From the AUSA Meeting and Convention, Washington D.C. This is the follow up to our previous post on the Army’s Energy Security Panel that featured, the HON Katherine Hammack Assistant Secretary of the Army Installations, Energy and Environment, LTG Rick Lynch, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management/Commanding General, Installation Management Command (IMCOM), LTG Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. Chief of Engineers/ Commanding General United States Army Corps of Engineers); and LTG Michael A. Vane Director (pictured), Army Capabilities Integration Center, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (ARCIC). Prior to the panel discussion, Under Secretary of the Army, Dr. Joseph Westphal and Vice Chief of Staff Pete Chiarelli provided their thoughts and guidance to a crowd of over 200 military, civilian and industry participants. LTG Van Antwerp was followed by LTG Vane
In a previous post we describe the Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) role in transforming battlefield requirements into acquisition programs that meet those needs. TRADOC was ably represented on the energy panel (a first, we believe) by LTG Mike Vane. Vane brought home the challenges of operational energy for ground forces. From the twenty six major convoys a day taking upwards of forty five days enroute, to the 16 gallons a day per soldier, the challenges of keeping a modern, high tech Army in the field for years at a time have taken their toll. As he said, “supply chains with only one source are a golden opportunity for our enemy”. His job is to determine the requirements and the capabilities necessary to ensure the force can sustain itself not for day, not for weeks, but for years.
This is something our Army has rarely experienced and which it is just acknowledging. There has been discussion, but until TRADOC acts, no requirements are generated and therefor no material solutions are required. The publication of the Army’s Operating Concept for 2016-2028 has begun that process. Published in August of this year, the AOC describes “two big ideas”: combined arms operations and wide area security. The former means we have to use all the elements of national power to win and the later means to “consolidate gains, stabilize environments and ensure freedom of action”. In other words, what we should have been doing the last 7 years. It also means that the Army anticipates more of the same, so the challenges for energy will not change.
The initial energy White Paper describing the challenge is done. Next will be the Interim Capability Document that will describe what is necessary to prosecute operation in persistent conflict. This document will describe the requirements that must be met by the acquisition corps (GEN Chiarelli will help accelerate that process, I am sure).
In addition to describing the general capabilities necessary for support in persistent conflict, the ARCIC will produce a document describing the interim capabilities of the Base Camp. As one grizzled NCO told me in Afghanistan, “if you have seen one FOB, you have seen one FOB”. There will not be a cookie cutter solutions for our forward operating bases, but essential capabilities will remain the same. We will still need electricity to power the tools that provide our competitive advantage on the battlefield. We will still require motive power to get to the places we need to influence. We just need to be able to accomplish this without creating a target rich environment for our enemies. TRADOC must lead the way and the Acquisition Corps must execute violently. We are already behind.