By MG Peter M. Vangjel, Chief of Field Artillery
|The 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery (2-4 FA), fires a Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) 227-mm rocket at a building, in which insurgents stored explosives, near Bayji, Iraq, 27 December 2007. It was confirmed that the GMLRS destroyed the target. (Photo by SPC Rick Rzepka, 1st Brigade Combat Team [BCT], 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs Office [PAO])
This past year has been a fast-paced one of assessment, campaign plan
development, aggressive outreach and enthusiastic execution. The results have
been superb. While our maneuver commanders are providing rave reviews on the nonstandard missions their Field Artillerymen are executing they are expressing renewed interest in Field Artillery
(FA) skills and core competencies as well. Training and Doctrine Command
(TRADOC), Department of the Army (DA) Headquarters and maneuver commanders
worldwide have provided input and support to ensure we achieve and maintain
excellence in the Field Artillery. Now, more than ever, our maneuver leaders require the delivery of timely, precise fires and the simultaneous integration of lethal and nonlethal effects. Only the FA can provide both on a 24/7 basis, regardless of environmental conditions.
Our maneuver forces understand the significant effect of the right mix of lethal and nonlethal
fires. Our fire support personnel are the most adept at transitioning through the entire spectrum of conflict, from counterinsurgency (COIN) and stability operations in Iraq to conventional, high-intensity
fires in Afghanistan. The FA is relevant. That truth echoes from the corps commanders down to the squad leaders on patrol, who need immediate precision fires to take out a sniper threatening their Soldiers.
The FA’s performance in theater, together with senior leader discussions and maneuver commander requirements, have assured the permanence of FA and the Fires Warfighting Function. In addition, with the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C)—the first combat vehicle for Future Combat Systems (FCS)—rolling off the assembly line within the next two years and the NLOS Launch System (NLOS-LS) racking up successes with every test fire, FA officers, NCOs and Soldiers can rest assured that the FA’s future is brighter than ever.
This era of persistent conflict has required us to change. We have adapted and continue to do so, using the FA Campaign Plan (FACP) as our guide. The FACP is the essence as well as the most critical tool for FA transformation.
Our efforts piqued the interest of Chiefs of Artillery throughout the world. We had more than 22 Chiefs of Artillery and land force commanders visit Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in the past year alone, and the Fort Sill team has traveled extensively abroad.
We began the year analyzing reams of data collected during my assessment. I extend my personal thanks to every field commander—from captain to lieutenant general—for their candor, honesty and insights. Because of these FA leaders and their Soldiers, we were able to develop the FACP to guide Branch efforts for the next five to 10 years.
The FACP is a comprehensive document that addresses every aspect of FA fires and fire support. We integrated our efforts using the key concepts of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel and facilities—harmonizing them into four major lines of operation (win the current fight, reset, transform for future operations, and sustain Soldiers, leaders and families), which align with Army priorities.
We spent the middle months of the year rallying resource support for the FACP and its supporting plans—most notably the “Return of the King,” the supporting plan designed to address the pressing short-term need of reducing FA core-skills atrophy. We received positive reviews and support from TRADOC and, most importantly, authority and resources to implement required changes and adjustments. The FACP was hung on Fires Knowledge Network (FKN), soliciting user input for the past two months. The approved final version will hit the street in January 2009.
We had no intention of waiting for the release of the FACP to begin work. We closed out the year by implementing several initiatives in support of the FACP with our available resources.
|Gunners (upper left) from A/4-319 FA Regiment conduct direct-fire training in Afghanistan (Photo courtesy of 4/4-319 FAR). C/3-321 FA (lower right) fires an M777A2 howitzer from Camp Blessing, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Photo courtesy of C/3-321 FA). The huge pile of expended ammo casings was extracted from a photo taken at Forward Operating Base Cobra, Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of B/4-320 FAR). (Photo illustration by Shirley Dismuke, Strategic Communications, Fort Sill, Oklahoma)
People. Soldiers and families are our number one asset. Key for me is ensuring that they have time to reflect upon their experiences and become better leaders in their future assignments. The past six years have been tumultuous for FA. We performed superbly, but it has been costly in terms of stress on our Soldiers, leaders and families.
