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US Naval War College – Lecture of Opportunity Series: Gen. David G. Perkins: The Army Operating Concept


A very interesting lecture


Commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command urged students to think at a higher level and focus on capabilities, rather than equipment, during a presentation at U.S. Naval War College, Oct. 27.

Army Gen. David G. Perkins addressed students, faculty and staff at the school and stressed the need to win in a complex world.

Winning is better accomplished when the focus is on capabilities and not necessarily acquiring assets, he said.

“Intellectual does lead the physical,” said Perkins. “You’ve got to start thinking seriously about what does the future really mean with regards to the big picture and capabilities. We must focus on building capabilities instead of buying things.”

The world is “unknown, unknowable and constantly changing,” according to Perkins, and the military must be ready for an enemy that is also adapting.

“We drive them [enemy] to change and avoid our strengths,” said Perkins. “For example, they know that we are very good are targeting them, so they change to avoid our strengths. They go underground. If we present just one problem for them, they will eventually compensate for that.”

The Army must look for ways to present multiple problems for the enemy so they will not be able to compensate so easily, according to Perkins.

“Generally speaking if you give them [the enemy] one dilemma, they can figure out how to mitigate it. It’s a known problem, and most people eventually will figure out how to deal with known problems,” Perkins said. “If we give them multiple dilemmas, not only do they have to figure out how to deal with this problem, but they know we’ve got about 10 other things up our sleeve.”

Perkins also told the NWC audience that he is working to build a culture of professionalism in the Army for everyone.

“We made the conscious decision that once you raise your right arm and swear an allegiance to the constitution, whether you are civilian, enlisted or officer, you are a member of the profession,” said Perkins. “Everyone is held to the standard of being a professional, and the expectations increase as you rise through the ranks.

“What the professional idea does is establish core baselines that everyone has and they act on. What that allows you to have is trust in the profession. Everyone has to have buy-in. You can’t be a profession of one.”


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