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Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

FORSCOM Commander’s Forum Outlines the Future of Army Formations

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

FORT LIBERTY, N.C. — Commanders and command sergeants major from across the U.S. Army Forces Command footprint gathered at Fort Liberty for the FORSCOM Commander’s Forum, Nov. 29-30, 2023. The conference brings together senior leaders from all Forces Command corps and divisions as well as the Army National Guard and Army Reserve for focused training and conversations on leading warfighters on the battlefield.

Gen. Andrew Poppas, FORSCOM commanding general, welcomed the group and explained there was much to cover over the two-days. He continued by explaining his “4-Wins:” Win Trust and Empower Leaders; Win the First Fight; Win the Future Fight; and Win as a Balanced Total Army.

“The framework we’ve laid out is the 4-Wins,” said Poppas. “This is the framework in which we move forward. And I will tell you that at every touchpoint within each one of these domains, I feel we’ve made great success. In the way we are building the team, in the way we’ve embraced it … strengthening the relationships we have and engaged leadership.”

He continued by expressing his vision of a warfighting force and professional warriors. Warriors need the mindset of always moving forward; the warrior spirit to hone yourself to be physically and mentally fit; and training methodology focused on building formations to their greatest capability, he said.

“The strength of that formation is that they rely on each other,” Poppas said. “It’s the person to your left that’s carrying the shield that protects you. It’s the strength of the formation that moves forward.”

Poppas explained the number one priority for the Army chief of staff is warfighting and FORSCOM owns warfighting. As he looked around the room, he acknowledged that the leaders sitting there were in the positions they are in due to their strong backgrounds as leaders, warfighters, and Soldiers.

This year, the 41st Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Randy George, was the guest speaker for the forum. George has served as the Chief of Staff of the Army since Sept. 21, 2023. He began his discussion by acknowledging that world today is a very complex place. The Middle East, Ukraine, Taiwan and Africa were cited as just a few of today’s global hot spots the U.S. Army has interests. In addition to these topics, George recognized challenges with recruiting efforts, equipment and parts delay and budget stability.

As he continued, George shared with the group the questions he asked to his staff at the Pentagon: what can we stop doing or change; how do we adjust our processes; how can we push down authority and funding; and are we making the right trade-offs?

“I generally don’t talk about 2030 because I don’t think we have that much time,” said George. “2030 is too far down the road. We are going to be a lot different before that, I can guarantee you. We are going to be a lot different in the next four years.”

The Army chief of staff continued the conversations, outlining his some of his priorities — such as warfighting, delivering ready combat formations, adjusting the approach to military construction projects, and production of a new mobile app to help inform Soldiers and families of quality of life programs available to them.

Focusing on continuous transformation, George explained that transformation is more than just purchasing new equipment. Transformation also includes changes to processes, training and how Army formations look.

“I want our leaders to decide what our formations will look like, not a bunch of us sitting inside the [Pentagon],” explained George. “I can certainly do that, I definitely have my own opinions on a lot this, but I want everybody involved in what we’re doing.”

The topic of strengthening the profession was saved until last to emphasize the point. George shared an example from his time as a division commander. Underlining how he and other division commanders would share advice and lessons learned with each other to help increase lethality and warfighting capabilities.

“I remember when I was a captain and pulling the drawer open and Armor Magazine and Infantry Magazine were there, and they were very helpful,” said George. “I’m asking for your help in making sure people are writing about our profession. We should be talking about our profession.”

By Adam Luther

Army Publishes First Doctrinal Manual Dedicated to Information

Monday, December 4th, 2023

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army has released its first doctrinal publication dedicated to the topic of information and its role in multidomain operations on the Army Publishing Directorate website, Nov. 27, 2023.

Army Doctrine Publication 3-13, Information, codifies the Army’s approach to the military uses of data and information, and recognizes all activities generate informational effects that can contribute to, or hamper, achieving objectives.