Reduced Attrition. There are encouraging signs. FA captain attrition has been reduced by five percentage points, although it remains higher than in some other branches. Many factors contribute to attrition, the first of which is our OPTEMPO. Currently, FA remains the most deployed branch in the Army in terms of officer percentages. Our captains are telling us that multiple deployments prior to the FA Captain’s Career Course (CCC), combined with the likelihood of serving on military transition teams (MiTTs) upon CCC completion, are impacting retention negatively.
The MiTT mission is key to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan and Artillerymen perform it to the highest standard; however, some captains are frustrated by yet another separation from family and misperceive MiTT duty as detrimental to their career progression. Additionally, with the numerous in-lieu-of missions that Artillerymen are tasked to accomplish, captains believe that they are not serving in the capacity for which they joined the Army—specifically as Artillerymen. Although the pride and professionalism of our Artillery Soldiers and leaders have been a hallmark during the War on Terrorism (WOT), many young officers want assurance that they will not be performing in-lieu-of missions indefinitely.
It is difficult for the Army to provide this capability to
commanders. There are not enough fires brigades to provide the TRO and FFA HQ
capabilities commanders want—while at the same time executing the variety of
missions in support of current operations. The current supply of fires brigades
cannot meet the demand.
MiTT Relief and Incentives. We are implementing initiatives to rebalance the FA and to enhance its preparedness, relevance and stature in the process. We are working to increase dwell time to allow time to train and execute core competencies.
One significant change in support of our efforts to reduce captain OPTEMPO comes from personnel contributions from our ADA comrades who are assuming responsibility for one-third of the MiTT fire support assignments. We bring ADA officers to Fort Sill, assign them a personal mentor and make them fire support practitioners in preparation for their one-year tours. This program alleviates a burden on FA captains, allowing them to return to FA units immediately upon graduation from CCC. We anticipate this program will continue at least through 2011.
And while MiTT assignments for FA officers have not completely gone away, we took steps to make them more attractive by requesting a $5,000 to $10,000 bonus for MiTT duty and by designating some MiTT assignments as Key Developmental (KD) positions for our midgrade officers. These positions allow officers to get in the fight, gain operational and strategic situational understanding and reset their deployment clocks.
At Human Resources Command, our FA Branch Chief is committed to ensuring every major who serves in a MiTT KD billet is assigned to another KD assignment in the FA. With continued emphasis on stability operations capabilities, MiTT assignments are another opportunity for our Artillerymen to demonstrate adaptability and flexibility—and to enhance their careers in the process. We also are shaping our career-field designation contributions, allowing our captains to “re-Red” because we are contributing fewer officers to alternate career fields.
|CPT Chunka A. Smith, right,
an Air Defense Artillery (ADA) officer, asks an
FA lieutenant about his spotting during the
Fires/Effects Transition Team Course at Fort
Sill, Oklahoma. ADA officers train alongside FA
officers during the three-day live-fire
exercise, in preparation for military transition
team (MiTT) assignments. (Photo by CPT Jonathan
C. Schmidt, 1-30 FA)|| |
Growing Officers. To strengthen the long-term health and growth of the
Branch, we have focused on lieutenant accessions. Through our aggressive support
of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Leader Development and Assessment
Course and US Military Academy (USMA) Cadet Field Training and Mounted Maneuver
Training, we have achieved impressive results. There is a 33 percent increase in
USMA accessions and more ROTC cadets have requested FA as a branch choice than
we have allocations to fill. While Officer Candidate School will continue to
fill officer requirements for FA as well as the other branches, our cut will be
less than last year’s high of 47 percent, ensuring better balance in our officer
Command Opportunities. Further, there are excellent opportunities for promotion
and career progression. Overall, FA officer promotions are at an all-time high
for captain through colonel. Opportunities to command at the battalion level never have been better. Although modularity decreased the number of brigade-level commands, I continue to engage senior Army leaders to ensure the Army recognizes that Artillerymen are capable of commanding Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), Maneuver Enhancement Brigades, Training Support Brigades (TSBs) and Garrison Commands and that our senior NCOs equally are fit to fill the senior enlisted positions. Just this past year, we had one of our own selected for brigadier general after serving as a garrison commander.
