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Old 01-21-2020, 01:30 PM
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Thumbs up 'Win the next fight': Army chief uses old telephone to show need for change

'Win the next fight': Army chief uses old telephone to show need for change
By: Russ Read - Washington Examiner - 01-21-20

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Gen. James McConville presents an old telephone during a speech on transforming the Army. Photo courtest of the Atlantic Council

What does an old, analog phone have to do with the military? For the Army’s top general, it’s a metaphor for the importance of transformation.

Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army, pulled an old, touch-tone telephone from a plastic bag during a Tuesday speech calling for “transformational change” in the Army.

For McConville, 60, the phone is more than a gimmick. He explained how in 30 years, the world went from the incremental changes of rotary phones to cordless phone to cell phones — and then the leap to smartphones. The general is looking for the same major transformation in today’s military.

“We aren’t looking for longer cords for our phones or faster horses for our cavalry,” McConville said while addressing the Association of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. "We aren’t trying to fight the last fight better. We want to win the next fight."

Since becoming Army chief of staff in August, McConville has focused on revamping the historically slow-moving Army in order to prepare for future conflicts. A native of Massachusetts, McConville holds a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor of Science from West Point. He started his career as a pilot and is qualified to fly the Apache attack helicopter and the Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter, among others. McConville has also served in several combat leadership roles, including commanding general of a U.S. task force in Afghanistan. As Army chief of staff, he often stresses the importance of using data analysis in military operations.

“We need transformational change, not incremental improvements,” he said.

In the future, the historically dominant U.S. military will be challenged by capable enemies in five domains — air, land, sea, space, and cyber.

McConville is particularly focused on long-range artillery — or in Army speak, “precision fires.” The Army conducted a successful test of a new precision strike missile last month.

“I’m confident we are going to be able to engage targets at more than 500 kilometers very soon,” he said.

The Army is pursuing new aircraft capabilities, including a new long-range assault aircraft to replace the iconic Black Hawk helicopter for troop insertion missions. A new light reconnaissance aircraft also is in the works.

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Personal note: Smart man!


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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