America’s longest war — 20 years in Afghanistan – is winding down this year by order of President Biden. The Washington Post recently interviewed Gen. James McConville, the U.S. Army chief of staff, and asked about the American army post-Afghanistan. McConville backtracked a bit and pointed out to the interviewer the accomplishments in the war.
“I know what it means to send our sons and daughters off to combat,” the general told the Post. “They’ve done an incredible job. They’ve basically prevented al-Qaida from attacking our country again. But there’s much, much more work that’s going to be needed to be done in Afghanistan.”
Bad behaviors not allowed
Gen. McConville was asked about political extremism in the ranks in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. At least 52 active or retired military, law enforcement, or government service employees were among 400-plus suspects arrested in the Capitol incident.
The general referred to “harmful behaviors” such as extremism, sexual assault and harassment, and racism, and said the Army works hard to weed out such behaviors because they ruin team cohesiveness and lower trust the American people have in their military.
Gen. McConville said one bad apple is one too many, but he acknowledged the existence of unwelcome attitudes and actions among some soldiers.
Gen. McConville told the Post the Army needs to transform itself every 40 years. Interesting. Never heard that before, but I’m not a West Pointer. The general pointed out transformation occurred in 1940 in preparation for WW II and in 1980 (when McConville joined up) with the introduction of the air-land battle concept and the all-volunteer force.
The latest transformation involves “multi domain operations,” part of the “joint force fighting concept,” McConville said. So what is that? Warhistorybuffs can guess. It means the military branches will work together more than they ever have. As McConville put it: “… working together to bring forward a combined joint all-domain command and control system that will allow us to tie our sensors and shooters all together and to give us the speed, the range and the convergence that we need for decision dominance and for overmatch.”
The general hinted at some of the future weapons systems. “We are committed to developing and fielding … long-range precision fires to next-generation combat vehicle to future vertical lift to a network that ties everyone together, to air missile defense and soldier lethality.” And to tie it all together McConville said the Army will “compete” for the talented young women and men needed to staff the Army of the future.
The Post tried to get Gen. McConville to talk about turf battles with the other services, but he didn’t take the bait.
“We all want to win,” he concluded.
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