Young Army leaders are suffering from America’s long wars spent building partner forces, the commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command said Monday.
Conflicts in the Middle East, where the Army has spent significant time in an advise-and-assist role for local forces, has sapped officers and enlisted alike of their confidence in making tough choices in battle, Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters at an event hosted by the Association of the United States Army.
Townsend said he noticed the problem during briefings on the service’s mission command doctrine, which is designed to help troops on the ground adjust their original plan in combat without contacting senior leaders.
“I want you smart enough to realize the plan I gave you will not work,” Townsend said of the concept. “Then I want you smart enough to come up with a plan that will work … even if you can’t talk to me.”
“In today’s environment, with near-peer adversaries, they’re going to jam us, they’re going to spoof our C2 [command and control] systems,” he said. “You might think your C2 system is working, but the icons are not showing the true grids. They’re showing what the enemy wants you to see. So, how do you work that problem? You do it with mission command.”