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Speed of innovation key in Army Operating Concept

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Oct. 17, 2014) -- Both the Army and America's adversaries enhance their prowess on the battlefield with technological innovation. But to be successful against an array of unknown enemies, the Army must focus not just on innovation, but on the speed with which it can deliver that innovation to Soldiers.

Gen. Dave Perkins, commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spoke Tuesday, at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, here, about the recent release of the new Army Operating Concept, titled "Win in a Complex World -- 2020-2040."

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A central theme of the publication is the concept of preparing the American Army for combat with unknown enemies, in unknown locations, and with unknown allies at their side.

"This Army Operating Concept was written specifically to deal with the unknown," Perkins said. What the Army won't know, expressed in the Army Operating Concept, is where it will fight, who it will fight, or who it will fight alongside. What the Army will know, Perkins said, is that it will be expected to "exceed all expectations."

Perkins said in combat, the Army can overmatch an enemy's capability through adaptation and innovation. With a known enemy, the Army innovates by creating a "known differential" between the Army's ability and the enemy's capability, he said. But with an unknown enemy, he said, innovation is only part of the equation for a win. Speed of innovation is important as well.

"We have to enable that young leader both through training, education, and organization, to have the ability to innovate very quickly -- from the materiel aspect of it when we buy stuff for the Army, to how we organize ourselves, and how we apply all the elements of national power."

According to the new Army Operating Concept, "The Army must adapt faster than enemies and potential adversaries. Army forces will have to develop materiel solutions much faster than in the past due to the ease and speed of technology transfer and adaptation by enemies."

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