Slowly but surely, we are seeing change in promotion board selections. General officers (GOs) are expected to be the consummate connectors, integrators and leaders. No others have more experience and can integrate capabilities better than our Artillerymen who perform such tasks throughout their careers. I challenge commanders to do all they can to develop our officers to be competitive for BCT command. We intend to help commanders in that process here at Fort Sill as well.
The trend we have seen in the field is that, more frequently, maneuver commanders
are requesting Artillerymen to be their executive officers, deputy commanders,
and battalion and brigade S3s. We are educating maneuver commanders to recognize
that the same capabilities that make FA officers effective in those BCT
positions also make them successful BCT commanders. I continuously look for ways
to enable our officers to compete and be selected for BCT command from both the policy and “training required” perspectives. My bottom line is that our officers must remain competitive for colonel command opportunities and key staff positions to assure GO selection opportunities.
Fire Support Coordinator (FSCOORD). A significant point to consider is that we are beginning to see that, while still very important, colonel command is not the sole selection criterion for GO. Skills and experience are critical, and this bodes well for our FSCOORD positions, Battlefield Coordination Detachments (BCD) and TSB commands.
We are proposing to assign a FA GO as the FSCOORD at the Army Service
Component Command (ASCC) level for select Combatant Commands to integrate lethal
and nonlethal effects in the Combatant Command theaters of operation. This may create opportunities for GO progression for officers who may not have commanded fires brigades. We have highly skilled officers in FSCOORD positions at BCD and TSB billets who clearly are qualified to be that GO at the ASCC and, as I said before, who better than an Artilleryman to integrate lethal and nonlethal effects?
Warrant Officers. Our enlisted personnel status is very strong. FA
enlisted strength stands at 104 percent—a remarkable statistic considering the
number of multiple deployments our Soldiers and families have been enduring. This is good news because our NCO Corps provides the “seed corn” for FA warrant officer accessions. Our warrant officer ranks are experiencing pressures for rapid, unprecedented growth. I remain committed to selecting and training the right leaders for warrant officer positions. Although we don’t expect much more than a 70 percent fill on warrant officers this year, we anticipate being full strength by fiscal year 2011 (FY11)—the same year the Chief of Staff of the Army wants to have the Army in balance. The growth requirement has been short fused but we will not rush to failure. We depend on our warrant officers’ technical expertise and that can’t be grown overnight.
All things considered, progress in the personnel arena has been enormously positive. We have made huge strides in enabling our Soldiers and leaders to have time and opportunities to learn, reflect and develop, but these programs will take time to mature fully.
|CPT Loretto Borce, executive officer and assistant team chief, MiTT, 3-7 FA, 3rd Infantry BCT, distributes supplies to village children southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq, 18 January. (Photo by SPC Michael Alberts, 3rd BCT, 25th Infantry Division PAO)|
Materiel. The FA now, more than ever, is comprised of systems of precision systems. We are working continuously to incorporate precision capabilities in each of the five elements of accurate and predicted fire—accurate target location and size, accurate firing location, accurate
ammo and weapon information, accurate meteorological information and accurate
computational procedures. These elements form the cornerstone of our profession
and are the basis for the metrics that commanders use to determine our
effectiveness across the full spectrum of operations. Speed and accuracy are
critical requirements and precision capabilities must permeate every aspect of
our gunnery systems to include munitions, weapons platforms, target acquisition
and meteorological systems, and fire support command, control and communications capabilities.
Precision Fires in the Fight. FA precision capabilities are making significant contributions in theater. The Excalibur and the Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) are being used with great effect. To date, more than 1,000 GMLRS rockets and 70 Excalibur rounds have been
fired in support of maneuver commanders in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) by both US and Coalition Forces. Our maneuver commanders continue to call on FA for their all-weather precision needs to achieve instant effects on the
battlefield The feats of GMLRS—the “70 kilometer sniper rifle”—continue to be told, with new stories and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) added each week.
