The Future Is Uncertain, But The Basics Remain, Odierno Says

The Future Is Uncertain, But The Basics Remain, Odierno Says

No one is sure what threats or missions the future will bring in a world becoming increasingly complex and as the Army considers how to reposition and align itself after more than a decade of conflict, the chief of staff pointed to the bedrock basics the land force will build on.

“War remains a struggle to influence key terrain, populations, and governance,” Gen. Ray Odierno said at the Dwight David Eisenhower lunch during the Association of the United States Army annual conference Oct. 23.

The land service’s enduring mission and top priority is to decisively defeat any enemy on land, Odierno said. The Army must also be prepared to set conditions to deter conflict, and work with allies and partners to do so as well.

The Army also plays a critical role in shaping the strategic environment, and is an “indispensible provider" to the Joint Force, he said.

For the future, Odierno said, “We must develop adaptive leaders and employ regionally-responsive, mission-tailored strategic land power forces to ensure our strength for tomorrow.”

The service must build leaders who have strategic vision and mental agility and who will be stewards of the Army profession.

Considering the service interactions with populations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Odierno is not only harkening back to the Eisenhower era but to the soldier-statesman required in previous centuries.

The top soldier said the service must build its leaders from the team and squad level right through the highest levels.

Moving to the future Odierno said it was essential the service reorient itself toward a broader variety of missions and regions around the globe.

“Our ability to deliver truly strategic land power, however, requires an improved understanding of the convergence of the human, cyber and geographic terrain in which we will operate,” he said. Strategic results can only be achieved by influencing people, and doing so effectively.

“Success depends as much on understanding the social and political fabric of the surroundings as it does on the ability to physically dominate them," he said. "We must take full advantage of the growth and development of new technologies to educate and train the Force for operations on land as well as in cyberspace.”