Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley has new plans for the soldiers of the future, doing his best to ensure that the next warfighter will not be fighting a new war with the tactics of the last one.
“On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place longer than two or three hours, you will be dead,” Milley said. “That obviously places demands on human endurance.”
Milley envisions the future of warfare as one where “being surrounded would become the norm,” and where established bases like Bagram or Camp Victory will be unable to exist.
In a battlefield with supply lines that are constantly changing, contested airspace and drones monitoring movement on both sides at all hours, Milley says soldiers “being seriously miserable every single minute of every day will have to become a way of life.”
The former Combat Infantryman-turned Chief of Staff said at Tuesday’s Eisenhower Luncheon in Washington DC that the comforts previously seen and taken for granted in the War on Terror will be a fond, distant memory.
In the future, Milley predicts that the US Army will be constantly pushing to open up capabilities for the Navy and Air Force.
“Land-based forces now are going to have to penetrate denied areas to facilitate air and naval forces,” Milley said. “This is exact opposite of what we have done for the last 70 years, where air and naval forces have enabled ground forces.”
The general says that Army troops will fight with electronic warfare like never before, working on the land to eliminate enemy forces on the ground, air and even sea- with land based missiles.
“The Army —yes, the Army— we’re going to sink ships,” Milley said, “(and) dominate the airspace above our units from enemy air and missile attack.”
However, even with the technological edge currently on our side, enemy forces such as those of Russia and China will ensure that US troops will often be fighting in “stone age” conditions,with jamming making communications impossible. As such- the future soldier needs to know when to look beyond doctrine and take initiative without orders.
“Our most valuable asset, our most significant asymmetric advantage inherent in the American military and the United States Army. We come from a society of improvisers, a society of innovators, tinkerers, problem-solvers, techno-savvy at early age, and independence of action comes natural to all Americans,” Milley declared.
As such, Milley said that“the willingness to disobey specific orders” at times is a uniquely American asset that should be fostered, not suppressed.
“War tends to slaughter the sacred cows,” Milley warned. “It’s better to slaughter our sacred cows ourselves rather than to lose a war.”
According to Breaking Defense, Milley warned most of all that the US Army needs to adapt with the future, instead of fighting “yesterday’s war”, today.
In World War I, “nations and empires marched off to their destruction, blind, blind to the changes in war,” said Milley. “Let us commit to not march into that abyss, blind to the changes. Let us commit for once, once in our history, to not be unprepared for that first battle.”
“We’re the United States Army and we don’t shrink from tall orders,” Milley promised. “In the end, we will win.”
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