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Old 08-19-2009   #1
SWJED
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Default Army Campaign Plan

Just some quick notes as we listen to a very interesting discussion that is developing - more discussion than the planned brief - and that is a good thing. Campaign plans make terrible PowerPoint slides.

Discussion right now centers around the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) Process.

Everything is suffering because of the current cycle - training, education and mentoring mentioned as particular areas of concern. And of course, there are second and third order effects to these areas of concern...
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Old 08-19-2009   #2
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Default TRADOC tries to adjust to a permanent war

TRADOC’s senior leaders ended the morning with a long and active discussion on the Army’s force generation system. Why did this seemingly dry subject stimulate an active response?

The TRADOC leaders in the room are responsible for running a wide variety of commands, schools, and operations. The wars downrange are creating highly variable demands on TRADOC’s commands and schools, which are responsible for ensuring that the forces that eventually deploy are ready to do so. The leaders in the room were eager to discuss how attempts to implement the Army’s force generation plans under shifting conditions were affecting the day-to-day operations for which they are responsible.

The Army is restructuring itself under the assumption that it will be fighting abroad indefinitely. Within two years it hopes that the “boots-on-the ground:dwell-time ratio” will be 1:2. TRADOC needs to adjust its training command and school schedules to support this assumption. The day-to-day management implications of this generated an animated discussion this morning.

-Robert Haddick
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Old 08-19-2009   #3
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Default ARFORGEN: adaptation, communication and culture change

ARFORGEN: adaptation, communication and culture change

Dr. Marc Tyrrell

The briefing on the TRADOC Campaign Plan, centering around Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN), has created the most discussion to date. Listening to the questions and comments, I was struck by several observations. One early point that was made was that the principles underlying ARFORGEN were not clearly communicated while the model was. There are, to my mind, several observations that can be drawn both from that process – communicate the model but not the principles – and from the questions / comments.

First off, ARFORGEN is a radical change from previous forms of force generation. In many ways, from what I can see of it, it is moving towards, although certainly not reaching, an Information Age style of force generation (e.g. the right person in the right place at the right time), at least in principle. The model, however, appears to have been presented more in the genre and forms of an Industrial Age style of force generation (office based, standardized training). This form and genre is not surprising given the hierarchical organizational form of the US Army. In fact, it is organizationally imperative that that form and genre be used in order to tie it in with the political and economic resources (i.e. sell it in DC).

The second observation is a touch more subtle. Within the management literature dealing with corporate culture change, there are several truisms. First, you need a “champion” - a senior level executive who will act as the focus for the change. Second, you need to explain the change to everyone in the organization so that you get general buy-in rather than opposition (either intentional or unintentional). ARFORGEN has their champion, but has the communications strategy worked in order to achieve a general buy-in? From the tenor of the questions and comments, I would have to say it has not, at least to date.

Quote:
ARFORGEN establishes a basis to schedule deployments on an Army-wide scale. ARFORGEN also provides the following critical objectives: Reduce uncertainty for Soldiers, Families, and the communities that support installations Improve availability of trained and prepared forces for Combatant Commanders Generate a continuous level of BCTs, augmented by all required supporting organizations (given appropriate Reserve Component mobilization authority) (source: Addenda E| Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) Process)
While the process as currently constituted might reduce some uncertainty, it is certainly apparent, to me at least, that it is also serving to increase institutional uncertainty.

Uncertainty, in and of itself, can be a “good thing”. Indeed, too much certainty led the US Army to produce a vision of “reality” that was closer to a self-delusion that a true prediction (see here). But institutional uncertainty can increase strain, and force people to focus on immediate day-to-day survival objectives rather than allowing them to see the bigger picture.

As I understand it, one of the central strategic goals of ARFORGEN is to increase the adaptive potential of the US Army. But “adaptation” is an emergent process that operates in response to selection pressures that operate in particular points in time and space. If you wish to increase an organizations adaptive potential, you need to have a coherent “map” of the “terrain” that is constructing these selection pressures. But having such a map isn't enough, you also have to teach people how to “read” that map and feel that they have an investment in it, and this is where it circles back to the process of communications.
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Old 08-19-2009   #4
Ken White
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Default A casual suggestion

View the ARFORGEN process as a product of one tribe, the units in the cycle as members of another tribe -- and TRADOC as third tribe, an institution that has to provide inputs of different types to both the other tribes. The input to the first tribe (Hq, DA) is easy, it's a paper effort.

The input to the other tribe, those FORSCOM (A fourth tribe that mistakenly thinks the second tribe owes it considerable fealty and the third owes it some respect while said second tribe sees lip service as adequate and third would like to not have to go even that far...) units in CONUS, OTOH, is far more problematic. Work will be entailed! Change will occur.

I can hear it now. "How can we meet these schedules -- we've civilianized half our instructor spaces and all the maintenance spaces..."

Those unit tribes, too, have their own problems adjusting to the cycles and the demands of all three of the other tribes (all of whom they believe to be unclean and into recreational pharmaceuticals) -- and they know from recent experience that they will learn Arabic to go to Iraq and instead be deployed to Afghanistan...

Thus I would say this:
Quote:
"ARFORGEN has their champion, but has the communications strategy worked in order to achieve a general buy-in? From the tenor of the questions and comments, I would have to say it has not, at least to date."
is not only quite perceptive but a wonderful understatment.
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Old 08-20-2009   #5
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Default

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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Thus I would say this:
Quote:
ARFORGEN has their champion, but has the communications strategy worked in order to achieve a general buy-in? From the tenor of the questions and comments, I would have to say it has not, at least to date.
is not only quite perceptive but a wonderful understatment.
I may have to change my opinion on this to some degree after yesterday, Ken.
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Carleton University
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