The concern for collateral damage is ever present and our systems provide
some scaled lethality in support of ongoing combat operations. Precision
artillery munitions and supporting targeting capabilities provide commanders greater options and flexibility for using artillery in
re- stricted and constrained terrain. Most importantly, maneuver commanders are completely confident
in cannon and rocket munitions accuracy and timeliness in situations involving
troops in contact. In several cases, commanders have called in fire missions within 50 to 100 meters of light Infantry, redefining our concept of “danger close.” We continue to look at options to provide scalable lethality to address targets across the entire spectrum. “Dial-an-effect” capabilities are being researched and we hope to have something to test within the next 12 to 18 months.
To provide increased accuracy and precision when using conventional artillery munitions, we are assessing precision guidance kits (PGKs) that can be used with conventional artillery ammunition. In their current design, PGK fuse-guidance systems are projected to be accurate to within 30 meters at all ranges, as opposed to unassisted munitions warheads where accuracy decreases as the range-to-target increases. First, we will fit PGKs to most of our 155-millimeter projectiles and subsequently to the 105-millimeter ammunition. PGKs allow for more efficient cannon artillery
fires, thus requiring fewer rounds to achieve the desired effect on the target. PGKs will not replace Excalibur; they will complement it, providing more accurate suppressive
fires for targets to be attacked with conventional munitions.
Presently, the Infantry BCT (IBCT) does not have an organic precision capability. My queries to maneuver corps, division and BCT commanders revealed that their priorities for
fire support are accuracy, responsiveness, mobility and range—in that order. Because nearly 60 percent of the future force will consist of IBCTs,
we are exploring ways to address the precision capability gap, examining
everything from target location to delivery-system digitization. We have some promising insights that should enable us to begin closing this gap in FY09.
Future Precision Fires Systems. FA is leading the way for FCS with NLOS-C. The BAE Systems NLOS-C plant in Elgin, Oklahoma, will produce the first platform of FCS. NLOS-C will provide networked, extended-range precision attack of both point and area targets for the FCS-equipped BCT (FBCT). Imagine, an NLOS-C will be able to
fire six rounds within one minute—its sustained rate of fire—and have them impact on the same target at the same time. NLOS-C gives us a new way to mass
fires because now we can mass precision, which will afford opportunities to engage—and destroy—more targets with less ammunition. One NLOS-C system will achieve the same effect on a target that today requires an entire battery.
We are continuing to work on the NLOS-C ammunition resupply capability. A key concern is the ability of a two-man crew to sustain 24/7 operations; therefore, I am pressing for an ammunition supply capability that accommodates a third crew member to rotate between the resupply vehicle and the cannon crew as required. NLOS-C is approved for initial production and will be fielded to the first battery in FY10.
While the NLOS-C is our weapon system of the future, we must not forget that
Paladin howitzers will be a part of our inventory until 2050. Accordingly, we
have developed Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), a cost-effective sustainment program for our M109A6 Paladins.
This program places the howitzer on a modified Paladin chassis with Bradley internal components and suspension and will incorporate any potential NLOS-C developments. During this process, we will solicit user feedback to improve the components as they are built for NLOS-C. While the PIM is not a new howitzer, the result will be a viable, sustainable howitzer that keeps pace with Bradley and Abrams vehicles and uses common chassis components, saving repair part dollars. In the future, the NLOS-LS will be part of each BCT
fires battalion. The system consists of more than a dozen individual, containerized Precision Attack Missiles (PAMs). The PAM is launched vertically and uses navigational aids to find the target. The 12-pound, shaped charge warhead can defeat a variety of targets. The system is unique in that it gives the BCT commander organic precision-guided munitions (PGMs) capable of engaging and defeating moving targets out to 40 kilometers. NLOS-LS prototypes already have been fielded to the Army Expeditionary Task Force (AETF) and the new equipment training was a complete success. Testing is on track and, although we still have a long way to go, I am pleased with the progress thus far.
