Holy shit, this guy is a "back to basics" commander who actually seems to give a shit about the American soldier. Best thing about him that I have seen is that he considers "THE NATION" the highest priority and does not even discuss bullshit futuristic nonsense:
New Army chief of staff eyes big changeshttp://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/05/army-martin-dempsey-eyes-big-changes-050711w/
By Lance M. Bacon - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday May 7, 2011 9:04:16 EDT
The day after he became chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Martin Dempsey was given an in-depth assessment of the state of the Army he took over. It was not a pretty picture.
The report, assembled by a transition team of 20 hand-picked officers and NCOs, described an Army where:
• Tension exists among military and civilian leaders.
• Many soldiers lack training and discipline.
• Concerns about future deployments and budget cuts weigh heavily on senior leaders.
• Soldiers are promoted before they are ready for the next rank.
The Army Transition Team’s April 12 report, titled “What we heard ... ,” is a compilation of findings from anonymous surveys conducted with the Army’s leaders, soldiers and families.
Dempsey embraced the report as a catalog of opportunities — a road map to fix an Army frayed by 10 years of withering deployments to two wars.
“The report was very informative,” he wrote in an email to Army Times. “The team threaded together many different inputs into substantive and concrete insights that have informed my thinking on the way forward for our Army.”
Dempsey said he and Secretary John McHugh have built “a shared vision” for the Army moving forward. He said McHugh “has been a superb partner in helping me think through how to confront not only the challenges in front of us but importantly, the many opportunities we have to build a better Army for the nation.”
This approach speaks directly to the first order of change.
1. Better teamwork at the top
All of the assistant secretaries and the Army staff surveyed by the transition team said there has been “significant tension” between the civilian and military staffs. Some attributed this to a “bad match of personalities and working styles” of McHugh and former chief Gen. George Casey.
The assistant secretaries said they had little interaction with Casey. Those with military deputies had more favorable opinions, and most were complimentary of the Army Staff, but said it was “not sufficiently responsive or agile.” The assistant secretaries also said they would like to interview and comment on general officers being considered for key positions within their functional areas.
The Army Staff said its size and expertise put the assistant secretaries “at a disadvantage in collaborative open forums, which leads to the opaque, defensive decision-making style that is now prevalent.”
Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, while discussing the future Army on April 27, affirmed that the “big five” (the secretary, undersecretary, chief, vice chief and sergeant major of the Army) don’t meet regularly as a group — something Westphal hopes to see weekly or at least twice monthly.
2. Make better leaders
Fast promotions and record rates have created a massive gap in leadership, respondents said. Professional Military Education deferments and the lack of coaching and mentoring have negatively affected professional development.
Leader courses are “too short to be of value,” and intermediate-level education is a last “check the block” before promotion to lieutenant colonel, participants said.
Respondents called for slower promotion rates, a revised grade distribution, a focus on fundamentals and emphasis on home-station and virtual training.
Dempsey has taken some of the themes to the field. In a speech to troops in Iraq during his first week as chief, Dempsey said the Army is reviewing the promotion process to ensure that only the most qualified move on to the next rank.
“We’re promoting 95 to 98 percent of captains to major, 93 or 95 percent of majors to lieutenant colonel,” Dempsey said. “We’re not really separating out the true high performers that we should aspire to have. We shouldn’t be satisfied that 98 percent of captains are being promoted to major, because 98 percent of captains don’t deserve to be promoted to major. Statistically, that’s an infeasible percentage. And we’ve got to do the same thing on the noncommissioned officer (NCO) side.”
3. Let good leaders teach
The training base has been significantly undermanned and underfunded, the report said.
“TRADOC manning says 80 percent, but when you add in the drill sergeants and others who are manned at a targeted 100 percent, the rest of the training base is really at much lower manning levels,” one participant said. Another said instructor duty is not viewed as career-enhancing and the training base does not get the most talented leaders as a result.
The perceived gap between the operating and generating forces must be eliminated by ensuring soldiers and officers are not disadvantaged for serving in the generating force.
“Restore the luster to the institutional Army,” one participant said. “We used to send our best company commanders to go be instructors.”
