Army forces should be well ahead of foe
- By Doug Beizer
- Feb 27, 2008
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ? Having a force geared for conventional warfare is no longer the best model for the Army, which today must be ready for insurgencies, irregular warfare and unstable peace.
A more nimble force that uses technology is needed to handle modern conflicts, said Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, deputy director and chief of staff for the Army Capabilities Integration Center.
"We've got to be able to create the force that's capable of making that step to be able to adjust, shift and be ahead of the problem," Fast said at the Association of the United States Army's Winter Symposium and Exposition.
"What we're really talking about is creating a force that is in the perspective of the operational environment, instead of just a force onto itself," she said.
Helping to create that new force is part of the mission of the Army Capabilities Integration Center. The center helps develop concepts that can end up being part of the Army's doctrine. Center officials look at what warfighters need to do their jobs. If a need isn't being fulfilled, the center attempts to fill the gap.
"We can't forget the human dimension," Fast said. "It is easy when we start to talk about science and technology to think about the widgets and forget about the fact that at the end of the day it's all about people. None of these technologies in of themselves create a capability; they're all enablers."
To create usable capabilities the Army needs its industry partners to look at the technology along with other factors like training, chain of command and the abilities of personnel.
Force protection, for example, is an area of interest for the center. Focusing solely on armor is not the key to giving soldiers all the protection possible, Fast said.
"When you think about protection, the immediate thing that that drives people too is more armor," she said. "That's certainly a significant part of it, but we know there are challenges if armor is our only solution, because with armor comes weight and with weight comes a loss in mobility."
So the center is looking for both material and nonmaterial ways to protect troops. Creating an overall protective system for soldiers will require the help of industry, Fast said.
"I ask you to help us think through this because we don't have all the answers as to how to do this," Fast said. "We do know an armor-only solution is not going to be the solution. Our adversaries are always going to find a way, a new slick way to try and defeat it, so we have to think a lot more comprehensively about how we protect the soldier."
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.