Gen. Westmoreland on the Army of the Future

September 25, 2007

I always welcome the opportunity to ad-
dress those who support this Association ...
I know I am among friends who are vitally
concerned about our Army.
Our Army today is a dynamic organization
undergoing change to stay abreast of a
rapidly changing technology and society.
In our adult lifetime many of us have
witnessed change unequalled in history-the
jet airplane, nuclear power, television, and
the o/mputer-to name a few. And the social
change that should have come within the
last century has been our legacy to accom-
plish in our generation-now.
As an integral part of our changing society,
the Army has also been challenged to meet
those demands. We in the Army accept the
challenge ... just as we have accepted and
met all our challenges in the past.
Today our Army is weathering a period not
too unlike others in our proud history.
Today once again the fundamental prin-
ciples of our profession-the pillars of
discipline on which an Army is built-the
trust and confidence that have traditionally
motivated the soldier are being questioned.
We cannot this time wait for a call to action.
The problems that we must address exist
within our own ranks . . . we share them with
the entire Nation, With our troubled society
questioning the role of the Army more than
ever before, each soldier in a position of
leadership is on trial . . . both his character
and his integrity are being tested. To meet
the test, he must stand on his principles...
his personal and *'ofessional code of ethics,
his dedication, hs leadership. These are the
principles that resolve the crucial . .. these
determine he worth of a man's life. These
are the hallmarks of the professional soldier
in his finest tradition.
The U.S. Army has served its country
proudly. It continues to respond to legally
constituted executive authority. But the
American people also must understand that
their Army does not exist to fight without
something to fight for. Our Armed Forces
on the international scene are as necessary
for the security of our country as our do-
mestic police forces are necessary for law and
order at home. Our Army can only be as
effective as the spirit of its soldiers. And
certainly this spirit is sparked by public
trust, support. and confidence.
The Army is as dedicated now as it has
been for nearly two centuries . . . dedicated
to the preservation of our way of life. In
guarding this trust, we have never failed.
What more could a country ask of its soldiers?
Recently, a few individuals involved in
serious incidents have been highlighted in
the news. Some would have these incidents
reflect on the Army as a whole. They are,
however, the actions-of a pitiful few. Cer-
tainly the Army cannot and will not condone
improper conduct or criminal acts-and I personally assure you that I will not. We will always regard the rights of the ndividual and acknowledge due process of law. But the Army as an institution should never be put on trial as we deal with the few. We are a proud Army. We do have confi- dence in our officers, noncommissioned offi- cers, and soldiers who continue to provide the Army and the Nation with the selfless devoted service that has always been our cherished tradition. This year, I take special satisfaction in addressing this audience-for I know you are dedicated to the maintenance of a strong, modern Army through military-industrial- labor-academic-scientific cooperation. This team provides the Armed Forces with the best equipment science and technology can produce. This cooperative effort is an element of national power that must never be eroded. For this reason, I will focus now on purely military matters . , . on developments that are of special interest to this audience. I will proceed on the assumption that neither the Congress nor the Nation wants us to lay down our shield of armed readiness. On the contrary, our citizens continue to demand from us the best military forces possible within the resources made available to us. This is a fair and demanding challenge which we accept. In meeting this challenge, the Army has undergone In Vietnam a quiet revolution in ground warfare-tactics, techniques, and technology. This revolution is not fully understood by many. To date it has received only limited attention. Analysis of the les- sons from this revolution will influence the future direction of our Army both in funda- mental concepts of organization and devel- opment of equipment. When the first American units were com- mitted in Vietnam, they were to a large ex- tent a reflection of the organization, tactics, techniques, and technology of World War II, with one noteworthy exception. That excep- tion, of course, was best demonstrated by the Ist Air Cavalry Division For the first time, an Army unit of division size had been orga- nized and equipped to free itself from the constrictions of terrain through the use of battlefield air mobility. The concept and re- sultant organization were logical outgrowths of the development of sturdy, reliable heli- copters for troops carriers, weapons plat- forms, command and control, aerial ambu- lances, and reconnaissance vehicles and larger helicopters for carrying artillery, am- munition, and supplies. Even before the ar- rival of American combat troops, the effec- tive use of the helicopter had been demon- strated n the support of the Vietnamese. I am confident that the vitality of air mobility is recognized and understood by this in- formed audience. We learned that Vietnam