News   Lethality

U.S. Needs Global Posture for Future Advantage

Oct. 28, 2020 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

The United States faces a future of multiple adversaries and near-peer competitors with all domains contested. The nation must ensure a solid global posture now, the commander of the U.S. Transportation Command said.

Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons spoke at the Airlift/Tanker Association's virtual seminar series today and said such a posture must give the United States positional advantage, as well as physical, psychological and temporal advantage over our adversaries through rapid response.

An army general smiles. His face is framed by military equipment in the foreground. Other soldiers stand near the general.
Gen. Stephen R. Lyons
Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, speaks with Tech. Sgt. Michael Walsh, 22nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment section lead, Feb. 21, 2019, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Walsh demonstrated the size differences between the KC-46A Pegasus and the KC-135 Stratotanker AGE equipment during Lyons’ visit.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker
VIRIN: 190221-F-JA727-0202

"That is the essence of Transcom and Air Mobility Command," he said. "[We've also] got to think differently about the future [and] force design that will be informed by a concept or doctrine. The force of design and force to development are future forces [that] must be smaller, lethal and all-domain capable."

The five warfighting domains comprise cyber, space, air, ground and sea.

Lyons noted the United States must move away from the paradigm of moving the entire city of St. Louis from the continental United States to a location overseas and spending the time building combat power to attack. "We must be more sophisticated in our all-domain warfare," he added. 

The nation must integrate the sustainment of a joint warfighting function across all of our fighting functions, he said, all the way up to the strategic and operational level.

Service members stand near a bus and a military vehicle. It is dark outside.
Troop Transport
Mississippi National Guard members with the 184th Sustainment Command transport troops and equipment from the Logistical Support Area on June 16, 2016, at Fort Hood, Texas.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Veronica McNabb, Mississippi National Guard
VIRIN: 160616-Z-OE877-072C

Following his emphasis on the structures that must change, the general turned to what he believes will not change.

"[While] the future is certainly unknown, unknowable and ever-changing, I would say Transcom's purpose will always be enduring. Our ability to project the Joint Force global distances at our time and place of choosing presents multiple options for leadership."

In addition, Lyons said, our warfighting framework remains constant. 

The idea of a global posture for building capacity operates within that posture. Command and control nodes that allow us to allocate scarce resources to the highest of the defense secretary's priorities is a sound framework of which we can continue to innovate within the framework, he said. 

That applies whether it is with rocket cargo or any number of initiatives in artificial intelligence or machine learning, as we continue to evolve and become better in our decision making and our ability to protect and sustain the force, Lyons added. 

Two soldiers stand in front of a black car. One, a high-ranking officer, is looking away from the other as he gestures to something in the distance.
Transportation Ops
Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Sue Henderson, the commanding general of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), receives an overview of transportation operations at Terminal 46 on the Seattle, Wash., waterfront from Army 2nd Lt. Ben Clifton, a platoon leader assigned to the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, headquartered in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 response, Apr. 11, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need.
Photo By: Army Maj. Brandon R. Mace, Army Reserve
VIRIN: 200411-A-UX977-006C

Another aspect that's not changing is people, the commander said. "People are, and have always been, our No. 1 key competitive advantage [that] we will always need as all adaptive leaders of character, [who are] willing to step forward in a crisis and protect this great American experiment in democracy."

But every one of us who wears the military cloth has a common bond, Lyons said. "We understand teamwork, hard work and higher purpose. We understand that the characterization of success is not about us. It's not about how much we make. It's about the team. It's about serving a greater purpose."

It's really the value of our great joint force, he said, adding it's no surprise why, in poll after poll, the military profession is held in such high regard. 

"We will always embrace our service values. We always demonstrate service before self and never break the trust with the American public," Lyons said.