The final military speaker at the Transformation Warfare conference expressed an opinion about combat that was contrary to all of speakers who had come before him. In his presentation Thursday morning, Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder, USMC, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, said he is concerned that the U.S. military is allowing the current war to conclude that the character of combat has changed. “I don’t believe that is true at all,” he stated. The nature of warfare is fundamentally the same, and the end of major combat operations is nowhere in sight, he added.
Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder, USMC, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, challenges industry to design devices that will lighten the warfighters’ load. Currently, Marines must carry more than 60 pounds of equipment in temperatures that can reach 120 degrees.
“We need to be ready for a cross section of conflict that comprises chaos, friction and uncertainty,” the general said. One way to handle this is to push decision making to the lower echelon warfighters and allow them to act based on the information they receive from commanders through innovative technologies, he added.