What is different about the interim brigades?
He is Deputy Commander General for Transformation at Ft Lewis, Washington and
is overseeing the creation of the Army's interim brigades. These medium weight
brigades are equipped with light armor and are meant to bridge the gap in
current operational shortfalls while the army designs its "future objective
force." The objective force will take more than a decade to develop and will
incorporate new technologies to make it as mobile as light infantry, but as
lethal as heavy armor. Dubik is a former infantryman, paratrooper and West
These brigades buy the United States options that don't exist right now. They
offer a combat organization that can go anywhere in the world very fast. When
they get there, they have significant combat punch, significant tactical
mobility, and can spread out over a large area very quickly and deal with any
situation that might be at hand.
This brigade idea has been percolating for a while.
The intellectual part of this has been going on since 1992. We started
thinking through this Louisiana Maneuver Task Force that we formed at Fort
Monroe, Virginia, in 1992. We started to say to ourselves, "Look, the world
has changed, the Wall's down, the Cold War is over, and the digital age is upon
us. We know this is going to affect how we fight, how we're organized, what
kind of equipment we need. Let's think through how these things will affect
the force." As we thought through 1992, we started to learn more about the
requirements that the new world order would have on the army.
So we did some advance war-fighting experiments in 1994, 1996, and 1998.
They're still going on. The experiments were designed to answer the questions,
"What works in the future? What won't work, and what has potential that we
need to continue to work on?" The more we did these experiments, the more
certain we were about some organizational designs and capabilities that we
wanted in the future. About 1996 to 1998, we said, "We know enough. Let's
start changing the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas." We started
that change and then we started to ask ourselves, "What happens after
this--what do we need after the Fourth Division?" That's where transformation
We realize now that we need a force that can deploy anywhere in the world, and
deal with any kind of war--a conventional or non-conventional war--and be able
to fight that. And we need to have this force connected to the tactical
Internet. The Internet is the new radio. Prior to World War II, radio allowed
forces to integrate and synchronize combat power much more effectively, and
pushed combat multipliers like artillery and mortars down to lower elements
like platoons and companies. The Internet will allow even more combat power at
the point of battle. So we put together this Internet capability--this
full-spectrum combat capability and rapid reaction force capability--and we
asked, "How do we build an this organization like that?"
That led us to transformation, and that's what we're doing here at Fort Lewis.
. . . We have brigades from the Eighty-second Airborne, the Ranger
regiment. . . . They can go anywhere in the world very quickly. But their
effectiveness is in a small range of operations. They will only be successful
against certain kinds of enemy, and under certain conditions of environment.
If you need someone to go someplace quickly and have significant combat punch,
then we're in trouble. Then we need a different force. Our heavy force, which
is the most capable and awesome heavy force on the face of the earth, can get
anywhere in the world, but it takes time. These brigades will give the nation
the combination of speed and combat punch that doesn't exist now.
General Shinseki said that the fate of the Eighty-second Airborne
in the Gulf was part of the thinking that went into the transformation.
Yes, that was part of the thinking. We want these brigades to be able to
respond to conventional war, as well as any other point of war. So what we're
producing in this brigade is a brigade that can follow an initial entry force.
That initial entry force could be the Eighty-second; it could be the United
States Marine Corps. Both are very good forced entry forces.
But if you want sustained land combat--if you want a force that has a staying
power and a fighting power--then you have to follow the forced entry force with
an organization that can tap into mortars, artillery, attack helicopters, air
force air, and navy air. You need a force with an organic capability for
direct combat. That's what these brigades have.
Why is there a sense of urgency?
The sense of urgency comes from the near-term strategic requirement that we
perceive exists. We need to produce a combat force for the nation that can go
anywhere in the world very quickly, prevent war from breaking out or from
expanding, and be able to operate across a wide area. That force doesn't exist
now in any of the services. The country needs that force because the world has
changed. We have been able to enjoy a situation where heavy combat forces were
pre-positioned or forward deployed. . . .
