"Change will not happen on a certain day, or even in a year. In fact we're undergoing that change right now as we sit here, and we've been in the midst of it for some time. That change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But it is no less profound."
Acting Director Major General Robert “Bo” Dyess’ Comments:
In a recent ARCIC weekly reading, General Donn Starry reminded us in "Running Things" that a sound vision with achievable goals, benchmarks, and plans will enable organizations at every echelon of command to succeed in an environment characterized by "constant, unceasing, and ever-accelerating" change. To this end, Army professionals must continue to think clearly about the problem of future armed conflict as threats, enemies, and adversaries are becoming increasingly capable and elusive. As the Army Operating Concept indicates, we live in a complex world with a future that is not only unknown, but also unknowable, and constantly changing.
This week's professional reading is a letter drafted by Lin Wells in 2001 that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sent to President George W. Bush that succinctly describes major shifts in the strategic environment during each decade of the century. Wells' letter is a brief but powerful reminder of the continual change that occurs in our complex world. Consider the change that occurred in the last two decades. In 2001 when Wells wrote his letter, hardly anyone knew that Al Qaeda existed, thousands of US forces were deployed to the Balkans, and the entire V Corps consisting of two divisions and separate brigades were stationed in Germany. By 2010, a Balkan state joined NATO, US forces were withdrawing from Iraq and increasing in Afghanistan, and no one had ever heard of ISIS. Today, U.S. and Iraqi forces are fighting ISIS, the US has one Army BCT permanently stationed in Germany, and the shadow of great-power conflict re-emerged.
While there is no way to predict what will occur in the future, the Army thinks clearly about the changing character of future armed conflict by considering threats, enemies, and adversaries, anticipated missions, emerging technologies, opportunities to use existing capabilities in new ways, and historical observations and lessons learned. A failure to think clearly about the changes in future armed conflict risks what nineteenth century Prussian philosopher Carl von Clausewitz warned against: regarding war as "something autonomous" rather than "an instrument of policy," misunderstanding "the kind of war on which we are embarking," and trying to turn war into "something that is alien to its nature."