We’ve entered an age of irregular warfare. We aren’t designed to fight this kind of war, yet.
“The future of the Army may not involve divisions, corps, tanks or Bradley fighting vehicles, said the Army’s chief of staff. And that future isn’t 100 years away, or even 50. It’s only about 25 to 30 years away.”
“I suspect that the organizations and weapons and doctrines of land armies, between 2025 and 2050, in that quarter-century period of time, will be fundamentally different than what we see today,” “General Milley said on Oct. 4 at the 2016 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition’s Eisenhower Luncheon. The Army of the future he described in his remarks bore little resemblance to the Army that Soldiers know today, not just in its technology, but also in how it fights and where it fights”, army.com reported.
This article tells us “the weapons, the technology, and the domains will change. The battlefield will no longer be the battlefield that the Army Soldiers and the Army leadership train for today. Preparing for that new era will be one of the toughest challenges the Army will face in the next 25 years.” “Crisis will unfold rapidly, compressing decision cycles and response times,” Milley said. “Ambiguous actors, intense information wars, and cutting-edge technology will confuse situational understanding.”
It’s true – war as we’ve come to know it is changing in real time. It’s not a challenge in 2035, it’s a challenge today. Most universities are adapting to the busier lifestyle of students. They’re enacting online learning modules and alternate methods to disseminate and teach academic content. They’re doing it now. Tech firms are adapting, and huge fortune 100 businesses are becoming more lean, while the army is fat.
If the Army must change and be on the leading edge why not make the necessary changes now? Bureaucrats are the best. They often see the future. They identify what needs to be done and then, it doesn’t happen. It becomes strategic visions for the future. A kind of product and deliverable might emerge detailing an image of the future – like a directive describing the future state of the force. However, the operational units will be obliged to figure out the reality based on the relatively vague guidance.
Russia has embraced a citizen soldier model, where their operatives are in this for life. Their agents reportedly study the enemy and their language for many years before going abroad to live among them. But, afforded the ability to live a life, too. The Israelis have cultivated impressive nationalism not just by conscription and fear of attack – but also because they’re all in a kind of active reserves. They maintain unit and team integrity most of their adult lives. Every year their various special operations units meet, spend time together, and work together to keep some proficiency.
It would be great to be able to be a Green Beret for life and not only certain years. The private sector is steaming with innovation and exceptional skills you aren’t exposed to in the active duty military. The same is true of the opposite. Many reservists and national guard positions aren’t designed to accommodate to a civilian life. The flexibility is still dependent on your command. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter wants to open senior level positions to senior private sector executives. Whether or not he’s paying back his friends and supporters from a life in politics or it is the right decision is unclear. It depends on the positions and roles these executives would obtain. But it’s a step in the right direction, toward something new.
There’s are changes we need to continue to be the world’s most capable force. Irregular warfare and the kind of nontraditional warfare the Russian have undertaken in Ukraine and in the geopolitical realm should be a key indicator that things have changed. The rest of the world understand they cannot defeat us in a fist fight. But even boxers live the majority of their lives outside of the ring.
Featured image courtesy of mideastshuffle.com.