Training. We continue to implement a new institutional training paradigm that ensures leaders learn how to think versus what to think. During the Cold War era, institutional training provided instruction that taught students the basics at the Fort Sill FA School and relied on unit training to refine core-competency skills. Not anymore. The FA School had to adapt to meet the requirements of an era of persistent confl ict. Today’s curriculum is far more aggressive and focused. Our intent is to produce the best trained and most knowledgeable FA Soldiers and leaders, who are proficient in their core competencies upon arrival at their units. Our Soldiers and leaders must be able to teach and perform core tasks upon graduating from schools at Fort Sill so they can hit the ground running and make an immediate contribution. We still have some work to do at Fort Sill, but hopefully, this will ease the task of integrating newly-assigned Soldiers in our already overburdened units.
FSCOORD Course. In response to the changing environment, we created the FSCOORD Course to train and equip
fire support professionals with the right skills and confidence to integrate lethal and nonlethal
fires. The first contractor-run course began in January, and we conducted eight courses this calendar year. The FSCOORD Course is a living course in that we
refine it as we receive field input. We modify course material to ensure it is relevant to current and future
fights and maintain our Fires expertise by sharing TTPs.
The course trains fire support officers and senior fire support NCOs within the BCTs
fires cells. It includes video teleconferences with the combat training centers as well as units in theater. We have received tremendously positive feedback from our graduates and their maneuver commanders in theater. Because the demand has been so great, we are moving elements of the course to the Intermediate Level Education (ILE) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as an elective.
Distance Learning. The FA School’s Lessons Learned Cell and Doctrine Division are collecting current trends and best practices for sharing with the Army
through participation in a number of online Warfighting Forums. The results of these sessions are compiled and added to lessons learned collected from the
field to comprise a significant reachback capability FKN.
One of the most visible signs of FA transformation is the redesign of FKN with expanded capacity. The Fires Center of Excellence (CoE)
Homepage is divided into forums that contain fully-functional blog and conferencing capabilities. Our Redlegs from around the globe can share real-time experiences and engage in relevant discussions about our Branch and our Army. These capabilities will help core-competency retention by encouraging debate, the creation of new ideas and the sharing of new tactics, techniques and procedures. FKN also allows for single sign-on access to a host of FA training courses.
Tactical Information Operations Course. Emphasizing full-spectrum capabilities, the Tactical Information Operations Course (TIOC) continues to be one of our most popular courses. Many
officers rave about the training and it was recently recommended to the Combined
Arms Center (CAC) Commander at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, by two Armor captains
from Fort Knox, Kentucky. They stated that it was the best training they had
received in the Army. We anticipate adding a course of similar design to the ILE
elective curriculum entitled “Targeting in a Hybrid Environment.” Look for it sometime in FY09.
We want all Functional Area 30 IO officers to attend this course as part of their professional development requirements. We also are offering this course to the US Marine Corps to train its
officers in IO at the tactical level.
Army Operational Electronic Warfare (EW) Course. Fort Sill continues to be the trainer for offensive EW planning, synchronization and integration for brigade and higher organizations. Until a full-time EW military occupational specialty or functional area is approved and
filled, Fort Sill will continue to train fire support personnel as EW integrators. The Army Operational EW Course is six weeks long and awards an additional skill
identifier of 1J upon completion. To date, we have graduated 276 students from the EW course who soon will be in the
field applying this new skill. EW is here to stay and certainly will be featured in all future conflicts. The Fort Sill mission is to build EW warriors.
|A Future Combat Systems (FCS) Manned Ground Vehicle Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C)
fires a round during a system test. (Photo courtesy of US Army FCS BCT)
Training Aids, Devices, Simulations and Simulators. Technological
training tools have enhanced training for combat missions—at Fort Sill, at
homestation and while deployed. The three-dimensional (3-D) video computer
technologies allow increased student throughput, class interaction and
self-paced, individual training. These 3-D simulations conversely allow Soldiers
in the field to reach back for refresher training.
