The Army of 10 years from now is, most of all, going to need leaders, according to any Army official charged with examining the future of the service. It’s going to need to be prepared for threats from countries, like Russia and North Korea, and non-state actors, like ISIS. It’s going to need to keep improving its technology and integrating it, and adjusting to the fact the enemy is getting better technologically, too.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster kept returning to the “leadership” part Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. McMaster’s title is “Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.” He also happens to be one of Time‘s 100 most influential people this year.
“What we’re working on, really, is ways we can develop in leaders naturalistic decision-making,” he said.
And: “Once you give up land force capability, it’s not super-easy to regenerate it,” he said. And: “To grow an Army, you can grow privates fast,” he said, but above that, would-be leaders get formative experiences in combat “that give them the knowledge and the confidence to lead soldiers into battle. You can’t have that overnight.”
On technology, McMaster said adversaries are learning to counter U.S. technological advantages with such tools as cyber attacks or GPS jamming. They’re also “emulating our capabilities,” such as by obtaining access to technology with cyber theft. That means the Army needs to keep innovating, and one area of potential, McMaster said, is the ongoing growth of “autonomous and semi-autonomous systems,” beyond just weapons and into things like logistics. (That said, he’s warned of over-reliance on tech before.)