CG outlines his vision, strategy for MCoE future

By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /

The Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley presented the way forward for the MCoE and Fort Benning through 2022 with a campaign plan that included a revised mission statement, a vision statement for 2022 and four lines of efforts for achieving the goals of the plan.

“The reason we are here is to rollout the revised campaign plan,” said Wesley. “The first question that might come to your mind is why are we changing the campaign plan. Was the last campaign plan wrong? And the answer to that is no. The last campaign plan was not wrong. The world changes.”

Wesley praised the preceding commanding general of the MCoE, Lt. Gen. Scott Miller’s efforts to recover the fundamentals and tradecraft that the Army had previously lost, by disciplining the fundamentals and raising the bar in the Army’s field-craft and skillsets.

“We’ve made a lot of progress there,” said Wesley. “If you’ve watched the senior leaders, however, in the last year, frankly there’s a bit of a concern that we have been caught short. As we look over our shoulders, we’ve got a bit of a challenge in terms of our near-peer competitors.”

Wesley detailed the technological advancements that Russia and China have made in recent years, and how the U.S. has fallen behind.

“We are 10 years behind probably the most advanced nations as it relates to active protection systems,” said Wesley. “Out of ten weapon systems in our inventory – ten basic functional areas, six of the 10, in 2030 Russia will dominate the United States. In one of the 10 we expect to dominate in 2030.”

Wesley also emphasized how the strategic posture of the United States is out of position and that budgets of Western nations are being restricted.

The MCoE and Fort Benning Campaign Plan details the strategy to provide quality combat-ready Soldiers and Leaders, care for the Soldiers, civilians and Families, as well as securing a relationship with the Chattahoochee Valley Region.

“This campaign plan is our effort to adjust where we put our resources, where we put our energy, where we put our focus to accommodate the current era,” said Wesley.

There are four lines of effort detailed in the plan: Future maneuver; Master the fundamentals and develop leaders; Soldier, civilian and Family readiness; Community engagement

Each line of effort has several sub-lines of effort, which was discussed in detail by different Leaders of Fort Benning throughout the meeting.

The director of the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate Don Sando covered the first lines of effort, future maneuvers.

“It all starts with concepts,” said Sando about maneuver force modernization. “We are very much integrated in thought.”

Sando explained the different sub-lines of effort, including concept development, requirements determination, capabilities integration and experimentation.

The director of Training and Doctrine Dr. Jay Brimstin discussed the second line of effort, master the fundamentals and develop leaders. The sub-lines of effort that he covered included world class instructors, lethality and tactical fundamentals, human performance, training and education, Soldier 2020 and develop doctrine.

“This is a stretch goal,” said Brimstin, referring to 2.1.8, establishing an instructor selection process and panel with Human Resources Command. “We’re going to have so many high-quality NCOs and officers wanting to come to Fort Benning to be instructors here that we are going to have to have some sort of selection process, so that we are turning people away, rather than accepting whatever HRC is assigning us.”

Col. Andy Hilmes, the garrison commander of Fort Benning, spoke about the third line of effort, Soldier, civilian and Family readiness. He covered the importance of having a safe environment to live, work and train, as well as maintaining community services, health and wellness and installation infrastructure.

Mike Burns, the special assistant to the commanding general, covered the last line of effort, community engagement. He emphasized the point of strengthen relationships with the local community and universities and their athletic teams. Outreach, strategic messaging and branding were some of the topics discussed for the fourth line of effort.

Working together was a strong theme throughout the meeting.

“There has to be a collective view, and so everybody, every person in this room has input and fundamental impact on the campaign plan that we are going to rollout here,” said Wesley.

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