The Gulf War showed us this that the next regional contingency, the next major
war, could come anywhere. And it could come in a place that has an unimproved
infrastructure, not very many airports, not very many seaports, and not very
many heavy bridges. So we need a force that can go into that kind of
environment and succeed. That force doesn't exist, and these brigades create
What do you say to people who say, "We won the war. We have the best force
in the world, now called the legacy force. If it's not broke, don't fix it."
What do you say to those people?
Well, we were lucky in the Gulf. We deployed quickly, but it was six months
later before we had a decisive combat force there to deal with the Iraqi
threat. We will not have six months in the future. Our potential enemies have
studied the way we deploy, and they know what we need. Right now--whoever the
potential adversaries are--they are looking for opportunities to interrupt our
deployment. So the more he can interrupt our deployment, the less we'll be
able to affect the outcome of the conflict. So we need a force that doesn't
have to go to the main airport, or to the main seaport. It can go to anywhere
in that country. That forces a potential opponent to look around his whole
theater, because any 2000-foot dirt strip is a place where this brigade can
Some people say the airports and the seaports that you have to go through
are predictable, and refer to them as "the canyons of the future," like the
western cavalry riding into an ambush. Is that an Achilles heel for us?
I wouldn't say an Achilles heel, but it is a vulnerability. I'd call them
ambush magnets. If an enemy knows you have to go to the main airport, it
doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine a way to prevent you from going
What this force allows us to do is to complement what the Marines and the Air
Force have. The more threats you can pose to an enemy, the more he's got to
disperse his force. If you have only a one-dimensional threat, either from the
ground or from the air, the enemy can optimize his defenses and his offenses.
By combining an air threat and an amphibious threat and a ground threat with
our naval threat, we give the enemy cause to pause. We can come anywhere.
That's the position you want to be in--combat overmatch. We're not interested
in fair fights. We're interested in wins.
How much did the transformation draw from the lessons learned with Task
Force Hawk in Kosovo?
Task Force Hawk was one of the influences. If you look at the variety of
operations that we conducted since the end of the Cold War--Panama, Somalia,
Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo--each one has some very similar characteristics. One,
they're underdeveloped infrastructures. Two, there was a variety of threats.
Three, those threats are both conventional combat and asymmetrical. And four,
they're very hard to get to due to the long logistics line.
So what we want to do, as an army, is look at those as examples of future
conflicts. We don't want to prepare better for the last war. We want to be
ready for the next kind of war. And what the next war needs is a force that
can go into anywhere very quickly, doesn't need a big logistics tail, doesn't
need a main airport. They can plunk themselves down and be combat ready upon
arrival. That's what this brigade does, and that's what the future objective
force will do as well.
Some critics say that the only reason we're dealing with transformation is
just to address the short-term need, the short-term expediency of addressing
Task Force Hawk.
I disagree. The second role that the interim force has is acting as a
pathfinder for the non-materiel aspects of change. Look, when you're in a
changing army, there are two parts you have to change; the materiel part or
the future combat system. Everybody knows how you do that. People always pay
attention to that. But that's really the easiest part.
The hardest parts are getting the doctrine right, the training right, the
leader development right, the organization right; combat power is not just
having things. Combat power is being able to use things well, and using things
well to win means you've got the right leaders, the right soldiers, the right
training and the right doctrine. The interim brigades are starting to
investigate those non-materiel aspects of the future, while we invest in
science and technology to tell us what the materiel solutions are. We want to
put those two things together. We don't want to wait until we have a new piece
of equipment, and then five or ten years from now ask ourselves how should it
be organized. . . . We can get at those answers right now. That's the second
major function of the interim force.
Regarding materiel, there has been a huge emphasis on a piece of equipment
being chosen. Why has there been such a focus on the equipment?
Because you can see it. It's easy. But nothing could be farther from what
we're trying to do here. We're changing the way we fight. This is the
conceptual shift of the United States Army. This is about adding new
capabilities. This is about broadening the options that our national command
authorities have. That's what transformation is about. Derivative from that,
we ask ourselves, "What's the right kind of equipment to do the kind of
fighting we want?" So from our standpoint, the equipment is derivative,
although many other people are interested in equipment, because you can see
What do you say to those people who say that we need an armored mobile gun
In World War II, General Patton said that the best way to defeat a tank is a
great anti-tank weapon. The tank is used for speed, shock, mobility and
psychological effect on the enemy. That's what a tank does. A tank will
change as technology changes. What we're looking for from technology is, "Can
science and technology give us new materials to substitute for steel? Can you
have composite alloys? Do you have some way to build a tank without steel?"
