CSA challenges Army War
College Students to Define, Develop Army of Future
By Lt. Col. Mark McCann, Army War College Public
Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania -- October 28, 2011 --
This is a great time to be thinking about the future. This was a key message the
Army Chief of Staff had for the Army War College Class of 2012 here today.
Gen. Raymond Odierno challenged this class to use their time
at the Army War College to reflect, think, discuss and publish papers because
they will be the ones who develop solutions to the many national security
challenges we face in the future.
"This is the year they take time to learn and think about the
future; to take their experiences and use them to think about what challenges do
we have in the future as an Army," said Odierno to the class.
"As we look to the future, whether it be the our fiscal
problems, whether it be the uncertainty of our security environment throughout
the world -- then take that, think through those problems, help us define and
develop the Army of the future," he said.
He noted that the future will be framed by a complex
strategic environment. While we currently are a nation at war, we must broaden
our focus to view the world through a more global lens, understanding the
impacts of globalization, defending and sustaining access to the global commons,
and addressing the emerging challenges in the domains of space and cyberspace.
Odierno took this opportunity to discuss his priorities
noting, first and foremost, that the Army will always provide trained and ready
forces to defend the nation. He is committed to developing a versatile, agile,
decisive, and lethal force for the future with sufficient depth to meet a broad
range of contingencies while continuing to sustain a high-quality all-volunteer
"Very difficult decisions will require leadership courage and
creative solutions," said Army student Col. Sean Mulcahey, following the address.
"We will continue the need to advocate for national security despite resource
Commitment to the Army profession was his final priority
Odierno spoke about trust as the bedrock of the Army profession and how the Army
must not lose focus of its importance. The Army is a way of life, he said. The
Army must maintain trust with its Soldiers, with their families, and with the
American public Soldiers are privileged to serve.
He talked briefly about the art of strategic and operational
leadership and how important it is that leaders never stop learning about
themselves. He said one of the greatest challenges for strategic leaders in the
future will be leading change. Leadership is about vision, and vision drives
"You guys sitting in the audience need to be part of the
solution and that the skill we need as strategic leaders is leading through
change," was the message Army Lt. Col. Chris Benson heard. "The fact is we have
tough times ahead that will require leadership and we have a job to do."
Strategic leaders must understand the importance of building
relationships, the limits of military power, and creating organizational
climates that empower subordinate leaders to be innovative and take risk. And
strategic leaders also must be skilled communicators who not only are able to
communicate effectively with their own organizations, but also with a broad
array of external audiences as well.
"He talked about the importance of understanding inter-agency
and how we as leaders should depart from traditional models of thinking to make
sure we can operate in complex environments, said Aubrey Butts, an Army civilian
student. "You have to have more tools in your toolbox than just a hammer."
Earlier in his visit to Carlisle Barracks, Odierno met and
spoke with U.S. and international general and flag officers attending the
Combined /Joint Force Land Component Commander Course. This one-week seminar-based
course challenges senior officers to examine key elements of functional land
component commands at theater and/or operational levels.
It also explores the challenges of conducting sustained land
dominance operations in joint, inter-agency and multinational environments.
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