“Information is central to everything we do. It is the basis of intelligence, a fundamental component of command and control, and the foundation for communicating thoughts, opinions and ideas,” said Lt. Gen. Milford Beagle, Jr., commanding general, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. “As a dynamic of combat power, Army forces fight for, defend, and fight with information to create and exploit information advantages — the use, protection, and exploitation of information to achieve objectives more effectively than enemies and adversaries.”

Authors from CAC’s Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, the organization charged with writing the new manual, acknowledge that changes in the security environment necessitated an update to doctrine. Adversaries are already using informational power to try to gain regional influence and control well ahead of potential armed conflict. These actions make the competition for information and ideas continuous and persistent.

Key to achieving objectives in a contested environment like this means gaining an information advantage, a new term now defined in doctrine. An information advantage is “a condition when a force holds the initiative in terms of situational understanding, decision making, and relevant actor behavior.”

“Our new doctrine makes it clear that everyone plays some role in achieving information advantage,” said retired Army colonel and CADD Director Richard Creed. “And similarly, commanders need to consider information from a combined arms perspective because all Army capabilities create effects in the information dimension of our operational environment. We can’t make it the sole purview of a single staff section or certain specialties and expect success during operations. Operations now require leaders to consider how information enables operations, how to protect friendly information, how to employ information against an enemy or adversary, and how to attack the enemy’s ability to use information effectively.”

To facilitate that process, ADP 3-13 gives leaders a framework for developing information advantages during operations and at home station. It also spells out how commanders can leverage aspects of information that enable command and control; protect data, information, and networks; inform audiences; influence threats and foreign relevant actors; and attack the threat’s ability to use information.

The publication of ADP 3-13 is just the start of a sustained education campaign from CAC. As with the release of FM 3-0, CADD is developing a series of products to help Soldiers understand the new doctrine. Articles, videos and podcasts devoted to ADP 3-13 are in the works and will be announced via CADD’s social media channels. The team will also work closely with the Centers of Excellence, Army University and the combat training centers to ensure this information is incorporated into professional military education and training. In addition, mobile training teams will visit select installations and organizations to further integrate the ideas outlined in the manual.

“ADP 3-13 provides the intellectual underpinnings that describe how Army forces will gain, protect, and exploit information advantages; however, doctrine is only the beginning. The hard work starts when we begin to internalize these ideas into leader development, education, and training,” said Beagle.

To learn more about ADP 3-13 and other doctrine, visit the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate website.

By Randi Stenson, MCCoE Public Affairs

Task Force Marne Troops Train Alongside NATO Allies During Strong Griffin Exercise in Lithuania

Saturday, December 2nd, 2023

By SGT Cesar Salazar, Jr.

PABRADE, Lithuania — Task Force Marne Soldiers and their Lithuanian Allies honed their combat skills during a force-on-force training exercise at Pabrade Training Area, Nov. 16-17.

Known as Strong Griffin 2023, the exercise saw U.S. Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, serve as an opposing fighting force for the Griffin Brigade of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, which provided the NATO Allies an opportunity to share each other’s defensive and offensive tactics, strategies, and standard operating procedures.

“Strong Griffin is an opportunity for us to train together and build towards interoperability procedurally, technically, and the human domain,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. David W. Griffith, commander of 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, said. “It allows us to train tactics, techniques, and procedures so we can operate better with each other.”

Task Force Marne Soldiers conducted infantry and armored offensive operations against Lithuanian Armed Forces partners in a series of training exercises across rural and urban environments to test their combat readiness. Lithuanians, in turn, prepared a defense to counter the American attacks. In the training scenario, the American forces worked their way through a forest environment in an effort to seize a town, while the Lithuanians defended the territory.

Both armies were able to adapt and adjust to their situations which allowed them to learn how each other operated as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses in real time.

“The end goal, of course from the tactical perspective… we check the abilities and the gaps we have within the training cycle,” Lithuanian Army Col. Aurelijus Alasauskas, commander of the Griffin Brigade, said. “So if we see that everything goes so well, I don’t think we’re really organizing our exercise the proper way. We happened to see some gaps already, which might be training points for the next year.”

Lithuanian Soldiers trained on their light and anti-tank infantry tactics against an armored force with the help of Task Force Marne tanks.

