Army Futurists Establish New Force 2025 And Beyond Directorate

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The Army's Training and Doctrine Command has stood up a new "Force 2025 and Beyond" directorate with the aim of guiding soldiers and industry through the service's future modernization strategy and mitigating risk as its forces draw down, according to the deputy director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

Maj. Gen William Hix told Inside the Army that the ARCIC officially established the directorate June 30 at Ft. Eustis, VA, after receiving guidance from Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

"Effecting change in the Army over a 20 plus year time horizon -- we're not going to get a single point of guidance," Hix said in a July 8 interview. "That guidance I'm sure will evolve because our understanding of the future will continue to evolve. We're in the anticipation business, not the prediction business, so things are going to continue to change."

The directorate, which will be led by Col. Gary Brito, intends to address near-term challenges from now until 2020 as the force draws down; challenges in the decade of 2020 to 2030; and any issues that may arise after 2030, Hix said.

"The fact that we're going to work against three time horizons -- the near, mid and far term. . . the change that we need to make in each of those time frames is still something that's being addressed as we speak," he explained. "Final codification in terms of written directives is something that's still being worked as the chief and secretary refine their thinking on it."

Last month, ARCIC director Lt. Gen. Keith Walker told ITA that he and other Army leaders "generally talk to the chief of staff about once a month on the development of force 2025 and beyond," and are also working to finish the Army's new operating concept, which will focus on how the service will operate from 2020 to 2040. The concept is expected to be published in the next few weeks (ITA, June 30).

Walker also said the service would like to have an industry collaboration forum as a way for defense companies to talk with Army leaders about required capabilities and potential solutions early in the force modernization process.

Hix, who spoke July 2 about preparing the Army for an uncertain world at a Stimson Center panel that was closed to the public, said the service is wrestling with several challenges, the most significant of which are the steep budget cuts driven by sequestration that could force its active-duty component down to as few as 420,000 soldiers from a wartime high of 560,000.

"My big point to them was that we really needed some stability . . . and without the opportunity of time it's very hard for us to affect any significant change in capability in five years to be able to mitigate that risk," Hix said. "But if we had more time, say a decade, which gives us an opportunity to at least exploit some systems changes and investment decisions, we can strike a better balance." -- Ellen Mitchell
 

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