If the answer is yes, then think of the significant weight savings. After
that, can you give us a new propulsion system? The new propulsion system may
not use fossil fuel. Together with a lighter tank, you can see those savings
in logistics without any loss in survivability. There's no loss in the
The third question that we're asking is, "Can you give us a substitute for gun
powder and munitions? Can you give us something at small-projectile hyper
velocity with the same penetration and killing power that we get out of kinetic
energy now?" Put those three things together--new armaments, new propulsion,
new metals--and you have a tank with speed, shock, firepower, and
psychological effect--and it doesn't weigh as much as it does now. That's what
we're after in the objective force.
One of the biggest criticisms is there's no way that's it's going to be able
to stand up [to machine guns] and that you're putting the force at severe risk from any direct
It will stand up to 50-caliber machine guns. But the question is really being
asked incorrectly. The right question is what's the right force against a
threat? If we're going into a place that has lots of tanks, then send in the
heavy force. We've got the best heavy force on the face of the earth. Nobody
is going to mess with the United States Army's heavy force. That's why we're
in the position now of asymmetric warfare. They don't want to be symmetrical
with us. So the threat is armor. Send in the armor and call it a day. No
one's going to beat us.
But we have this range of other requirements that we can't meet right now. How
many class-70 heavy bridges are there in the Third World? How much developed
infrastructure is there in the Third World? The heavy force is great within
its range of utility. We've got this gap right now in the force-- something
that can deploy quickly, and has tactical mobility to spread out quickly and
significant combat punch. That's what this brigade does, and nobody's going to
want to mess with this brigade when we're done.
But where is the rigorous analysis that backs up the concept here? Some say
this is pie in the sky technology.
It's not pie in the sky. Hope is not our method. We've invested a lot of
money in science and technology. The contracts are out with four or five
different industries. There is sufficient evidence to believe that our three
desires--armament, propulsion and new metal--are completely achievable. Look,
in the last few years the race car industry has produced some of this composite
alloy material. They're interested in very high performance under stress and
high, high heat conditions. We're interested in that, too. Some things that
were not available five years ago, are now very available. Look, in 1992,
there wasn't even an Internet. And now eight years later, it's the main thing.
So what's possible in technology now is much greater than what was possible
just five years ago.
We have the analysis. The science and technology guys are excited about this
project. There's also significant analysis in this organization. We have
worked for the past eight months at a level of effort to produce enough
analysis. So we are confident in saying to anyone that this organization and
these fighting techniques are what we need now, and what will be the right ones
for the future.
Another criticism is that General Shinseki is just going too fast, and that
we've got to stand up these brigades side by side--that we've got to test track
vehicles and wheeled vehicles.
Fast is good. Faster is better, and real fast is best. When you're changing a
large organization, you don't want to slow down. Speed is good. Speed is good
for change, and speed is good for the nation. Right now, the nation does not
have the options it needs. The national command authority needs an option that
provides a significant combat organization that can go anywhere in the world
quickly. Speed is necessary to produce that for our nation. Speed is also
necessary to change a large organization. Read anything about corporate
change, and one of the first things that anyone will tell you is the faster you
go, the better off you're going to be.
Congressional representatives on the House and Senate Armed Services
Committee both said almost apologetically, "I'm not usually the one who argues
for the army to go slower. But I want them to go slower.". . . What's wrong with doing that?
The first thing our constitution says is that Congress raises an army. So our
responsibility for national security is a joint responsibility. It's the
Department of Defense, it's legislative branches, and it's the executive
branch. So this is a joint affair, and this is a good thing. Second, when you
have change as fundamental as this, you want to have reasoned debate, and you
want to have reasoned discussion.
