Futures Command Adds New Tool for Preparing Army for Next War

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Crosby (left) holds the U.S. Futures Command's colors as (left to right) Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper, and Gen. John M. Murray unfurl the newly established command's colors Aug. 24 at Austin, Texas. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf)
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Crosby (left) holds the U.S. Futures Command's colors as (left to right) Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper, and Gen. John M. Murray unfurl the newly established command's colors Aug. 24 at Austin, Texas. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf)

Army Futures Command today took charge of a new forward-looking agency that will be responsible for making sure the service sees the threats it may face on tomorrow's battlefield.

Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capabilities Integration Center, or ARCIC, today became the new Army Futures and Concepts Center at a ceremony at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Most recently, ARCIC helped the Army publish the latest version of service's future fighting concept: Multi-Domain Operations 2028.

Moving forward, "this organization will set the foundation for everything Army Futures Command does; if we don't have a solid foundation of why we are developing capability, if we don't have a solid foundation of the concepts that we use on a future battlefield --what we really have is solutions in search of a problem," said Gen. John "Mike" Murray, commander of AFC. "So identification of that problem, identification of the concepts identification of the organization structure, will absolutely drive everything Army Futures Command does."

In late August, the Army stood up Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas to lead the service's ambitious effort to replace the Army's Cold War combat platforms known as the "Big 5:" -- the M1 tank, Bradley fighting vehicle, AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the Patriot surface to air missile system.

The Army has pledged to reach this goal over the next 10 years by following six modernization priorities of long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, a mobile network, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.

Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley will serve as the director of the new Army Futures and Concepts Center.

"We will describe the future environment, we will blueprint the future of the Army, we will describe the requirements that enable it and we will provide to our commander, for his signature, the strategy to get there," Wesley said. "We are future's foundry and that strategy will become the hammer of modernization."

Part of the role of the Futures and Concepts will be to continue to refine Multi-Domain Operations 2028, which evolved out of the Multi-Domain Battle concept published last year. The new concept will look for possible solutions designed to defeat the enemy's layers of anti-access and area-denial capabilities.

"We have still got to evolve this concept to put a finer point on it so we can start to identify capability gaps and seams that we need to address, so we can start to examine -- through experimentation and modeling and simulation -- changes to the organizational structure that have to happen," Murray said at a round-table discussion following the ceremony.

Before December's end, Murray said leaders at AFC and the Futures and Concepts Center will "map out the next 18 months," Murray said.

During the ceremony, Murray talked about his seven grandchildren.

"The youngest one is about two years old now ... 25 years from now when she is a Ranger Tab-wearing, airborne infantry company commander ... that is how I personalize this and that is how I believe you should personalize it," Murray said.

"This is not about us, this is not about us wearing the uniform today; this is about those that will follow us. I want them, whether that's my grandchild or your grandchild or your children, to have the concepts, the tools, the kit, the capabilities and the training that they absolutely must have to fight and win on the future battlefield."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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