“We have tanks. We have larger vehicles than they do [in the exercise],” U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jaden Brown, a tank commander with Alpha “Ares” Company, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, said. “Bringing in all that heavy machinery against a much lighter force allows them to develop how they would act against a much better equipped, much larger force,”

In turn, Task Force Marne tank crews adapted their tactics to the forested terrain, which meant tankers stayed vigilant by looking out for smaller, light infantry in the tree lines versus much more visible larger vehicles, according to Brown.

Having the opportunity to face each other in a force-on-force exercise during Strong Griffin ultimately made the two NATO allies stronger together. The exercise also allowed the two allies to familiarize themselves with the tactics and techniques they’d employ together as well as similar terrain and environments they might encounter one day on the battlefield together.

“It’s not about fighting [against] each other, it’s about fighting together with a purpose,” Alasauskas said. “So with the U.S. providing offensive capabilities, and Lithuania providing defense capabilities — when you combine those two into one — you have a very mobile, aggressive defense, which is not letting the forces penetrate you or to maneuver in front of you. So you’re leading even in the defense position. This is the main purpose: To lead the battle the way you want to.”

“It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience working with the Lithuanians,” Griffith said. “They’ve been a great partner here in Pabrade. We’ve worked together to define each other’s training objectives. We built an exercise that allowed us both to reach them.”

The 3rd Infantry Division’s mission in Europe is to engage in multinational training and exercises across the continent, working alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces to V Corps, America’s forward deployed corps in Europe.

Looking Back, Program Manager Soldier Lethality Change of Charter

Friday, December 1st, 2023

Lindner Conference Center   –  

Project Manager Soldier Lethality held a change of charter ceremony, followed by a retirement ceremony, at Lindner Conference Center on Picatinny Arsenal, August 4.

Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider officiated the exchange of responsibility of PM SL from the outgoing Program Manager Col. Scott Madore to Col. Jason Bohannon.

“There are three things I think are the secret sauce to being a great Program Manager,” said Schneider. “You have to lead fearlessly and with compassion. You have to have experience. The last thing I call stakeholder management, but it’s actually being a good teammate. Scott does all these things frankly better than most people I know.”

PM SL performs a pivotal role in equipping Soldiers with unparalleled proficiency in both individual and crew-served weaponry. By overseeing the development, production, deployment, and sustainment of contemporary and future weapon systems, along with target acquisition and fire control products, PM SL ensures a continual evolution. As a result, Soldiers are outfitted with advanced systems that significantly elevate their survivability and lethality, reinforcing their effectiveness in the field.

“I feel extremely honored to have been selected to come to Picatinny to be a part of PEO Soldier and to be part of the PM Soldier Lethality Team,” said Madore, giving his final remarks after handing the leadership reigns over to his counterpart. “I cannot imagine a greater group of teammates to finish my career working alongside.”

As the PM SL organization sends off Col. Madore and his family, a warm welcome is given to the leadership skills and technical expertise of Col. Bohannon. The newest member of the PM SL team here at Picatinny Arsenal is no stranger to this organization.

“My family first came here in 2012,” said Bohannon. “I’d like to thank everybody who contributed to putting me here today. This has been the homecoming for the Bohannon tribe…”

 “So, when I talk to the Officers, men, and women of PM Soldier Lethality – you have the most consequential task of our generation for small arms development.  We will field the most lethal small arms that ground forces have ever seen, those systems must be the most reliable tool a Soldier, Marine or operator can depend on are in a firefight, a tool that [they] can trust.”

This was not only a change of charter ceremony, but also an opportunity for Madore to celebrate his retirement ceremony. Madore served with honor in the military for 31 years. The entire organization wishes him and his family good luck and best wishes as they move toward future endeavors.

Be all you can be, Scott. Thank you for your service to the country and for everything you’ve done in your 31-year career.

Story by Luke Graziani, US Army

Photo by Jesse Glass

Green Berets Complete Dive Requalification

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — In the uncertainty of the Pacific Ocean, combat divers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) successfully completed their annual dive requalification exercise on Oct. 10 – 27, 2023.

