Leadership: September 29, 2003

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The U.S. Army is undergoing a shakeup. The new Chief of Staff of the Army (or CSA), General Peter Schoomaker, was given the job because he has lots of experience working with the other services (as a result of being head of SOCOM, the Special Operations Command.) This also means he knows the value of well trained, well led and well cared for troops. This is leading to a lot of proposed changes;

@ A new emphasis on making sure all troops sent overseas are ready for action. This was not the case during the recent Iraq campaign, and led to things like PFC Jessica Lynch and her fellow support troops not being ready for an ambush. The new policy is, "never again." 

@ The Iraq experience is also leading to a fundamental reorganization of the army, as it becomes more of a brigade (rather than division) based organization. This is a change long in the making, with much discussion of eliminating either division or corps headquarters twenty years ago. Looks like division headquarters are going to go. 

@ A lot of buzz words (most of which were incomprehensible anyway) are out. These include "Objective Force" and a lot of mumbo jumbo about what the future army will look like. A lot of this work will continue, but without the jargon. Emphasis will be on getting the troops useful new stuff as soon as possible. There will also be some useful changes in the way business is done. 

@ A close look at army aviation is under way, to find out if this enormously expensive force is doing what it should be doing to justify its cost. Army aviation has gotten the "air force" disease over the last two decades, seeing themselves as more of an independent, and not just a supporting, force. Apparently this attitude is in for some adjustment. 

@ The "individual replacement" system is finally getting tossed out in favor of the more effective unit replacement. There will still be some individual replacements in units. But from now on the emphasis will be on replacing all the troops in an overseas unit at once. 

@ More effort is going into outsourcing non-combat jobs. A major one is base administration, which currently ties up thousands of troops. Why not have this done by facilities management firms? These outfits have been around for many decades and have handled large operations, and government ones with classified activities as well. Why not military bases, especially housing and purely administrative activities. Soldiers can still take care of firing ranges and training areas, but the rest can be farmed out.

 


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