So the discussion among the set of people responsible for national defense is a
good thing. We're a democracy. This is just the kind of thing we should have.
Last, however, we have put significant amount of analytic effort into producing
this organization, into making these recommendations. I can provide feet of
analytics stacked one upon the other. We've done this for several people
already. The way we're approaching this is very well supported. . . . This is
a well thought-out operation.
I asked General Shinseki about side-by-side experiments for the interim
armored vehicles. He said it's basically going to take a year to make the
comparison, and by that time, he's lost two years. What is your feeling about
My own opinion is that it is unnecessary. We have been experimenting with this
since 1994. We have a tremendous amount of experience as to what kind of
materiel is needed to support the new operational concept. We have a
tremendous amount of experience about what will succeed today, and tomorrow, in
defeating anybody who might be our opponent. There's enough analysis there for
us to feel very comfortable about the direction that we're going. If we're
required to do a side-by-side comparison, then of course we will. It will slow
down transformation. And slowing down transformation--again, in my
opinion--will reduce the options that we have available for our national
In what areas have these studies been done, and over what period of
One could go to the combat development office in the training and doctrine
command (TRADOC) and find any of the analysis that you want. But let me give
you one example. We started in late summer of 1999 with a current brigade, and
we said, "Let's change out all of this equipment, and just give it updated
equipment." Then we fought that brigade in a simulated exercise.
First it was analyzed by captains and majors, young officers, and NCOs who have
been on operations since the end of the Cold War. They looked at it, and made
some recommendations as to how we should change the organization. Then we
fought it again through several more simulations and looked at it again at the
two-star general level, then looked at it again at the four-star general level.
We did that for six months. We ended up comparing three organizations, side by
side, in this computer exercise. Each one went through the filter seven or
eight times, in three or four scenarios. These are hundreds of scenarios,
which support the organization that we have and the model of fighting that we
And the organization we ended up with doesn't reflect any of the ones we
started with, because this is an organization that has stood up to a very tough
war fighting analysis. The analysis combined operational experience, and good
solid analytical data, as well as the military judgment of junior and senior
Is it possible that reality and perception are different here? . . . Is
there just a perception that it's going too fast?
The work that the army has done since the early 1990s has set us up for the
ability to go faster. It is certainly the case that General Shinseki's vision
and his desire to transform as quickly as possible are his initiative and his
vision. He's pushing this, which is exactly the right thing to do. But he's
able to do it because of the work of the last eight years. Without that, we
would not be able to accelerate as we are able to and as we should. What we do
in the army, and in probably any service organization, is often behind the door
of public interest until something major like this occurs. But that doesn't
mean there hasn't been any work. There's been a lot of work behind the closed
doors for the last eight years, because this army wants to be stay relevant to
the strategic environment. This army intends to win, and to protect the sons
and daughters who are now soldiers wherever it goes. . . .
Is the M-1 tank a dinosaur?
The M-1 is not a dinosaur yet. But it will be a dinosaur. It is very necessary
right now. We cannot do without it. That's why you see our investment in
recapitalization and modernization. That's why you see our desire to retain
these forces. These forces are necessary to win a war if it's fought tomorrow.
Nobody wants to fight an M-1 tank. That's a good thing to put an American
soldier in. But sooner or later, in about ten years, that tank will be
outdated, just like the M-60 tank was outdated, and the M-48 was outdated before
that. All weaponry has a half-life. All weaponry becomes outdated. The M-1
will become outdated. Our job and our requirement to the American people is to
make sure that we're ready with the next tank, and that it's just as bad and
just as awesome and just as fearsome as the current tank.
Were the requirements for the Interim Armored Vehicle contract lowered for
the wheeled vehicles?
We looked at what the operational environment was going to be for these interim
brigade kinds of forces. We asked, "What are the right vehicle requirements
that would match the operational environment?" And we set that very, very
sternly. If you go to the operational requirements doctrine, you will see that
for each operational requirement, for each way we want to fight, we asked,
"What kind of terrain do you think we're going to fight in? What kind of enemy
do you think we're going to fight? What's our style of fighting? How do you
think we're going to deploy? What kind of infrastructure does this vehicle
have to ride over and under?" All of those things are reflected in what we
demanded of the vehicle.