The Joint Fires and Effects Trainer System (JFETS) is an immersive system
that provides Soldiers and their leaders a capability to execute multiple,
adaptive fire-support training scenarios that place them in a variety of
operational environments where ambiguity and uncertainty prevail. Validated as an immersive trainer for institutional use, we have had interest from field commanders to use the trainer in an operational environment. Forces Command (FORSCOM), US Army Central Command, US Army Europe, Eighth US Army and US Army Pacific Command have expressed an operational need for such a system.
The Call for Fire Trainer (CFFT) provides a significant capability in the
‘crawl-walk-run’ methodology of training, particularly in training foundational principles, refresher training, sustainment training, and introducing the student to joint fires observer (JFO) tasks (crawl-walk). JFETS, meanwhile, provides the next level of training for a Soldier by putting the Soldier in an environment more closely replicating stressful, tactical conditions (walk-run). The realism found in JFETS, combined with its linkage to collective simulations such as the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation, provides more sophisticated training scenarios and more opportunities to develop adaptive Soldiers and leaders.
JFETS simulator capabilities could make it a potential flagship for future FA fire support training. No other Army system of record can emulate virtual fires in realistic open, urban and close air support (CAS) environments and also provide the commander with a responsive after-action capability to assess training the way that JFETS does. The integration of all elements of fire support into this virtual training environment generates multilevel training experiences that stress Soldiers and their leaders, allowing them to develop a feel for the battlefield rhythm that only can be achieved in this type of immersive environment.
Fort Sill is exploring how to provide the JFETS experience in a mobile system
to meet corps and division commanders’ requirements and to enable on-site JFO
and US Air Force joint tactical air controller (JTAC) training, as well as facilitate core-skills training for our National Guard units. Placing this capability at divisional or primary training locations will provide FA commanders a significant training capability to meet unit needs.
I am pressing hard for a completely closed-loop simulation that will exercise the entire fire support system in an immersive simulated environment—similar in concept to JFETS. The Fires CoE Battle Lab is developing an interface that will enable the M109A6 Paladin Fire Support Combined-Arms Tactical Trainer (FSCATT) to communicate with the Advanced FA Tactical Data System (AFATDS). This concept will allow a fires battalion to train all the elements of the FA gunnery team simultaneously in their core competency tasks. A closed-loop simulation may be the answer to arresting skills atrophy by providing a simulated means to maintaining core competencies at home or while deployed, regardless of mission.
|Army Evaluation Task Force Soldiers load NLOS-Launch System Container Launch Units for transport. For more information, see Page 19. (Photo courtesy of US Army FCS BCT)|
Reset. Reset is the systemic effort required of units to repeatedly re-man, re-equip and retrain to maintain the core combat capabilities required in an era of persistent conflict. Underlying this is the idea that fires battalions must have help to reset effectively. The Fires CoE must provide external assistance to fires organizations for training and certification to help reduce stress on FA units and enable them to restore battalion-level collective core competencies.
With TRADOC’s help, I have funded two contracted mobile training teams (MTTs): the Battery and Below MTT and the Collective Training Evaluation Team (CTET). Both teams will be available to commanders beginning in January 2009 to assist with Reset and/or predeployment training. The purpose of these teams is to help the force restore Fires Warfighting Function skills and FA core competencies that may have atrophied during the performance of nonstandard missions in support of the WOT.
The Battery and Below MTT focuses on leader training and train-the-trainer instruction, covering cannon battery operations through FA Table VIII. The CTET focuses on collective and leader training (on core FA skills and tasks) at the platoon, battery and battalion levels. It can help with training from fire support team and combat observation lasing team lanes to battalion exercise evaluations. The Fires CoE will allocate these assets consistent with FORSCOM priorities but also will accept support requests from the field on a case-by-case basis. The procedures to request a MTT are available on FKN at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/age/584601.
I would like to briefly address some initiatives that we are considering as we move forward into 2009. They will offer tremendous capabili-ties to our Fires Soldiers.