posed a problem even more difficult than mobility. The ene- my we face n Vietnam s naturally elusive and cunning In his use of the dense jungle for concealment. As a result, In the early days of the American commitment we found ourselves with an abundance of firepower and mobility. But we were limited in our ability to locate the enemy. We were not quite a giant without eyes, but that allusion had some validity. Whenever we engaged the enemy, we won the battle. Too often those battles were at enemy initiative and not our own. Too often battles were not fought be- cause the enemy could not be found or be- cause, after initial contact, he had slipped elusively into the jungle or across borders politically beyond our reach . . . or had lit- erally gone underground. Since 1965 a principal thrust of our ex- perimentation, adaptation and development in tactics, techniques, and technology has been toward improvement of our capability to find the enemy. Each year of the war wit- nessed substantial improvement. In 1965,
LTE October 16, 1969
1966, 1967, and early 1968 we increased the number of both air and ground cavalry units. We added a second airmobile divi- sion. As our troops arrived, we progressively organized special reconnaissance elements of all kinds, including long-range patrol companies and special forces teams. We found ourselves more and more using the infantry for the purpose of finding the ene- my. When the enemy broke down into small units, we did likewise. We learned to op- erate skillfully at night. We mastered the enemy's ambush techniques. Technical means were reinforced and Improved. Intel- ligence organizations were expanded and re- fined. During this period, the Director of De- fense Research and Engineering urged the scientific community to develop a new fam- ily of sensors and associated communica- tions equipment to help locate enemy forces on infiltration routes. After proving these de- vices workable in test, we developed plans in 1967 to use them throughout the battle- field. In mid 1968, our field experiments be- gan. Since then, we have integrated these new devices with the more conventional sur- veillance equipment and other ntelligence collection means. As a result, our ability to find the enemy has mproved materially. Comparing the past few years of progress with a forecast of the future produces one conclusion: we are on the threshold of an entirely new battlefield concept. Now let me briefly examine the past and relate t to the future The Napoleonic Wars are well documented in history texts. Firepower was limited. Mo- bility was limited essentially to the foot soldier. Support services were provided by contact or foraging. Cavalry, scouts and pickets provided Intelligence. This chapter of military history is replete with numerous examples of battles that might have been . . had the opposing forces known of each other's presence. But when forces made con- tact, they massed to do battle. At Waterloo, for example, over 140,000 troops crowded into less than three miles of front line con- tact. A little over a century later, World War brought trench warfare. The advent of the machine gun and massed artillery introduced sizable increases in the firepower capabilities available to ground forces. Mobility and sup- port efforts experienced little change. Maneu- ver on the battlefield was almost nonexistent. Only a few visionaries saw real utility in the tank. Primitive aerial observation brought only marginal Improvements In ntelligence gathering. The density of troops in the front line, reduced from that of Waterloo, still re- mained high as soldiers crowded shoulder to shoulder in their network of trenches. With- out mobility and information about the enemy, the newly acquired firepower served little purpose. World War II saw the tank mature, and armies organized to capitalize on this capa- bility. Mobility began to gain on firepower. While the Navy was developing sonar and air elements proceeded with ntercept radars, Army target acquisition systems remained essentially at the World War I level. The wheeled vehicle improved our support effort. But we were still confined to the ground with our airlift capability remaining minimal. The ncreased mobility, however, did per- mit combat elements to disperse over a wider front, and the density of troops along the battle lines became smaller. Still, the absence of a refined intelligence capability permitted only small economics of force. But the Vietnam War has seen a revolu- tion n ground force mobility. We no longer assign units a sector of frontage. Instead, units are responsible for an operational area. And with the mobility of the helicopter, units like the 1st Cavalry and the 101st Air- borne Divisions cover hundreds of square miles with their airmobile blankets.-i5-
October 16, 1969
The revolution I envision for the future
comes not from the helicopter alone, but
from systems that heretofore have been un-
For a moment, let us consider the basic
combat role of the Army. As the Nation's land
force, our mission is to defeat enemy forces
in land combat and to gain control of the
land and its people. In this role, we have
traditionally recognized five functions. But
we have emphasized only three: mobility,
firepower, and command and control-in
other words-move, shoot, and communicate.
To me, the other two-intelligence and sup-
port-have not been sufficiently stressed.
Placing the functions n proper perspective,
I visualize the Army's job in land combat as:
First, we must find the enemy.
