hall audience.
“My job is to get it started,” he said to the next generation of strategic leaders, “and you’ll help us continue to evolve the concepts, develop the technology to support the concepts, and lead us through it.”
Odierno achieved instant rapport with the student body with references to his Army War College experience, academic rigor and over-40 fitness. He then moved quickly to remind them that the Army War College year is a significant investment that’s benefited from conscientious adjustments to leverage the multinational and inter-agency class diversity — critical to his vision of the Army’s joint land power network.
We’re doing everything we can to establish as much capability as possible. We have to do all of it, said Odierno, referring to growing uncertainty around the world, reduction in budget and force size, along with growing need for U.S. commitment.
“There is no one challenge,” he said. “The complexity of the world has changed such that we have to be prepared to respond in many different places, many different ways, many different speeds. We have to realize that and start moving toward that.
“We have to be expeditionary; we have to be tailored to respond to smaller threats,” continued Odierno. “We are going to have to put small capability all around the world and then we’ll develop the situation and decide what we will do from there.”
“The new Army Operating Concept will require evolutionary change as we deal with the growing complexity of the environment, and it begins by changing mindsets. Our new Army Operation Concept will be Unified Land Operation, to ‘Win in a Complex World,'” he said, describing a comprehensive approach that synchronizes, coordinates, and when appropriate integrates military operations with the activities of governmental and intergovernmental organizations to achieve unit of effort.
“We need to establish a global network of capability that allows us to tap the inter-agency and other governments, working with them in concert to achieve our objectives,” he explained. “The future includes regionally aligned forces across the combatant commands, global land power network, and building partner capacity — networks that help us lead.
“One advantage we have, especially in times of decreasing budgets, derives from our ability to develop the right leaders – non-commissioned officers, officers, and civilians – who can think in this very complex world,” he said. “The new Army Operating Concept will address the idea of creating multiple dilemmas for the enemy. I believe our leaders can operate much more quickly and can be more adaptable and flexible in operating in an environment that has multiple dilemmas. That’s to our advantage.”
“So, we’ve got to create leaders that understand the complexities of the world we face – the increasing speed of human interaction that’s driving the changes we’re seeing around the world and how we will operate,” Odierno said.
The Chief of Staff of the Army urged The War College students to focus attention and discussion on several issues among them: How do we sustain over-match in the future? What is the future operational environment? How do we think about state, non-state, criminal actors working together?
And, he asked them to consider: What are the responsibilities of members of the Army Profession?
“We’re given great responsibility,” said Odierno. “That responsibility is like no other, sometimes given the responsibility to knowingly take other lives. That’s an incredible responsibility, and we have to make sure that we understand the importance of doing it within the moral and ethical values of our nation and who we stand for.”
“A profession that is operating appropriately will police itself,” he said. “It’s up to us to make sure that people have confidence in us, that we police ourselves.”
He summed their responsibilities as students: “This is your year to think about where we need to go, how we need to develop our military, and what we need to do to do differently.”