With overcast skies, fast winds and cold waters, the combat diving teams planned and executed multiple maritime operations, enhancing their effectiveness in various tactics and procedures.

“We want to familiarize our divers [old and new] with different team tactics and procedures as well as exposing the team in a progression and operational glide path,” said a team captain. “We test ourselves in more advanced and punishing conditions such as intense surf, cold water, low visibility and an overall more demanding environment.”

During the 17-day training period, the two combat diving teams initiated their preparation by acquainting themselves with the Zodiac, a boat used within special operations, and diving equipment. This familiarization helps combat divers develop confidence and comfort with their equipment.

The teams then carried out a series of exercises focused on extensive swimming, beach landing techniques, infiltration, extraction, navigation at depths reaching up to 120 feet beneath the water’s surface and long-distance navigation. Some of these operations were conducted in daylight and under the cover of night.

By being proficient in these skills, combat divers can use their abilities as a method of infiltration to access target points in real life operations.

“For us [combat divers], diving is an ability and a skill to apply on unconventional warfare settings, which is our expertise as Green Berets,” said one of the team sergeants. “It makes Green Berets calmer and more lethal underwater and even more in any real-world situations.”

The divers also had the opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Navy, performing long range movement. This tactic is used to infiltrate target points within the intercoastal or coastal waters.

The teams also took advantage of practicing with a landing craft air cushion, or LCAC. The LCAC is a type of hovercraft used to carry out smaller boats for longer distances in more demanding conditions to complete this exercise.

“We are always looking to do joint exercises with other U.S. military branches and even with partner allies,” said a team captain. “Today, we had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy in this operation and it was a success.”

Lt. Col. Matthew Mesko, 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG (A) commander, emphasized the importance of mastering different operation domains as the special operations command finds new ways of mitigating operational strategic threats in the maritime domain.

Green Berets defy the belief that they excel only on land; they excel in maritime environments too, proving their expertise in any conditions.

“Our teams here are practicing their mastery in waterborne infiltration methods, improving their lethality across all kinds of domains,” said Mesko. “10th SFG (A) has a proud track record of presenting the best maritime dive capabilities. These gentlemen right here work hard to foster and cultivate that reputation within the country and with our allies.”

An old saying tells that water is unforgiving, however, these elite warriors operate silently and unseen in both, the shadowy depths of the water, and the unpredictable demanding surface. They represent a unique and highly specialized branch of the U.S. Army and the Special Forces Operations Command.

Photos and Story by SGT Luis Solorio

Photos by SSG Isaih Vega

Unmanned Aerial Systems, Emerging Technology Showcased at Annual Maneuver and Fires Experiment

Monday, November 27th, 2023

By SGT Luis Santiago, 24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

FORT SILL, Okla.– Nearly 30 government organizations and industry partners from across the defense enterprise gathered to identify, integrate, and leverage new tactical capabilities using cutting-edge technologies during the annual Maneuver and Fires Integrated Experiment, simply known as MFIX, from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3, 2023.

Established in 2014, MFIX is the primary live experiment spearheaded by the Fires Battle Lab, under the Fires Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate or Fires CDID based at Fort Sill, Okla. MFIX is part of a series of experimental events as part of the U.S. Army’s overarching effort to remain at the forefront of technological innovation and warfighting ability for the Army of 2030 and beyond to maintain superiority over any potential adversary.

The two-week event brought Department of Defense partners and defense industry leaders from across the U.S. to experiment on various programs of record with emerging technology to seek possible solutions in today’s operating and complex environment.

Soldiers from across different Army organizations, to include the famed 1st Armored Division, took part in this year’s MFIX to provide industry partners with the Soldier’s perspective.

As part of MFIX, Soldiers directly handle and experiment with new and improved technologies and give direct feedback to industry, government partners to gather key insight and reduce the time it takes to get technology into the field and in Soldiers’ hands to operate in the field.

