The keynote speaker at the East: Joint Warfighting 2013 Wednesday lunch, Gen. Robert W. Cone, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, highlighted the progression from network-centric warfare to the Army’s digital divisions and rapid decisive operations in Iraq. In addition, the general discussed lessons learned, pointing to the conclusion that the nature of war remains a clash of wills and is inherently human.
The military also learned that it is impossible to predict the level to which humans can adapt. Gen. Cone said that coalition fighting in Southwest Asia showed a lack of understanding of this human equation of war. “Unless we pick this up as a key lesson, we’re going to come apart. We need to prepare the land forces so they have a good understanding of the human domain. The lesson was that we weren’t prepared for the human dimension [of the conflict],” the general said.
These are not criticisms of operations but rather lessons that will help the military—in particular the Army—prepare for future conflicts. For example, everything the military does must be linked to national security objectives the general said. If a tactic or idea works, the adversary will continue to use it, including kinetic and cyber. The range of military operations must extend from support to influencing human behavior, Gen. Cone said. To support these kinds of missions, the Army is aligning its force structure with the combatant commands’ needs.