Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

[UPDATED 6:30 pm]¬†HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: The ever-beleaguered Army has a reputation — not undeserved — for being bland, conformist, and bureaucratic, an organization where brilliant mavericks are forced to retire at colonel and the guys who make general don’t rock the boat. Just ask any of the long-serving and long-suffering officers convening here in Huntsville, home… Keep reading →

Army patrol Baghdad 2007

FORT BELVOIR: The intellectual ice is beginning to break. You could see it at the Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club on Tuesday afternoon, where the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) hosted a three-day, tri-service conference on “Strategic Landpower.” The US Army is wrestling with how to stay relevant once large-scale counterinsurgency in Afghanistan comes to… Keep reading →

In a conference call this afternoon to discuss the new Army Capstone Concept with reporters, Maj. Gen. Bill Hix made a special point of rebutting two recent articles in Breaking Defense.

Thursday’s article suggested the new Capstone Concept’s pledge to create unspecified “new formations… as early entry forces” might trespass on territory long claimed by the Marines. But the two services complement and consult with each other, rather than compete, said Hix, director of Concept Development and Learning at the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC). Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: “We in the United States are a bit arrogant in thinking [that] we own the technology high ground,” the civilian told the assembled generals. “Technology doesn’t necessarily belong to us and where it goes is not necessarily in our hands.”

For six decades, the United States could count on being the planet’s preeminent economic and technological power. Now, the US Army is looking into the “deep future” past 2030, when China’s Gross Domestic Product is expected to have exceeded that of the US. At a recent Army seminar on “strategic trends” — which Breaking Defense was allowed to attend on the condition we not identify participants by name — scores of military officers and civilian experts wrestled with a world in which the United States may have lost not only its economic primacy but much of its technological superiority as well. Keep reading →

LAS VEGAS: “We’ve been spoiled,” the colonel said. Since 9/11, the military has had “giant pots of money” to throw at urgent problems without going through the full acquisition process. It’s been a bonanza for contractors with innovative technology to offer. But as the war winds down, Lt. Col. Stuart Hatfield of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) warned, the war funding goes away — and the bureaucracy comes back.

The military will still invest in the now-archtypical unmanned missions like flying drones for surveillance and ground robots to clear bombs. It will also explore new areas like unmanned trucks for supply convoys and increase its focus on lighter, more deployable systems. But it will do so with fewer dollars and more rules. Keep reading →