“Every technology gets an assessment based on Soldiers’ touch points, and we have our report, which is an analysis and observation, based on the collected data points,” said Robert Muniz, a Fires Battle Lab targeting expert. “The industry partners will come in, and they have new technology that gets assessed for a year and the end state of all of this is to reduce the time it takes to get technology into the field and in Soldiers hands.”

As the primary orchestrator of the event, the Fires Battle Lab aims to foster innovation and facilitate the rapid integration of promising technologies into the Army’s capabilities.

“This year’s MFIX featured several new technologies, including unmanned aircraft systems, advanced fire control systems, laser technology, and a defeat system against intelligent UAS detection,” Muniz added.

In previous years, the participants were immersed in a simulated combat environment, allowing for the real-time analysis and assessment of various technologies and strategies. However, this iteration of MFIX was used as an observational period as the Army runs a series of exercises designed to coordinate data collection, communication, and decision-making leading up to U.S. Army Futures Command’s centerpiece event ‘Project Convergence-Capstone 24 (PC-4)’ being held in early 2024.

“This year is a little bit different,” said Muniz. “The Soldiers we have this year have been used more as data collectors and observers on the system,” Muniz continues. “In previous years, Soldiers got new equipment training, they got an understanding of the capability of each technology or what each system can do, and they used it at MFIX.”

Project Convergence is rebranding as a culmination of several exercises across the force as the event shifts from tactical level to theater level operations with full divisions and a focus on global military integration for command and control. The testing conducted at MFIX is just one small part of a concerted effort to incorporate knowledge gained from training ventures as part of the PC-4.

Army Col. Osvaldo Ortiz, chief of the Army G-3/5/7’s mission command division, told reporters during a June 2023 media interview that “all those exercises are going to inform what the Army Futures Command is going to get after at PC-4 capstone.”

As the U.S. Army continues to train for potential near-peer conflicts, exercises like MFIX allow industry and government partners to offer state-of-the-art solutions as the Army changes the way it organizes, equips, and fights.

” The goal of MFIX is for [Soldiers] to get an understanding of what these new technologies can do, and they’ll have an understanding of what it will be able to do in the future,” said Muniz.

Female Vietnam Vet, Journalist, Reflects on Battlefield Experience

Sunday, November 26th, 2023

By Shannon Collins, Army News Service

WASHINGTON – Growing up in a newspaper and military family, Karen King-Johnson wanted to serve her country.

In 1965, as the Vietnam War escalated, she attended Officer Candidate School and commissioned into the Army as a public affairs officer.

She said she was inspired to join the Army by her father, a World War II infantry officer who fought with Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army before being killed by a mortar blast Nov. 11, 1944.

While in Vietnam, King-Johnson served as the command information officer for the U.S. Army Vietnam in Long Binh and circulation manager for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, publishing 100,000 copies each day. She led a team of 43 enlisted photographers and combat correspondents.

She led a team that distributed the publication in five shops in Vietnam. King-Johnson and her staff also produced another publication, “The Army Reporter.” If a pallet didn’t get delivered, she and her team personally delivered it via a helicopter.

“We were in the field every day, taking pictures and riding with the units,” she said. “Two of my guys are on the Vietnam Wall [Memorial].”

King-Johnson and her staff often embedded with U.S. troops in the field and worked with civilian media. They escorted dozens of media, including legendary American reporter Walter Cronkite.

“We flew almost everywhere we went, and I had a jeep with a [.50-caliber] machine gun,” she said. “There were 754 correspondents in Vietnam. Our job was to escort them safely in and out. We were out in the field, delivering papers. If troops were moving, we were moving.”

They also dealt with logistical challenges in the field. King-Johnson and her staff wore 75-pound wet cell pack radios on their backs that weighed 75 pounds to sustain battery life.

“The radio had to have a 10-foot antenna on it,” she said. “I had a clip on the back of my helmet so it wouldn’t hit me in the head. The young guys would climb the trees and get the antennas up higher so we could communicate with the Air Force. We didn’t want [enemy forces] dropping bombs on us.”

She said they had to “shoot, scoot and communicate.”

