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NEWS | Oct. 13, 2023

Army chief of staff outlines service priorities at AUSA

By Joe Lacdan Army News Service

Simplifying the way the Army trains and builds teams while continuously transforming the force are among the focus areas of the Army’s new Chief of Staff Gen. Randy A. George.

George said the Army must reduce the use of complicated, cumbersome technology while leveraging technology that cuts costs, including video game simulations that can lower spending on training formations. Using artificial intelligence, the Army can replicate realistic battlefield scenarios with less assistance from additional units.

The Army’s top uniformed leader said the nation’s largest military branch must find ways to continually transform, including developing methods to better access and process data while enabling machine learning and autonomy.

“We have to ruthlessly prioritize how we use time and resources,” George said during an Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition’s Eisenhower luncheon Oct. 10. “Our days, dollars and decisions must be spent on building lethality and cohesive teams.”

George said the service’s top priority in transforming the force will be effective command and control as a foundation. In June, the Army discussed plans to transition to divisions as its unit of action to allow smaller units to maneuver and provide greater command and control capabilities.

The general recently visited the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany and praised the unit for its innovative command and control. The 2nd Cavalry’s regiment commander uses five Stryker armored vehicles digitally connected across the battlefield to exercise command and control.

“[The regimental commander] understands the challenges of large-scale combat operations and is adapting in real time to be more mobile, low signature and lethal,” George said.

George also said the Army can use simple, accessible technology such as a tablet to replace large operations centers.

“The world and warfare are changing rapidly,” George said. “We will stay ahead of our adversaries. And so, continuous transformation means iteratively adapting and evolving how we fight, how we organize, how we train, and how we equip.”

George said that he will place trust in Army leaders and commanders to decide how to invest in resources and find the means to build lethality.

The Army must remain ready when called to support operations worldwide. George cited the conflict in Ukraine as an example. Days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Army deployed an armored brigade in Poland and paratroopers in the Baltic region to bolster the war effort.

George also announced plans to reduce excess and little-used equipment to help deliver combat-ready formations.

“Our leaders spend too much time laying out equipment and checking serial numbers,” George said. “I talked to a company commander in Europe who had a 118-page property book. That makes no sense.”

Gen. Andrew Poppas, Army Forces Command commander, and Army Materiel Command leader Gen. Charles Hamilton will lead a two-year effort to reduce the supply of excess equipment at two divisions by the end of 2023. In turn, the initiative will save Soldiers hours from managing excess materials, George added.

George said the Army will reduce time spent on vehicle maintenance across the force with “modest changes” to maintenance intervals in the service’s fleet of vehicles. The saved hours will give Soldiers more time to train and spend with families.

The war in Ukraine also revealed the need for greater reserve munition stocks. George said the establishment of a Contested Logistics Cross-Functional Team earlier this year will help the Army create a more predictive maintenance model and leverage advanced manufacturing.

“We’ve learned so much from Ukraine’s experience and our experience supporting them,” George said. “We are going to adapt and change.”

During the next iteration of Project Convergence in spring 2024, the service will focus on establishing “kill webs” across the joint and combined teams with partner nations. Kill webs provide decision aides for commanders to quickly outline and identify tasking and re-tasking options on the battlefield.

George said the service’s efforts to modernize and innovate paints a positive portrayal of Soldiers to the American people. He said Americans see Army leaders who demand excellence and hold Soldiers accountable.

“This is critically important because the character of war is changing,” George said. “It is changing rapidly because disruptive technology is fundamentally altering how humans interact.”