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interview: major general james dubik

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 Point instructor.
What is different about the interim brigades?

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 comes in.

We will not have six months to deploy in the future. Our potential enemies have studied the way we deploy. 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 that capability.

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 land.

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 there.

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 it.

What do you say to those people who say that we need an armored mobile gun system?

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 lethality.

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 fire.

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 that?

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 command authority.

In what areas have these studies been done, and over what period of time?

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 have.

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 leaders.

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 it.

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 better off.

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 (NTC)?

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 that force.

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 Division.

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 problem?

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 discussion.

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 combat."

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 fight.

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 transformations?

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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Solitary NationApril 22nd