Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 22

10 years.2 Cone states that for the last decade, science and technology efforts have aimed to meet the Army’s needs in Iraq and Afghanistan—mostly short-term requirements.3 The result has been a force focused less on combined arms and more on counterinsurgency and wide-area security. The battle labs, justifiably, became Iraq and Afghanistan. As we slowly lost our long-term, over-the-horizon focus and concentrated on the close fight, we became less well prepared to meet ongoing national security requirements. More recently, the Army has begun to devote significant resources to exercises and experiments designed to determine and understand over-the-horizon requirements. The Army’s interim solution to meeting those requirements was known as “Army 2020.” This concept directed reshaping the current force structure into a smaller force with balanced capabilities. This would bring the Army back from a counterinsurgency force to an Army capable of fighting across the range of military operations.4 The Force 2025 Concept The next step must lead the Army further into the future. The Force 2025 concept answers the call from U.S. leaders to determine way points, based on strategic landpower requirements, that will guide long-term development and innovation.5 The Force 2025 concept describes how the Army will implement strategic landpower, employing a force that can stay regionally engaged to prevent and shape while maintaining the capability to win. Force 2025 integrates two approaches to force design. The first is outlining future concepts and capability requirements to guide investment in science and technology. The second is refining ways to test, evaluate, and field new technologies in order to get them into use rapidly. Force 2025’s goal is to integrate developments in science and technology quickly so we can build a more lethal and agile expeditionary force in the midterm. This will buy us time for scientific breakthroughs in 2030 and beyond. The starting point for the application of strategic landpower and the design of Force 2025 was a prediction of instability in the future global security environment. We must continue trying to anticipate the capabilities needed in a future force—even though the Army has a poor record of predicting the next fight. 20 An inclusive picture of the future security environment does not focus on a single threat but rather on overall conditions. This broad depiction is guiding developers to outline capabilities more like a multi-tool than a single-purpose bayonet. By considering these future requirements, as well as the capabilities our Army has retained from conducting unified land operations, and then taking a detailed look at our experiences and lessons learned over the last decade, Army leaders are building a blueprint for the future.6 This blueprint will guide the application of science and technology in building a leaner and more expeditionary Army. The Force 2025 design will use fewer resources to get the necessary assets to the fight and keep them there until the work is complete. It will lead to a force that is as lethal and protected as our current force but more mobile and sustainable. The force will need the network capability for operating in austere and dispersed environments, and the right leaders and soldiers to bring these capabilities together. Once the Force 2025 concepts are refined and put into a development strategy, we will need a practical way to transition from concepts to reality. As our forces draw down, we are losing the “battle labs” of Iraq and Afghanistan that we have been using for over 10 years. What remains is a limited Army experimentation capability consisting of local testing and fielding operations, center of excellence battle labs, and exercises known as network integration evaluations.7 “Force 2025 Maneuvers” is the Army’s vehicle for coordinating the evaluation of new capabilities.8 Force 2025 Maneuvers Force 2025 Maneuvers provides an operating plan that directs a series of exercises and experiments focused on validating capabilities requi