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Combatant Commanders Need Adaptive, Agile Forces

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., June 24, 2004 – Today's military has to be "more adaptive, more rapidly than ever before," the deputy commander of the Army Futures Center told military and civilian officials attending the Joint Warfare: Transformation and New Requirements conference here June 22.

"Combatant commanders need versatile, agile, adaptive forces that are packaged to go where they need to go and ready to fight when they get there," said Army Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon. "That's what combatant commanders need, that's what the war (on terror) demands, and that's what we're going to give them."

The general said he is proud of the work the Army is doing as part of joint transformation and proud of its partnership with fellow services. "There's a tremendous amount of energy and momentum," he added.

However, while embracing change, Mixon said it is important not to lose sight of what endures the men and women who are out there risking their lives every day in the name of freedom. "Soldiers are the centerpiece of everything we do," he said.

One of the Army's transformation efforts is the creation of the modular force.

"We went to combatant commanders and asked what they needed in land combat formations from the Army," said Mixon. "They said they needed adaptive, agile forces that are brigade-based, not division-based."

The 3rd Infantry Division already has converted to the modular design. The 101st Airborne Division is converting now, and the 10th Mountain Division is slated to transform later this summer.

Brigade combat teams, said Mixon, have reconnaissance squadrons. "We haven't done that before," he added. "We've learned that reconnaissance is the heart of lethality capabilities. There are human intelligence teams in every brigade now. They don't come from some other organization to visit; they live, eat, sleep and work in the brigade."

A similar transformation is under way in Army headquarters. Brigades now have capabilities that used to reside at corps and division levels, noted Mixon.

The Army also is working on a mobile, ad hoc network.

"We have to have battle command and control on the move any time, anywhere," said the general. "We must expect to operate in austere environments. We must expect to operate without a host nation infrastructure. That's what we're building, but it's got to be a joint solution."

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Related Sites:
Defense Department Transformation
U.S. Army Futures Center
3rd Infantry Division
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
10th Mountain Division

Related Articles:
How People Think Fuels Transformation
Battlefield Metrics Key in Transformation Effort



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