The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • TRADOC commander gives final address to CGSC

  • During the 20th century, most conflicts involving the U.S. Army concerned force-on-force battles.

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  • During the 20th century, most conflicts involving the U.S. Army concerned force-on-force battles.
    “You had very easily recognizable threats,” Gen. William S. Wallace said.
    Now there are actors in conflicts who avoid force-on-force conflicts. They use terrain to deny observation.
    And even when they can be seen, it’s hard to tell who they are.
    These were some of the observations made Monday by Wallace, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
    The remarks were part of the general’s final address at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
    Wallace, who previously served as the commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, will retire in about three months after about 40 years in the Army.
    Wallace said it used to be relatively easy to visualize how to fight the bad guys. He said it’s more difficult to do that in the 21st century.
    He later said it once was easier to visualize what an end state of an operation would be.
    He said it’s more difficult today as one first has to understand the problem he’s trying to solve. He said considerations of things such as language, culture, tribes, history, aspirations of populations and regional issues are all part of understanding the problem.
    Wallace said an operation will change an environment and a commander may have to change his approach.
    “So understanding the problem is not a one-time shot,” he said.
    In his remarks, Wallace also included general advice for leaders.
    He said leadership is a commander’s job. He said a commander cannot lead soldiers while looking at a flat panel display. He said a leader has to go see what the soldiers are doing every day.
    Wallace said the soldiers in the field have a better perspective of the complexity of their environment and its changes than a commander’s staff.
    Wallace said he was retiring with an extra degree of confidence because the officers in the audience were a lot more prepared for the environment he’d discussed than he ever was.
    At the conclusion of Wallace’s remarks, he was presented a medallion from Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV. Caldwell is the commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.
    Caldwell said Wallace has never lost the heart of a soldier during his nearly 40 years of service.
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