4. Restore the ‘Profession of Arms’
Survey participants said the “Profession of Arms” is becoming a lost art, especially among junior officers and noncommissioned officers. Common military courtesies are fading, drill and ceremonial skills are wanting and some soldiers are not meeting fitness standards.
The dulling of these skills is largely due to the deployment cycle of the past decade. This only adds further concern because 72 percent of soldiers and 81 percent of staff sergeants and below entered service after the 9/11 attacks, as did 40 percent of warrant officers. Forty-five percent of officers and 72 percent of company-grade officers are also in that category.
Senior leaders described the post-9/11 soldiers as tactically experienced, culturally aware, eager and ready to serve. But they also are “at risk to disenchantment in a garrison environment,” prone to leadership through texting rather than personal contact, and were described as an “entitlement” and “train-me” generation.
“We are not a profession just because we say we are,” Dempsey said. “We have to live up to the standards.”
5. No double standards for discipline
Respondents said two different standards — one “deployment” and one “garrison” — are undermining discipline and allowing “some leaders to turn a blind eye to indiscipline and misconduct.” Participants reported “a large number of cases of willful disobedience.”
“We are frayed on accountability,” one participant said. “It boils down to hierarchy of values, loyalty to our subordinates or loyalty to our profession. Battle tested bonds cause leaders to look away.”
6. Keep commanders longer
One senior medical leader said the departure of leaders makes it difficult to manage high-risk soldiers.
“[The Army] should not change battalion commanders and sergeants major until after R+90,” or return date from deployment plus 90 days, the medical leader said. “Our system says that we cannot afford to keep them that long, but we can’t afford not to. We keep putting fresh riders on tired horses.”
This also has an effect on mentoring. Brigade and battalion commanders typically work for three to four division commanders during their tour and company commanders in echelons above brigade, or EABs, have three to five battalion commanders in a command tour, the report said.
7. Let good soldiers lead the way
Now is the time to reinforce “high standards with an attitude of individual and leader pride and willingness to self-police,” respondents said.
NCOs must have ownership of the daily activities in the unit.
8. Keep only who you need
In this era of pending budget and personnel cuts, respondents said it is time to maintain the innovative, combat-experienced leaders, eliminate underperforming officers and noncommissioned officers and tighten accession standards.
Medical nondeployable soldiers have become “a leading readiness challenge and significant drain on leaders’ time” and it takes “far too long” to get nondeployable soldiers out of the Army, the report said.
The approach is not lost on Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who in February told West Point cadets that it is important to focus on the top and bottom 20 percent of the force.
“The former to elevate and give more responsibility and opportunity, the latter to transition out, albeit with consideration and respect for the service they have rendered. Failure to do this risks frustrating, demoralizing and ultimately losing the leaders we will most need for the future,” he said.
9. Explain the way ahead
There is general uncertainty and a lack of understanding about the Army’s role after Iraq and Afghanistan, the report said. Full-spectrum operations also are a point of confusion. One brigade combat team commander described the doctrine as “everything from nuclear war to [counterinsurgency] and everything in between.”
Gates addressed this growing dilemma in his West Point speech.
The Army must “confront the reality that the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements,” he said, adding that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”
10. Give us fewer but better brigades
Westphal said a key point of discussion is whether all brigades should train to full-spectrum operations. He said it is important that the Army now look at specialized counterinsurgency, stabilization, and training/advisory brigades to deal with asymmetric warfare, which stands as a stark contrast to current doctrine.
Participants in the transition team survey like the brigade combat team model but want to refine the formation. For example, many called for an engineer and a third maneuver battalion in the BCTs, and are willing to give up BCTs to see it done. Respondents also said the EAB is completely broken, and relationships between BCTs, the division and the Corps need to be strengthened.
“You can plug and play modular units, but you can’t plug and play relationships,” one respondent said.
11. Fix acquisitions
Westphal agreed, saying “big changes” are needed on how quickly and effectively the Army makes acquisition decisions. He said such decisions must be resource-informed and transparent to the Army, industry and Congress. Lawmakers have expressed concern over modernization efforts due to previously flawed acquisition programs.
12. Fine-tune the deployment model
Leaders are still committed to a 1:3 deployment ratio, meaning three years at home for every year deployed. But the Army Force Generation model requires some fine-tuning, the report said.