Second, we must destroy the enemy.
And third, we must support the forces that
perform the other two functions.
By studying operations in Vietnam, one
can better understand these functions.
Large parts of the nfantry, ground and
air cavalry, and aviation are used in what I
will now call STANO"-surveillance. target
acquisition and night observation, or func-
tion number one-finding the enemy. In this
function large areas can be covered con-
tinuously by aerial surveillance systems, un-
attended ground sensors, radars and other
perfected means of finding the enemy. These
systems can permit us to deploy our fires
and forces more effectively n the most
likely and most productive areas.
The second function-destroying the
enemy-is the role of our combat forces-
artillery, air, armor, and nfantry, together
with the helicopters needed to move the
combat troops. Firepower can be concen-
trated without massing large numbers of
troops. In Vietnam where artillery and tac-
tical air forces inflict over two-thirds of the
enemy casualties, firepower s responsive as
never before. It can rain destruction any-
where on the battlefield within minutes . . .
whether friendly troops are present or not.
Inherent in the function of destroying the
enemy is fixing the enemy. In the past, we
have devoted sizeable portions of our forces
to this requirement. In the future, however,
fixing the enemy will become a problem pri-
marily in time rather than space. More spe-
cifically, if one knows continually the loca-
tion of his enemy and has the capability to
mass fires instantly, he need not necessarily
fix the enemy in one location with forces on
the ground. On the battlefield of the future,
enemy forces will be located, tracked, and
targeted almost instantaneously through the
use of data links, computer assisted intelli-
gence evaluation, and automated fire con-
trol. With first round kill probabilities ap-
proaching certainty, and with surveillance
devices that can continually track the enemy,
the need for large forces to fix the opposition
physically will be less important.
Although the future portends a more auto-
mated battlefield, we do visualize a continu-
ing need for highly mobile forces to sur-
round, canalize, block or otherwise maneu-
ver an enemy into the most lucrative target.
The third function includes an improved
communication system. This system not only
would permit commanders to be continually
aware of the entire battlefield panorama
down to squad and platoon level, but would
permit logistics systems to rely more heavily
on air lines of communications.
Today, machines and technology are per-
mitting economy of manpower on the battle-
field, as indeed they are in the factory. But
the future offers even more possibilities for
economy. I am confident the American peo-
ple expect this country to take full advan-
tage of its technology-to welcome and ap-
plaud the developments that will replace
wherever possible the man with the machine.
Based on our total battlefield experience
and our proven technological capability, I
foresee a new battlefield array.
I see battlefields or combat areas that are
under 24 hour real or near real time sur-
veillance of all types.
I see battlefields on which we can destroy
anything we locate through instant commu-
nications and the almost Instantaneous ap-
plication of highly lethal firepower.
I see a continuing need for highly mobile
combat forces to assist in fixing and destroy-
ing the enemy.
The changed battlefield will dictate that
the supporting logistics system also undergo
I see the forward end of the logistics sys-
tem with mobility equal to the supported
I see the elimination of many intermediate
support echelons and the use of inventory-
In-motion techniques.
I see some Army forces supported by air-
in some instances directly from bases here
in the continental United States.
In both the combat and support forces
of the future, I see a continuing need for
our traditionally highly skilled, well-moti-
vated individual soldier . . . the soldier who
has always responded in time of crisis-and
the soldier who will accept and meet the
challenges of the future.
Currently, we have hundreds of surveil-
lance, target acquisition, night observation
and information processing systems either
in being, in development or in engineering.
These range from field computers to ad-
vanced airborne sensors and new night vision
Our problem now is to further our knowl-
edge-exploit our technology, and equally
important--to incorporate all these devices
into an Integrated land combat system.
History has reinforced my conviction that
major advances in the art of warfare have
grown from the Fullers and Guderlans-men
who detected, In the slow, clumsy, under-
armed, largely Ineffective tanks of World
War I, the seeds of the future. Between the
two World Wars, they foresaw with clarity
the blltzkrelg of armored and panzer forces
that Introduced a new dimension to ground
More recently, Generals Howze and
Wheeler and the late Lieutenant General
Bill Bunker conceived air mobility long be-
fore the machinery existed to fulfill the con-
cept. Today we witness both the alrmobile
concept and the airmobile division proved in
We are confident thatfrom our early solu-
tions to the problem of finding the enemy,
in Vietnam the evidence is present to visu-
alize this battlefield of the future . . . a
battlefield that will dictate organizations and
techniques radically different from those we
have now.