Remember, this is not a tank. It's not meant to be a tank. If you want a
tank, we've got tons of them, and we'll bring them to the fight and we'll beat
anybody. But if you want a vehicle that can deploy in an environment that has
undeveloped infrastructure where there are no class-70 bridges, with the
threats against T-62 type armor and less, then this is the force to send. This
force is not a replacement for the Abrams. We're going to keep the Abrams
until we get the future combat system. But this force can do what the nation
needs, and can meet the requirement that we don't have right now.
But were the requirements lowered? Were they changed?
No, they weren't lowered. They were matched to the operational requirement. I
don't know what you're comparing this to, in terms of change, but the thinking
was to put the requirements on the vehicle that matched the operational
environment. That's what we did, and I think we're completely satisfied with
Are you finding an army resistant to change?
I find that once people find out what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how
we're doing it, they are very much in support of this operation. Those people
who are not in support are generally misinformed or uninformed. But as soon as
they figure out what we're doing and why we're doing it, and they realize a
common sense approach, they very much become supporters.
But look inside the army. We're having discussions. You would want these
discussions to occur in an organization that's going to have this much change.
You want the senior leaders of the army to have a free, open discussion about
what's the right set of tactics, what's the right kind of doctrine, what's the
right organization. That kind of responsible leadership is what our nation
expects of us, and that discussion is going on. But once we decide we're
moving up, we should tell people what we're doing. In eight months, we have
fielded a brigade, we've reorganized a brigade, we've equipped a brigade, and
we've started training a brigade. We're not wasting any time.
You're got these reconnaissance and intelligence (RISTA) squadrons. . . .
Is there a sound basis for believing that you will actually be able to get into
a vehicle that is less well protected, but will be able to evade fire?
Based on our experience in the advance war-fighting experiments, and I think
based on anybody's reading of history, in any period of history, the commander
who knows more can move his force out of contact, and can make contact at his
time or place of choosing. This is what Napoleon did. So this is not some
radical idea here. This is taking what we know to be proven military history.
Understand yourself. This is Sun Tzu here. Understand your enemy, and you're
Now, Sun Tzu didn't have the communications network. We do. Why shouldn't we
use the best technology available to help our forces understand themselves,
understand the enemy, maneuver out of contact and make contact at the time and
place of our choosing? This is something we should be doing. This is
something we are doing. Will we know 100 percent perfect what the enemy is
doing? Absolutely not. The enemy is deceitful. Sometimes your reports are
wrong, sometimes your reports are inflated. People get nervous and report
incorrectly, whether it's digital or voice. So it's never going to be perfect
understanding. But the more you know about yourself, the more you know about
the enemy, the more you can maneuver and make contact at your time and place of
choosing, and not be surprised by the enemy.
Based on this increased surveillance and intelligence capability . . . do
you think you would stand a chance against the National Training Center
Sure, I would take this organization to the National Training Center without
any difficulty at all. And my confidence comes from several areas. One is
understanding. This brigade has its own unmanned aerial vehicles. This
brigade can tap into all the airborne platforms, whether they're fixed wing or
satellites. This brigade can tap into its own long-range artillery fire. . . .
and can tap into attack helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, whether they're
Air Force, Navy or Marines. And so it will be able to engage at distances much
greater than any brigade can right now.
Number two, every single squad in this brigade--and there are 27 in every
battalion--has its own Javelin. A Javelin is a 2000-plus-meter anti-tank
missile that is very, very good. This brigade also has an anti-tank company
with two TOW missiles, with a distance of 3000 meters. Now, you put this
brigade in the right spot with its capabilities, and I'll take it to the NTC,
and I'll bet you two jelly doughnuts on it.
What do you say to critics who say that you can't really have change in an
army if you're going to keep this division structure?
First, we are flattening this organization significantly. In the logistics
structure, for example, the brigade support area is not just what's in stock
five kilometers behind the brigade headquarters. Because of its Internet
capabilities, this brigade can get stocks that are in the intermediate staging
base 100 kilometers behind. It can get stocks in-theater, in-region or all the
way back to the United States, so the number of logistics layers required for
this brigade is much reduced from the current brigades.