Fires CoE Initial Operating Capability. We are well on our way to standing up the Fires CoE. ADA units are on the move, and we will begin to see ADA Soldiers and leaders assigned to Fort Sill in increasing numbers. I intend to have the Fires CoE
established with an initial operating capability (both FA and ADA GO commandants
on the ground at Fort Sill) no later than fourth quarter FY09, with
full-operating capability by the end of third quarter FY10. The first ADA CCC to be taught at Fort Sill will be in August 2009. While the FA and ADA will remain two distinct branches with their respective courses and schools, the pooling of resources will allow us to take on other initiatives we could not have executed previously.
Joint Fires University. In his 2008 Leader Development Guidance, the Chief of Staff of the Army charged the Army to transform training and education. Our challenge is to develop Soldiers and leaders who are competent in their core competencies while creating agile and adaptable leaders of character. Our answer to this challenge is to stand-up the Joint Fires University (FCU).
The vision is for the JFU to be the leader in providing education, training and the development of experts in the art and science of integrating and delivering lethal and nonlethal
fires. The JFU objective is to produce Soldiers, leaders and units that enable the maneuver commander to dominate full-spectrum operations using
fires. As we stand-up the Fires CoE, so too will we stand-up the JFU which will combine emerging technologies with emerging training and education methodologies to provide a “university without walls.” The JFU will tap into other Service universities and enable our Soldiers to take courses of interest to broaden their knowledge and enhance joint interoperability. The JFU will serve as an enabler for training, education and leader development in the institutional, operational and self-development domains. I have charged the Fires CoE
staff to develop the structure, faculty and training/education methodologies
during the next year to transform Fort Sill into a university that enables a
culture of life-long learning and prepares our Soldiers for the challenges of
this era of persistent conflict.
Joint CAS (JCAS) CoE. My long-term vision for the future of the Fires CoE is to grow and evolve into the JCAS CoE. This evolution will enable the Fires CoE
to execute training the way the joint force fights, and it is critical to the future development of the FA, the Army and the joint Fires community. The transition to the Army JCAS CoE
will incorporate space capabilities and emerging technologies, coalition and other Service personnel, manned and unmanned aircraft, traditional
fires units, and airspace management tools into a unique training environment that will prepare Soldiers, leaders and staff organizations for full-spectrum operations.
In building the Army JCAS CoE, we will incorporate a “joint training triangle” connecting Fort Sill with Altus Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma and Sheppard AFB in Texas. This union will maximize the digital capabilities of the Army Radar Approach Control System, Defense Approach Surveillance Radar and Defense Approach Automation System to create a common air picture for southwest Oklahoma. My intent is to tackle airspace command and control issues and resolve them, using the radar operating within the joint training triangle. This idea is unique and will allow us to address civilian aircraft-clearance procedures in our “theater of war.” I am confident that we will serve as a catalyst for the development of airspace command and control doctrine and provide a premier joint training experience for all Services and Coalition nations training within the triangle.
Concurrent with this effort will be the expansion of the JFO Course and the introduction of new training programs, like the JTAC Qualification Course. These courses will enable Fort Sill to provide education and leader development to the institutional, operational and self-development domains for multiple Services. Joint education will be a key component in developing agile and adaptive
fire supporters who can fight anywhere—anyplace—anytime.
The past year has been highlighted by Soldiers’ accomplishments and complemented by several recently-fielded revolutionary munitions and systems; all of which enhance our ability as FA Soldiers to integrate timely and effective lethal and nonlethal
fires in support of the maneuver commander. Precision is the way of the future, and we must continue to pursue precision capabilities with every weapons system for each type of BCT.
The combination of our great FA leaders and Soldiers, transformed
organizations and increased capabilities makes us the maneuver commander’s
“right hand” for integrating all effects into the combined-arms fight. I personally want to offer my thanks and congratulations to every Artillery Soldier, leader and family member for a job exceptionally well done.
We are the premier worldwide-deployable 24/7 all-weather fire support force
and will continue to integrate and deliver timely, joint lethal and nonlethal
fires to dominate any operating environment. This is what our maneuver commanders expect from us—and what we will deliver—every time. It has been a phenomenal year and 2009 promises to be even better. I encourage all Artillerymen to stay in touch. Look for the opening of the FA Museum at the FA Fires Seminar in June 2009.
Anticipate—Integrate—Dominate! Artillery Strong!