5 things to know about Soldier 2020
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Nov. 14, 2013) -- U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command is currently leading two efforts within Soldier 2020, the Army's plan to integrate women into previously closed military occupational specialties. As these efforts continue to shape the future of the force, here are five things to remember about TRADOC and Soldier 2020:
1. It's about standards
TRADOC's first effort, in collaboration with U.S. Army Medical Command's U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM, is a study of the physical demands required for each military occupational specialty, or MOS, throughout the Army, beginning with MOSs currently closed to women.
TRADOC and USARIEM have identified the critical physically demanding MOS specific tasks. Applying scientific rigor and methodology, USARIEM is using laboratory equipment to instrument Soldiers while they carry out these tasks. These measurements will determine the physiological capabilities (e.g., strength, endurance and energy) that an individual must have to complete specific tasks to acceptable standards. These measurements will also help the Army establish clear, updated standards across the force.
"Soldier 2020 is about a standards-based Army; upholding the standards of our profession -- the Army Profession," said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, TRADOC senior enlisted adviser. "Our work will allow us to match the right Soldiers, regardless of whether they are men or women, to jobs that best correspond to their abilities."
2. It's about leadership
TRADOC's second effort, led by the TRADOC Analysis Center, is an extensive study of the institutional and cultural factors associated with integrating women into previously closed MOSs.
Using focus groups, interviews, surveys, Soldier feedback, an ongoing literature review and collaboration with numerous outside agencies, TRAC's effort will not only study current policies and processes, but will also look at potential implementation strategies and possible barriers to success that may be driven by culture and tradition.
"As we move toward integrating women into previously closed occupations, we must do so with the understanding that the leadership and culture of a unit -- the history, lineage and social dynamics -- are crucial to successfully dealing with changes that will occur," said Col. Lynette Arnhart, TRAC's Fort Leavenworth, Kan., deputy director and senior military analyst.
3. It's about doing it right
Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of TRADOC, said the studies will take time in order to be successful and must be done right in order to maintain the credibility of the institution while improving standards throughout the Army.
"The combat readiness of our Army must remain the first priority," Cone said. "While this integration requires a well-thought out approach, I am confident we can do this right and improve the total force."
During a visit earlier this year to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III said the changes won't -- and shouldn't -- happen overnight, but rather, they should be deliberate and incremental.
"The first and largest obstacle the Army must overcome for integration is the culture," Chandler said. "There is still a perception in some parts of the Army that female Soldiers won't be able to do the same things as their male counterparts, or that we won't be as successful if we have them in combat arms organizations. I think the people saying these things are a vocal minority."
4. It's about Soldiers
Using a standards-based approach, Soldier 2020 aims to remove barriers, thereby giving every Soldier the opportunity to serve in any position where he or she is capable of performing to the standard, according to TRADOC's commanding general.
"Soldier 2020 holds the promise of improving quality across our warfighting formations, while providing a level field upon which all soldiers can succeed based upon talent," Cone said.
Additionally, the Army will be better able to select and train Soldiers -- regardless of gender or age -- who are able to safely perform the physically demanding tasks of the MOS, with the goal of fewer training injuries.
"There are Soldiers right now in almost every MOS who are not capable of doing their jobs," said Marilyn Sharp, USARIEM research scientist and project lead investigator for Soldier 2020. "And not only are they the ones who probably get passed over for promotion, but they're the ones who get hurt because they're in a job they're not physically qualified for."
Fewer injuries mean stronger Soldiers, and stronger Soldiers means a stronger Army.
5. It's about building a stronger Army
The Army of the future will require mental agility, teamwork and resilience from all Soldiers, regardless of gender, and the goal is to identify, select and train the best-qualified Soldiers for each job, which ultimately strengthens the Army's future force.
"In the end, we will only get better because all of our Soldiers -- men and women -- continue proving themselves as highly capable warriors on a daily basis, Cone said. "By expanding opportunities and assignments for women, we will only strengthen the force."