The same is true in its intelligence structure. We can reach with our
infrastructure back to the United States for intelligence information, thereby
increasing the protection, because we'll know more about the enemy. So we're
reduced the number of layers there. What people don't understand about a
brigade-level organization--and I can say this because I commanded a brigade in
Haiti that was a semi-separate brigade--is that a brigade commander needs a
higher headquarters. A brigade commander has to focus on fighting his battles.
The brigade commander maneuvers his battalions around to have the right effect
and to win on the battlefield. While he is doing that, he does not have the
time to do political military work, does not have the time to coordinate with
the joint task force headquarters to do the army force, ground force,
headquarters responsibilities. The brigade commander does not have the time to
coordinate logistics for all other ground elements in theater. He needs a
controlling headquarters. Now, that controlling headquarters may be a
division, or it may be a corps. And that division may not look like what we
have now. As a matter of fact, I'm fully confident that you and I could have
this conversation in about one or two years and you will be asking me about the
newly structured division. A division that commands this kind of brigade is
not the kind of division that we have now. But the brigades need some kind of
senior headquarters to allow the brigade to do its job in theater.
So is it a mistake to get rid of the division?
A mistake? The real question is, what kind of organization should function as
the resource for maneuver units? . . . What's the right unit that will resource
that brigade? What's the right level of unit and the right organization of
unit that will employ that brigade? And the answer to that will be some
unit--who knows what--maybe we'll call it divisions, maybe we'll call it corps.
But they will be of a different construct right now than the kinds of divisions
and corps that we have now.
Twenty years ago, there were eerily similar experiments on this base, trying
to do the right thing, trying to get off the ground on an experimental basis.
How are you sure your operations today will be different from the failed
experiments of the Ninth Division back then?
Well, first, I wouldn't call it a failure. We learned an awful lot about
deploying from the Ninth Infantry Division, when they did the high-tech fight
division. We learned an awful lot about exploiting technology. So the lessons
learned were embedded in much of what we're doing right now. Where we were
deficient however, in our last attempt at Fort Lewis, was where we severed the
relationship between the deploying army at Fort Lewis and the TRADOC
organizations. TRADOC has a responsibility for developing the right
organization, the right doctrine, the right tactics, the right leader
development schemes, and the right education programs. So as you change a
tactical force, you must also change all those systems required to generate
Where we erred in the Ninth was trying to change the deploying army without
changing all the generating systems associated with the deploying army.
That's why I'm here. I'm a TRADOC general. That's why I work for General
James Hill. He's a FORCECOM general. The two of us have to work together to
develop this thing. We worry about changing the fighting organization and at
the same time getting the doctrine, the training, the leader development, and
the organization right, as well. What we want to have is a set of systems that
can continue to develop this army. And I think that's one of the lessons I
learned from reading the after-action reports from the Ninth Infantry
One of the reasons that the Ninth didn't get its chance was a lack of heavy
armor. Is there any chance of that happening to you?
I don't think so, because, again, the armored community had been involved right
from the start with this interim force. And we're keeping the legacy force.
Many people get this wrong. We are not substituting the interim force for the
armor force. The interim force does two things for us. First, it provides the
near-term requirement that we need to deploy an organization very quickly with
combat punch. Second, it acts as a pathfinder to the future, so that when we
buy the new future combat system, we have all the doctrine and training stuff
right. We're not a substitute for the legacy force.
One of the other reasons the experiments of the Ninth Division were killed
was that the weapons system that was vital to it was derailed. There's talk on
Capitol Hill of taking a very close look at the interim armored vehicles, and
the debate over tracks or wheels. Could your program be derailed by the same
Anything is possible, but I think that calm heads and common sense will
prevail, and what will really prevail is everyone's interest in doing what's
right for the country. People on Capitol Hill want the best army for this
nation. So does the Department of Defense, so does the Department of the Army.
