“The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.” — Albert Einstein
Time and time again, we in the Army have seen this proven true. And although we rarely get it exactly right, we try hard to understand key dimensions of the future so that we have an Army manned, trained and equipped to confront any possible challenge the nation might face.
A key part of this effort is a series of seminars the Army runs every year titled “Unified Quest.” In short, Unified Quest serves as the Army’s think tank and a greenhouse for ideas. We take the big ideas generated by Unified Quest to identify gaps, develop concepts, and drive change in the Army.
Under the Unified Quest umbrella, we explore enduring and emerging challenges and the Army’s role in meeting them. In order to ensure we are thinking creatively about the future, we actively seek the contributions of leaders from across sectors and relevant fields of expertise.
Past Unified Quests have guided multiple versions of the Army Capstone Concept; Army Operating, Functional and Special concepts; Army Warfighting Challenges; modularity and current Brigade Combat Team structure; and input to other concepts and doctrine documents.
This year, we’re focused on “Shaping the Army of 2020 and Beyond.” Unified Quest 2012 is helping us to explore how we will transition to meet the needs of the future while simultaneously executing current operations.
This week, for example, we’re hosting a series of discussions focused on how the Army of 2020 can better support country teams, Combatant Commanders, theater campaign plans, and joint task forces through all phases of a campaign. More precisely, we are examining how the Army of 2020 will train, organize and employ its capabilities to build partners and capacity and thereby shape the operational environment. We are also examining how we can better integrate special operations and conventional forces to maximize their respective strengths in shaping the environment.
So far this year, we’ve looked at what issues may affect our future operating environment, sought junior Army leaders’ input about what they think could improve the Army Profession in the future, and examined what the Army must be able to do in the future.
These are not easy questions, and it will take our collective ideas and experiences to help determine the best way ahead. As the great Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Together, I hope that we can build a robust, open dialogue around these important issues. Share your ideas here, or, if you’re interested in learning more about Unified Quest, you can visit http://www.arcic.army.mil/unified-quest.html.