“Our job was to make sure everybody back home knew what the guys were doing over there and tell their stories, to make sure no one was forgotten,” she said.

She served in Vietnam with back-to-back tours from 1970 to 1972.

“The VC [Viet Cong] would try to come over the wires at night. They’d turn our ammo around against us, the mortars we had on the outer fence. If we ran out, then they blow back on us. We had to get smart about that,” she said. “They attacked at night.”

Her cousin was a medical evacuation helicopter pilot who flew night and day. He was shot down in 1968. The POW/MIA team is still looking for his remains.

From medical evacuation pilots to nurses to infantrymen, everyone loved the newspapers. If people didn’t get the paper, she heard about it from the three-star general down.

“Everybody loved us,” she said. “We were their favorite thing. They liked us better than food trucks with hot meals. We always gave them extra film. We were using 35-milimeter. My guys would take pictures, and they’d send the extra photos home to their parents. They thought we were great.”

When she returned from Vietnam, she served at Army Recruiting Command and then at Army Training and Doctrine Command, writing field manuals like her father. While there, she met her husband, who served in the Air Force as a Titan II missile commander but retired from the Army and became a federal judge.

King-Johnson, who retired as a major, said she highly recommends serving in the military to the next generation. She said the military provides unique professional training experiences.

“Name a commercial pilot that didn’t get their training in the military,” she said. “You can get so much on-the-job training for free. There are so many different career fields. They’re doing sub training; you’re not going to do that anywhere else in the world. I’m amazed that the American people don’t know what their military does. The military is decades ahead in planning. They knew they were going into the Middle East back when I was in Vietnam.”

Strengthened Army Industrial Base Doubles Artillery Production

Friday, November 24th, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Army’s artillery production doubled in the last year with the service currently producing 28,000 155-millimeter howitzer rounds a month.

The dramatic uptick comes as the Army expanded its capacity at current facilities while looking to bring new ones into the mix next year.

“We will have taken, over a couple years, what was a very fragile, admittedly, industrial base and dramatically improved its strength,” said Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

The need for the increased artillery comes in response to supporting the war in Ukraine, the recent conflict in Israel and replenishing U.S. stockpiles. The service has sent more than two million rounds to Ukraine thus far.

Currently, the Army ships steel from Ohio to two facilities in Pennsylvania, the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, and a sister facility in Wilkes-Barre. These two plants turn 2,000-pound steel rods into two-foot-tall artillery shells.

The shells are then transported to the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, where they are filled with explosives and sealed. The propellent and charges for the rounds are mostly produced at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia and the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee.

Throughout this year, the Army expanded production at these facilities by constructing new buildings, installing new equipment and improving automation. These upgrades helped double the Army’s artillery production rate, Bush said.

With the expanded capacity at current facilities, the Army is shifting its focus in fiscal year 2024 toward bringing brand-new production facilities into the manufacturing process. This will give the service multiple sources for each production step.

“Which is what you want in the ammunition production world,” Bush said. “You don’t want one building being the single point of failure.”

The service is building a new factory in Mesquite, Texas, and it awarded a contract last year to a Canadian company to build the artillery shells. It is also funding two new facilities to load the shells with explosives. One will be in Arkansas, and the other will be in Kansas.

The improved production process is part of the Army’s modernization plan to bring the industrial base into the 21st century. Current and future Army readiness requires modernization on a sustainable path that develops, implements, and deploys new technologies to deter current and emerging threats.

Bush said the Army aims to increase 155-millimeter production to 60,000 by next summer and to 100,000 by the end of 2025. The 100,000-round goal is largely contingent on the approval of President Joe Biden’s request to Congress for fiscal year 2024 emergency supplemental funding, which has $3.1 billion for 155-millimeter artillery production and facility modernization.

“This important legislation is needed to make sure the Army is ready to meet the growing challenges we face today, and in the future,” Bush said. “It will strengthen our industrial base to ensure we can supply our defense needs while we serve as the arsenal of democracy for our allies.”

Story by Christopher Hurd, Army News Service