|Story & photo by Jennifer Hartwig, Army News Service
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army
Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), spoke to about 250 Soldiers and
civilians during the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s annual leadership
conference in Savannah, Ga., Feb. 28, about the changes the Army is
making to be better prepared for the future.
Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding
general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, addresses
about 250 Soldiers and civilians during the U.S. Army Recruiting
Command’s annual leadership conference in Savannah, Ga., Feb.
28. Cone spoke of using the lessons learned in Iraq and
Afghanistan to update Army doctrine and field manuals to better
prepare Soldiers for the future.
After nearly 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the method of training
for Soldiers has changed dramatically, which leads to necessary changes
in Army fundamental principles, known as doctrine, and Army tactics and
procedures, known as field manuals.
According to Cone, the U.S. will likely never again fight a static
enemy, or fight the way the Army prefers to — bombing from far range.
The Army must take the lessons learned in Operations Iraqi and Enduring
Freedom and New Dawn and change the way Soldiers are taught so that they
are better prepared for the types of conflicts that are likely in the
“What we want to do is capture the experience of the last 10 years and
use those experienced people to think through the challenges of the
future,” Cone said.
With operations in Iraq complete and operations in Afghanistan ending in
2014, the shift has already begun for the coming years in the Army —
reducing the number of active-duty Soldiers from 570,000 to 490,000 and
the number of brigades from 45 to 32; changing the types of brigade
combat teams, and cutting down the inventory of tactical wheeled
All of these structural changes need to be addressed by TRADOC in the
updated doctrine and field manuals.
“The Army is going through two fundamental transitions right now:
structural, as we reduce the size of the Army, and the human transition
— that’s our biggest concern, (that) this great generation of young
warfighters find things to be excited about in the Army of the future,”
Cone said. “TRADOC has the responsibility … to develop leader
development programs, to write doctrine and then to have the school
systems that provide the great leaders, Soldiers, noncommissioned
officers to then go out into the operational force.”
USAREC became a subordinate command of TRADOC Jan. 19 and Cone said it
was important for him to brief recruiters on the TRADOC and Army goals
because recruiters “produce the product.”
“If (recruiters) have a better idea of what we’re trying to accomplish
in the Army, I think they can speak more authoritatively and they can
help make the selections necessary to bring the talent into the Army,”
he said. “It’s important to the guy who’s sort of the architect of most
of these important changes to come down and talk to them so they
understand what those changes will be because they have such an
important role in the selection and identification of the people who
will play a leading role in our future.”
Those leaders who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will have a heavy hand
in the new Army teachings, and the lessons learned there will be a large
part of new Army doctrine.
In 2007, Gen. David Petraeus and Marine Corps Gen. Robert Magnus got
together to write the Army’s counterinsurgency manual, Field Manual
3-24, based on the lessons they learned in Iraq.
But with heightened combat in Afghanistan since that time, the manual
needs to change as well.
“How do we then take our sacred body of knowledge called our doctrine
and adapt that to reflect our experiences in Afghanistan?” Cone asked.
“Now that we have two data points, how do we say what is in common, what
is different, and how do we write a true counterinsurgency manual that
will be good for the future?
“We’ve opened it up to a very broad audience, against a lot of recent
combat experience in Afghanistan. As we conclude this period of Iraq and
Afghanistan, we set the conditions to take advantage of all of the
lessons we’ve learned in the last 10 years and make sure they’re the
basis to moving ahead to the future.”
For those in attendance, having a senior Army leader talk about the
future was enlightening.
“General Cone coming to speak to us here was absolutely outstanding —
especially with (TRADOC’s) new role taking the lead over USAREC,” said
Lt. Col. Dan O’Grady, Jacksonville Recruiting Battalion commander.
“Hearing it from one of the great senior leaders in the Army on the way
the Army is going to go was terrific. General Cone talks to the chief of
staff of the Army on a regular basis, and the fact that General Cone
came here to give us a reassuring stance on the way we’re going helps
Cone said a major objective of his command is enticing talented Soldiers
to stay in the Army through a process they are calling “broadening,”
which is training and educating Soldiers in a broader way.
He said that includes a variety of assignments, such as more graduate
school opportunities, more fellowship opportunities and more assignments
like in recruiting, where they work out in American society every day —
instead of staying long-term in the same tactical unit.
“We think all of these things contribute over a period of time to making
a better Soldier and leader for the future,” he said.
Cone said main goals of TRADOC are to ensure leaders are properly
trained; Soldiers are fully-qualified for promotion; Soldiers are given
broadening opportunities; and that the knowledge of those who served in
combat is taken and ingrained in the updated doctrines and field
The 15 updated Army Doctrine Publications, each of which will be about
10 to 15 pages, are due to be completed in August, and the 50 updated
field manuals will be completed in December 2013.