Iraq Combat Veteran Turns Attention to Army Training, Doctrine
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2005 The general who led U.S. ground forces into Baghdad during the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom has some big and unconventional plans ahead for the command that oversees Army training, leadership development and the doctrine that drives Army operations.
Gen. William "Scott" Wallace, who took command of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., in mid-October, told Pentagon reporters today he recognizes the command's critical role in preparing soldiers for current operations.
Wallace commanded the Army's 5th Corps as it lead the Army forces in 2003 during major combat in Iraq and understands firsthand the importance of preparing troops for their combat mission.
At the same time, he said he recognizes that TRADOC has another, longer-term responsibility to the Army: looking ahead to future conflicts to ensure the proper training and doctrine are in place for the troops who will fight it.
"Part of what we do at TRADOC is not only (concentrating) on the current fight and getting people ready, but also thinking about the future," he said. "We have a responsibility within TRADOC to focus our energies on being an engine for change in the Army."
Toward that end, Wallace has assembled five teams with his command to focus on specific areas he said warrant close evaluation.
One team is evaluating how to support the Army Force Generation model - the Army's plan for providing combat power for deployments around the world in support of combatant commanders. "It seems that TRADOC has a vital role to play in that: from the perspective of producing the right soldier out of the training base to man our organizations all the way to the ability to train formations before they deploy," Wallace said.
Another team is looking into how young people who have grown up in a technological world learn, and the best way to teach them. "We at TRADOC have to have a better appreciation for the techniques of learning that are most applicable to the environment we find ourselves in today," Wallace said. "There's something out there (that) we better understand, because we ought to be the experts in that field."
Still another TRADOC team is coming up with ways to capitalize on Base Realignment and Closure initiatives already under way, including the consolidation of several Army schools into unified maneuver, network fire and logistics coordination centers.
"We need to take advantage of that co-location and try to gain those efficiencies that we can, but also to do it in a smart way," Wallace said. "I regard BRAC as an opportunity rather than a problem for TRADOC."
Two other groups are evaluating less concrete processes: TRADOC's role helping ensure deploying troops have the most up-to-date equipment and weaponry they need, and in supporting the operational Army as it carries out its mission.
TRADOC should represent soldiers' interests in the Army process that identifies requirements within the force, develops gear to meet those needs and fields it to operational units, he said.
"I believe it's TRADOC's job to make sure those things absolutely essential to our deployed formations are well-known within the requirements process," Wallace said. "We can champion (emerging technologies) and those requirements on behalf of the soldier and bring them to rapid fruition and put them in the hands of soldiers as quickly as we possibly can."
Wallace said he's witnessed a blurring of the lines between the operational Army and the institutional Army that supports it, and believes it's a trend that will and should continue. "Folks in TRADOC need to regard themselves as responsible to the operational Army and reaching out to the operational Army to find out areas where we can assist them to do their jobs better," he said. "We are all in this fight together."
How TRADOC responds to these challenges will have a major impact, not only on today's Army but also, tomorrow's Army, Wallace said.
"I absolutely, truly believe that victory starts in TRADOC," he said. "It starts in our classrooms, it starts on our ranges, it starts in our leader development programs. And we're talking about victory for the fight that is going to happen tomorrow, the one that is going to happen next Thursday, and the one that is going to happen 10 years from now."
That's "an awesome responsibility," Wallace said, but one he said TRADOC is committed to carrying out, for the Army and the nation.