WASHINGTON – Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville asked all Army personnel earlier this month to unite as a cohesive team and step in to prevent suicide, racism and sexual harassment/assault among the ranks.
Negative behaviors continually harm the force by breaking the Army's trust with the American people, McConville said during the Virtual Maneuver Warfighter Conference.
As the embodiment of diversity in the U.S., Soldiers must continue to set the example and help others, he insisted. Coalescing to combat against these harmful behaviors ties into the Army’s core philosophy of “people first and winning matters.”
“If we have an Army that is a cohesive team, where everyone treats everyone with respect and takes care of each other … everything else will follow,” he said. “And I would argue that if everyone treats others with respect, it would eliminate sexual assault/harassment and racism throughout the force.”
In addition to stopping malicious acts, Soldiers should step in to support anyone harboring thoughts of suicide, he advised.
“We have to connect with people. We have to connect squad leaders to their Soldiers … (and) to their families, especially with COVID-19 and social distancing where we are seeing so many become isolated. We are seeing some Soldiers who don’t have a support system," McConville said. “I need (the Army’s) help on that. We have to push this down to the lowest level.”
The philosophy of “winning matters” connects to readiness and lethality, observed Gen. Michael Garrett, commander of Army Forces Command.
The Army will need its “tanks to be able to acquire, engage and move on to the next target faster than the adversary,” Garrett said. “Our field artillery crews will need to be excellent in their actions to deliver accurate and timely fires.”
The foundation of lethality starts with each Soldier, Garrett continued.
“Our investment in (each Soldier) and our care of him or her is what drives them to be everything we need … (and) be successful,” he said while reinforcing the chief of staff's desire for a cohesive team.
It is up to every leader to set the example and provide proper training to ensure each Soldier feels empowered to intervene when necessary, Garrett added. Equally, each Soldier should take the time to learn more about their coworkers and connect on a deeper level.
In his remarks at the warfighter conference, McConville also mentioned the Army has shifted its focus from counter-insurgency operations to an era of great power competition against a near-peer threat like China and Russia.
Part of the Army’s refinement efforts are tied to the improvement of doctrine. The force is evaluating its Multi-Domain Operations construct, which envisions the way the force will fight across the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains.
“Great power competition does not mean great power conflict,” said McConville, adding the Army continues to modernize the force to remain competitive in a multi-domain battlespace.
Along with MDO, the force is providing input to the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept. It will allow the Army to group all command and control information under a non-linear product to bolster sensor and shooter capabilities.
In addition to improved doctrine, the Army is reevaluating the way it engages with a near-peer competitor using a Multi-Domain Task Force capability.
“We're in the process of experimenting and designing this organization,” he said. The MDTF will “operate below the level of armed conflict and be in a position to deter, or fight and win” if called upon to support.
The MDTF will be capable of providing long-range precision effects, support intelligence or information operations, and provide aid to Army cyber and space capabilities. Long-range effects could penetrate a competitor’s air and missile defense systems or other critical assets to help degrade an adversary’s anti-access and area-denial capabilities.