The first speaker today at the Joint Warfighting Conference shared insights with another packed crowd. Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt, USA, deputy commanding general and chief of staff, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, talked about why the U.S. needs to become land dominant in warfighting once again. "When you start considering the land domain, we are certainly not dominant," he said.
To gain dominance in the land domain again will require a change in training. This already is going on as the land forces become trained not only in warfare but also in how to handle stability operations. This requires education about languages as well as cultures, the general stated.
The general also spoke about the U.S. Army's recruiting status. "We have a volunteer force, and we all recognize that that is indeed a national treasure," he said. However, he believes that in recruiting, the U.S. has a "looming challenging national crisis," as 70 percent of recruits now entering the Army require some kind of waiver-medical, physical or moral-to enter the service. The general admitted that the public questions this practice, but added that he responds by asking whether citizens would prefer to have these people entering the service, where they will be supervised by sergeants, or continuing to be on the streets. Although a shortage of soldiers may be around the corner, Gen. Valcourt stated that a draft is not an option.
In terms of training, the Army is currently using immersive technology to prepare soldiers prior to deploying to current operations. The general called for more of these systems.
He also shared that lessons learned from current operations are being incorporated into training within days. In addition, Web portals set up by the Army are providing situational awareness to deploying soldiers by enabling warfighters in the battlespace to share their insights in real time.
Listen to his address here (mp3 link):