News / USA

Gates Tells US Army to Take New Approach

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (file photo)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (file photo)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Friday that the U.S. Army must restructure itself or risk losing important mid-level leaders and not being prepared for the conflicts of the future.  

Secretary Gates traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York to speak to the Army’s future officers about their careers.  He told them the traditional U.S. Army, with large units using tanks and other heavy equipment, is fast becoming obsolete.

"The strategic rationale for swift-moving expeditionary forces, be they army or marines, airborne, infantry or special operations is self evident, given the likelihood of counter-terrorism, rapid reaction, disaster response or stability or security force assistance missions," he said. "But in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined."

Gates said large-scale conflicts with other big countries will likely be fought mainly with air and naval forces.

He urged the young Army officers-in-training to think about likely 21st century ground conflicts and seek training and experience that will help them lead such fights if necessary.  And he challenged today's Army leaders to begin transforming their force, in part by providing incentives for young and mid-level officers to learn modern warfare skills, including counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations.  

Gates also said one of his biggest concerns is that today’s highly-experienced generation of mid-career officers may leave the service, either to avoid further deployments or to escape the boredom of post-war bureaucratic assignments.

"Men and women in the prime of their professional lives, who may have been responsible for the lives of scores or hundreds of troops, or millions of dollars in assistance, or engaging in reconciling warring tribes, they may find themselves in a cube all day, reformatting PowerPoint slides, preparing quarterly training briefs, or [doing] an ever expanding array of clerical duties.  The consequences of this terrify me," he said.

Gates also said he is concerned that gains made toward recognizing the value of non-traditional Army skills may erode as U.S. troops leave Iraq and Afghanistan in the next several years.  The defense secretary, who says he will retire this year, urged future leaders to ensure that the army does not revert to its traditional role as a heavy land force, and continues to prepare to defend the nation against what he sees as more likely scenarios.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid