Lt. Colonel Cal C. Nix spoke June 28 about current initiatives that are taking place at the United States Army Center of Excellence at the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Quarterly Breakfast. The breakfast took place at the American Legion with food provided by Post 73 and their Auxiliary.
Nix began by thanking the community for its support and involvement in military affairs. “I'd also like to thank all of you for your enduring efforts, to not only be positive and proactive members of the Enterprise community, but also for your dedication to taking care of our veterans, our soldiers and their families,” said Nix. “It's people like you all who continue to serve our nation in multiple different capacities whether it be supporting individuals who need help, or leading change within the community that inspires others to serve.”
Nix transitioned into detailing the current tactical approach of the Army. He explained that the Army has been in conflict since 2001 with both state and non-state actors. “Fighting against Al-Quaeda, the Taliban, Iraqi military and ISIS has provided the Army with multiple lessons learned and caused an evolution in our tactics, techniques, and procedures.”
Nix noted that they have had a strong upper hand in combating these regional threats. “We also have, in these environments, have had complete weapons and technology over-match against our adversary. And we do not, have not, had to overly plan to provide aviation effects on the battlefield due to operating relatively unrestricted, uncontested in having air superiority.”
Nix referenced former United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) commander, Lieutenant General Lundy, who is now the commander of the Combined Arms Center of Fort Leavenworth. Lundy and the rest of the senior leadership of the Army have recognized that their current fighting style has caused them to lose sight of skill sets necessary to fight and win a large scale conflict against a near peer threat, Nix said.
In their wisdom they published guidance focused on wining large-scale land combat in contested environments. This guidance included analyzing and updating doctrine, developing and procuring more capable munitions, changing the footprint and logistics of their headquarter elements and increasing the survivability of their aviation assets, among other efforts, according to Nix.
Nix explained that there was a need to update doctrine. He defined doctrine as the professional vernacular a professional Army uses. He explained the process of teaching doctrine to a particular Army.
“We first introduce doctrine to our officers when they start out at their respective commissioning sources,” he said. “They receive additional training on doctrine at the basic officer leadership courses and continue to refine their understanding of doctrine as they continue their professional military education at the Captain's Career Course in intermediate level education.”
He signified challenges surrounding doctrine if not well implemented. “The challenge with doctrine is that if it's not reviewed and updated and understood, it is no value added.”
As a result, there is an initiative to update doctrine and education practices. He mentioned that the Army was working on updates to training circulars and Army techniques. In addition, Nix said, USAACE is supporting Lundy’s requirements to update the Army’s operation field manual on how they fight as an Army.
He expounded saying the worst case scenario is a large-scale conflict with a peer or near peer threat. Ultimately the U.S. current conflicts have not prepared them for the dangers of facing a foe with equal resources, manpower and munitions capabilities while there is a revitalized effort to make sure their forces are prepared through training, doctrinal understanding and increased rigor.