Kansas-based officers play key roles in Army debate

The Army is in the midst of an “intense debate” over a force-wide reorganization that would put a new premium on training foreign military units to fight their own battles against terrorist threats. And officers at both Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley are playing key roles in that debate.The Los Angeles Times reports today:”On one side of the widening debate are officers who want many Army units to become specialized, so that entire units or even divisions are dedicated to training foreign militaries. On the other are those who believe that military units must remain generalists, able to do a wide range of skills well.”Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is expected to weigh in today in a major address in which he will warn that the Army is unlikely to face a conventional war in the future and must reorganize to fight in unconventional conflicts.”Army officers at Ft. Leavenworth, where the Army’s most important doctrine is created, have been working for two months on specific proposals to create training units for the Pentagon’s worldwide commands. Last week, officials from the Pentagon, State Department, Special Operations Command and other military groups took part in the war game to evaluate various proposals for the teams.”Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, who oversees the Army schools and research institutes at Leavenworth, said the proposals would create a dedicated unit of trainers who could be assigned to each of the commanders of the worldwide regions.”‘The concept here is a very specific focus: They do not do direct action; they do not command and control combat forces; they are not a combat force,’ Caldwell said. ‘Their mission is to do security-force assistance.'”The size of the proposed units is undecided, and the war game at Leavenworth examined at least three different organizational structures.”The leading advocate of establishing a stand-alone advisor corps within the Army is Lt. Col. John Nagl, a co-author of the Army’s new counterinsurgency field manual who is considered a rising star within the service.”In an article published in a policy journal in June, Nagl, who served as an operations officer in a battalion in Iraq three years ago, proposed a permanent force of 20,000 advisors.”‘It requires a different focus in training. It requires a different mind-set,’ Nagl said in an interview. ‘Forces practicing advisory skills also need a particular way of looking at the world.'”