And once all of us get educated, and once all of us talk through our
difficulties and once we come to a common understanding of what we're doing, I
have full confidence that the right answer will emerge from that kind of
What do you say to the critic who says what you're doing here is just
building a peacekeeping force?
I say to him, "Come out and watch that training, watch us fight. Watch us go
into the urban combat. Bullets fly within five feet of one another as you're
going into a city. Come and watch us do trench drill, when you're going
through trenches and throwing grenades. Come and watch us do combined arms
fighting with mortars and field artillery, and then tell me that I'm not doing
What's required of this force is combat capability. And combat capability has
to be used in any kind of war, from the conventional war like Korea, like the
Gulf War--we've got to be useful there--but also the combat capability required
in Panama, or in Somalia, or in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.
A mistake many people make is the conclusion that there wasn't a lot of
shooting in Haiti, or in Bosnia, so maybe there's not force being applied.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. You go into these countries, you go
in these operations, and you don't succeed because you wear an American flag on
your shoulder. You succeed because people are afraid of you. You succeed
because you have combat capability. You succeed because some thug or some
enemy is not going to shoot at you, because he's afraid he's going to die. So
when you train an organization like we are here, you train it with combat
capability that is useful, either in conventional combat or any other form of
war. It's that quality of combat quality that resides in every army unit, and
it's our corps competency that we will bring anywhere to the fight.
What does this interim force get us in terms of maintaining an edge?
Let me use Korea as an analogy. We were the most successful army in the world
after World War II. Then we lost our edge. We sent forces to Korea in the
beginning of the war that were ill-prepared to conduct combat. They lost their
ability to do overmatch. And in many ways, they were an army of occupation, an
army not focused on combat, an army that didn't keep pace with the times.
Transformation allows us to keep pace with the times. It allows us to prepare,
and is a deterrent, in a sense, to keep the next war from happening. As long
as you keep an army or an armed force that is so fearsome that a possible
opponent won't start a war, you stay in asymmetry. As soon as you create the
conditions where your armed force is no longer feared, then you give the
opponent the thought that maybe he can get away with it, maybe he can start a
war. And you're back in just where you don't want to be--where you have to
And so as we do this transformation, the first piece is to get the interim
brigades right and to retain the legacy force. The next piece is to invest in
science and technology, so that we can replace the legacy force with something
that will retain that overmatch. We know that there is a high probability that
if there is a next war, it won't be where we have pre-positioned stocks and
forward deployed units. It'll be someplace that we have to deploy
unexpectedly, and it will have infrastructure that won't be robust. And it
will have a variety of threats--conventional, special police,
unconventional--and we've got to be prepared to win under all of those
conditions, in any place where our national interests are threatened.
I might say, "Okay, I'll take my future combat system. Just let me know
when it's ready. But I don't want to do this interim stuff."
Then I say that you misunderstand what changing an army is about. The first
part of the army is getting the right doctrine, the right training, and the
right leader. It's got nothing to do with the equipment. So you want to get
that part right. The interim force allows us both to have a capability that
doesn't exist and to get at those non-materiel aspects of the future. As the
future combat system comes aboard, we can match the materiel solution with the
non-materiel solution, and get to the objective force faster.
Are you're saying that the emphasis on the equipment . . . in some ways is
the least important?
The equipment side of change is the easy side. The non-equipment stuff is the
hard part, and that's what takes time. We're talking about changing the way
people think, changing the way people are organized, changing the way people
will fight. That takes time. Human beings don't change in an instant. You can
change a piece of equipment by issuing it, but you can't change a person's mind
in an instant. So the interim force helps us. Besides satisfying the
near-term requirement of deploying quickly with large combat punch, it helps us
get at the non-equipment aspects of the future.
What about the criticism that you put the cart before the horse? The British
or the French may have had a better tank, but the Germans decided how they were
going to use it.
Not so. First off, the Germans developed their doctrine without many tanks, if
you remember. They developed it in the inter-war period when they weren't
allowed to have tanks. So, again, the equipment doesn't have to precede the
doctrinal change. We're doing the same, or at least a similar thing here. We
can get at the doctrine fighting, the tactics, the leader development, the
organization, while we're developing the equipment. I believe that this is the
correct way to prepare ourselves for the future.