In summary, I see an Army built into and
around an Integrated area control system
that exploits the advanced technology of
communications, sensors, fire direction, and
the required automatic data processing-a
system that is sensitive to the dynamics of
the ever-changing battlefield---a system that
materially assists the tactical commander in
making sound and timely decisions.
To achieve this concept of our future
Army, we have established, at the Depart-
ment of Army Staff level, a Systems Manager,
Brigadier General Bill Fulton, to coordinate
all Army activities in this field. We have done
this because of problem complexity. We are
dealing with systems that are fundamental
to the Army-its doctrine, its organization,
and its equipment. We are on the threshold
for the first time n achieving maximum
utilization of both our firepower and our
mobility. In order to succeed in this effort,
we need the scientific and engineering sup-
port of both the military and the industrial
To complement the systems management,
we are establishing at Fort Hood a test facil-
ity through which new equipment, new or-
ganizations, and new techniques can be sub-
jected to experimentation, adaptation, eval-
uation, and ntegration. This facility will be
headed by Major General Jack Norton who
will report to the Project Director, Lieuten-
ant General Bev Powell, III Corps Com-
maider and Commanding General, Fort
Hundreds of years were required to achieve
the mobility of the armored division. A little
over two decades later we had the airmobile
division. With cooperative effort, no more
than 10 years should separate us from the
automated battlefield.
Some will say that this is an unrealistic
expectation. Some will say that the current
experience in Vietnam, in which the infantry
continues to bear the brunt of combat, does
not support this visualization of the future.
History tells another story. The experience
and technology at the time of the British
Mark IV tank at Cambrai n 1917 and the
H-34 helicopter in the fifties provided the
evidence to define the future of these
I believe our future path has been clearly
We will pioneer this new dimension in
ground warfare and develop an integrated
battlefield system. The United States Army
will again lead the way. Our young officers
and NCO's will accept the challenge.
I i-16-
Many U.S. ambassadors have attended the National War College at some point in their
career. Located in Washington, D.C., the College is operated under the supervision
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by a Commandant for Academic Affairs and another for
Foreign Affairs. Top-level courses are given in a ten-month academic course to sen-
ior military officers and to civilian career officers (e.g., foreign service offi-
cers). The courses are arranged so that, near the end of the ten-month period, one
engages in "intensive studies of areas of the world and study of specific problems
incident to the conduct of national security affairs." The present Deputy Commandant
for Foreign Affairs is Edwin Lightner, Jr., who joined the Foreign Service in 1930.
Lightner has had extensive service in Latin America, including posts in Venezuela,
Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. More importantly, he was Deputy Chief of Mission and
Consul of the Korean Embassy from 1951-53. He has held his present post in the
National War College since 1966.
Lt. General Andrew Goodpaster was Commandant of the National War College until he was
assigned to the Paris Peace Talks where he has been the number three man under Aver-
ill Harriman. He was then designated deputy commander to Creighton Abrams, who re-
placed Gen. Westmoreland as chief of United States forces in Vietnam. Goodpaster
was also the day-to-day adviser to President Eisenhower on national security affairs,
a job which included operating as a liaison with the Defense and State Departments
as well as the CIA.
Sources and Further Readings on the Country Team
The United States Information Agency, 31st Review of Operations, July-December 1968, USIA
The Information Machine: The USIA and American Foreign Policy, Robert E. Elder,University
of Syracuse Press, 1968.
Survey of the Alliance for Progress, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 1969, 865 pp.
The Task of Development, AID, July 1968, 30 pp.
For a periodic listing of contractors with AID see: Current Technical Service Contracts,
Contract Services Division, AID, Washington,D.C. 20523.
U.S. Government Organization Manual, 1968-69, Gov't. Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
The Age of Imperialism, Harry Magdoff, Monthly Review Press, New York,1969, chapter on aid.
The Country Team, State Dept., Gov't. Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1967.
A Guide to U.S. Government Agencies Involved in International Educational and Cultural
Activities, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, State Dept., September 1968.
North American Congress
on Latin America Second Class Postage Paid
Box 57 Cathedral Station at New York, New York
New York, New York 10025

Tags: Gen. Westmoreland, US army, congressional record

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