War transforms armies. Combat accelerates transformation by
moving it out of the realm of academic debate and endless speculation
about the future to a pragmatic approach focused on
fielding new capabilities within new combat formations as soon
as possible. In war, transformation means conserving equipment
and operational methods that are still relevant while incorporating
new technologies, tactics, and organizations that enable victory.
It is nearly impossible to replicate in peacetime training the
true conditions of land warfare—ambiguity, uncertainty, and
above all terror, killing, and exhaustion. For the Army, the best
opportunity to transform involves parallel evolution, a method
that moves new technologies into combat formations today and
explores what the troops will actually do with them in action.
With a conflict in progress, this approach is better than trying to
predict future uses in an inflexible operational requirements document
developed in isolation from the field environment.
Joint, expeditionary warfare demands agile land, sea, and
air forces linked by more than simply networked sensors and communication.
Brain-to-brain connectivity animated by a cultural
predisposition to deploy and fight anywhere on short notice akin
to the special operations mindset is equally vital to transformation.
Additionally, routine joint training and operations within a
joint rotational readiness system are essential to readiness for
joint expeditionary warfare. In the new come-as-you-are strategic
environment, Army mission-focused force packages must bring
the Joint Force Commander the capabilities he needs, whether
they be theater missile defense or survivable, mobile, armored
fighting vehicles that deliver accurate, devastating firepower.
XVIII Airborne Corps seems ideally positioned to spearhead
Army transformation. Scaling, equipping, and organizing existing
XVIII Airborne Corps forces for integration as specialized modules
of combat power into plug-and-play joint command and control
structures, such as the notional Standing Joint Force Headquarters,
gives the Army an unprecedented opportunity to pursue
new directions in adaptive force design.
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