Some people say that the army is slow to change. Is that true?
People have accused the army of being slow to change. I find that pretty
interesting. because right now people are wondering why are we changing so
quickly. This is a great organization. Once we're confident that change is
the right thing to do, we'll roll along and we will move out at the pace we
think is right. Just last October, the chief announced this transformation,
and you have been around Fort Lewis. You've seen new organization, new
tactics, new training. It's happening here, and we're going to move out at
this pace so we can produce what the nation needs.
How do you convince people that it's worth paying for this when you still
have legacy weapons? The army can't have it all. So how do you
convince Congress and the people that this is worth it?
There is no such thing as a pre-transformation. And our responsibility is to
balance current readiness. You have to be ready to fight tomorrow if the nation
asked us to do so.
The second thing we have to balance is taking care of our soldiers and their
families, and there's a money aspect to that. And third, we must transform,
for all the reasons that we've just got done talking about. The three are
mutually collective requirements. Within the army, we're able to get at all
three, to a certain degree. You can change about one brigade a year within the
current army budget. What we are asking the other people to do--those who are
responsible for the security of the nation, the other members of the national
security environment--is to help us find more money so that you can keep the
three in balance and move forward at the speed that we want to. That kind of
discussion and that kind of argument is happening in Washington right now.
I would say to the American people the same thing that I've been saying to you.
This requirement is what the nation needs to prevent the next war. We invested
billions of dollars during the Cold War to prevent war from breaking out. And
now that the Cold War is over, one would be foolish to think that war is over.
War comes from the human heart. Greed, fear, revenge, hatred--we know that all those things reside in human beings. War has a very
strong future. And we need to be as dedicated to the deterrence of future war
as we have been dedicated to the past war. . . .
How would you compare this transformation to the previous Army
I believe that this transformation is the most fundamental change since prior
to World War II. That's a pretty big claim, because I know that we made a
significant shift after the Vietnam War. That's when we had developed new
doctrines, new leader development programs. We came out with new pieces of
materiel. But that one aside, every other change since World War II has been
an iterative change, making the tank a little bit better, making the infantry
fighting vehicle a little bit better--with the concept of fighting remaining
about the same. What we're doing now here is a giant conceptual shift. We're
shifting away from a paradigm that says, "Make contact with the enemy, bump
into him, develop a situation, have a fight, then maneuver your force to where
you find a weakness."
We're moving to a paradigm that says, "Understand the enemy and yourself. Move
out of contact, and make contact at your time and place of choosing." This is
a fundamental conceptual shift, and from that we will have to devise new
tactics, new doctrine, new leader development, new materiel, just like General
George Marshall did. Prior to World War II, he said, "I've got to change my
constabulary force into a modern army. I've got to change the way it fights."
And when he wanted to know how to do that, he went to Louisiana. He conducted
maneuvers, so he could figure out how to use tanks, how to use trucks, how to
use artillery, how to use a radio, how to use an airplane, how to mix them all
together. . . . That's what we're doing now.
But General Marshall had an advantage over you and other leaders. He had a
war going on. Is that a problem for you?
It's an opportunity. I don't take it as a problem. It's an opportunity for us
to say to ourselves, to citizens in uniforms and to citizens not in uniform,
"Let's not be in the position that Marshall was in 1939 and 1940, where we have
to create a force, where we have to fight a war. Let's not be in the position
that the United Kingdom was in 1939, where you have to fight a war. Let's
invest now to prevent the war. Costly maybe, but is the cost greater or less
than the lives of your sons and your daughters?" I prefer to invest now to
prevent a war, rather than invest later and fight it.
. . . What is the shape of war in the future?
The name I would put on future war is "variety." The question is not what's
the next kind of war--it is that war of many varieties could emerge. You have
a situation in the world now such that any potential adversary can buy a niche
advantage without very much money, and we want to be in a position so that
niche advantage can't be turned against us. We want overmatch. We want
overwhelming power. We're not interested in having a fair fight. We're
interested in winning.
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