While the model works, leaders said it makes less sense when supply exceeds demand and called it a “supply-based model in a demand-based world.” Leaders also agreed that divisions and brigades should be aligned as much as possible.
Manning also is an issue, as personnel often arrive too late in the process to allow for adequate training and deployment preparation, the report said.
13. Fix personnel management
Personnel management is a source of frustration, the report said. Manning remains the biggest frustration. In the words of one leader, the order to “man, train and equip” has become “train, equip and man.”
“Need a personnel system that restores human interface,” one respondent said. “Need a major course correction in our personnel management. We need to put the ‘person’ back in personnel management.”
Officers also said they want to have more input in their career paths.
14. Don’t build ‘two armies’
The transition team found growing concern over a perception that the Army is divided into “have” and “have-not” elements — namely, the Deployed Expeditionary Forces (haves) and the Contingency Expeditionary Forces (have nots). Leaders said constraints for non-DEF units are already setting in.
15. Specify how the reserve component will be used in the future
Lawmakers have repeatedly said the reserves must be sustained in order to meet current and future requirements. The Army Staff agreed that the reserve component “will play a key role in meeting future challenges,” but also expressed concerns about adequate access to critical functions. Other key questions include:
• Whether ready units will maintain adequate readiness to respond to a Haiti-like natural disaster.
• Whether there will be sufficient resources to maintain units from each components in the ready phase.
• Whether the Army can or will send a reserve unit when an active unit is also ready.
16. Protect benefits
Commanders said they see health care benefits getting cut, especially in the area of mental health, and are worried about the effects.
Westphal acknowledged Tricare, the commissaries and “all the benefits we’ve enjoyed” will come into question as budget cuts deepen.
Health care costs have more than doubled in the past decade to more than $50 billion. Gates, in the Pentagon’s 2012 budget request, looks to cut some of that cost by increasing Tricare Prime annual enrollment fees to $260 per year for an individual and $520 a year for a family. The current fees of $230 for an individual retiree and $460 for a family have not changed since 1996 when Tricare was created.
17. Provide better healthcare
Spouses at three of five major installations said they are frustrated with access to health care.
Respondents said behavioral health programs lack a focused approach and unity of effort. Spouses unanimously reported a stigma associated with seeking behavioral health services for both soldiers and family members. There also is a concern that the Army lacks the capacity — resources and commitment — for long-term soldier healthcare.
18. Give families quality dwell time
Unanimous feedback indicated a strong need for quality dwell time, meaning leaders must ensure soldiers can spend time with families.
Spouses said a 1:2 deployment ratio is “tolerable,” while a six-month deployment with 15 months home is “optimal,” as length of deployment impacts resiliency.
Spouses also said dwell does no good if the soldier is attending schools or doing field training throughout the time between deployments.
19. Fix family-assistance programs
Frustrations also were voiced regarding “unsynchronized, uncoordinated, overwhelming and too hard to navigate” family-assistance programs.
Multiple family-member programs cause redundancy and confusion, participants said. They want redundancies eliminated and funds better invested. This effort requires careful communication, some leaders warned, and cannot be seen as breaking faith with the Army Family Covenant.
20. Take care of children
Spouses at two large installations were “irate about the poor quality of education” and the lack of standards for transferring into another state’s school system.
The signal to families is that the Army does not care about children, respondents said. Many have turned to home schooling as a solution, they said.
21. Get back to being ‘America’s Army’
Respondents said the connection with the American people is strong but must be reinforced, and messages should define and enforce who the Army is, not the problems it has.
Participants said they felt the public’s connection with the soldier is stronger than its connection with the Army.
“Where is the message that says we are an elite unit?” one respondent asked. “You can try and join us, but you have to be tough and willing to fight for something bigger than self.”
“We should emphasize the role extraordinary leadership plays in who we are,” another said.
Dempsey said he and McHugh have used the transition team report, along with input and analysis from agencies such as academia, Congress, think tanks and mentors, to produce a shared vision that addresses nine focus areas the chief described as the “most important for our Army at this time in our history.”
They are: the nation, the joint fight, the Army family, mission command, the profession, leader development, the squad, the human dimension, and 21st century training.
Dempsey said he and McHugh will unveil the specifics in June during the Army’s birthday celebration.