As our Army transitions, it will stay linked to our National Security Strategy. I believe Army Aviation's demonstrated dedication to the unified Land forces under tough dangerous conditions will continue to be vitally important as the force transitions.
Since Vietnam Army Aviation's credentials have been tied directly to the ground force. Today's aviation force, as those that served before them, has magnificently supported the soldiers on the ground.
This mind set and dedication to the ground soldiers will be the reason for Army Aviation's presence on future battlefields.
The future operating environment will most likely require Army Aviation to provide significantly greater capabilities that will allow deployed unified ground forces to expand their area of operations over greatly extended distances. Army Aviation will be asked to take away future adversaries' ability to operate from the sanctuary of complex terrain.
Above all else, Army Aviation will continue to be an integral member of the land force as they conduct decisive action operations.
Army Aviation and our Army's leadership are looking at the capabilities that are most important for the near term, midterm, and far term operating environment.
There exists a close coordination between the Army Aviation requirements community, the aviation science and technology/research and development community, the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM), the Program Executive Officer Aviation (PEO AVN), and our aviation vertical lift industry that, I believe, will be the key to Army Aviation's strength on the 2034 and beyond battlefields.
The Army has done this type of visionary work before – looking towards the future with the big 5 programs in the 70s and with the Force XXI efforts in the 90s. The wisdom of these two major efforts was demonstrated in Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Army's next equivalent to the Big 5 will be the programs that set the Army force for the first half of this century. What we are in 30 years, is a function of what we do today. The Army's legacy has always been leaders that took the time to set the conditions for the next generation.
As you are reading this article, you may think of some of the leaders that took the time to mentor you. Developing junior leaders to be successful in higher leadership positions is a sacred commitment.
Teaching and guiding today's junior leaders to transition the Army after a long period of combat will carry the next generation to success.
It is what we see going on in today's Army; great senior leaders taking the time to develop the next generation of leaders. I saw an excellent example of this at the recent Army Aviation Senior Leaders Conference at Fort Rucker, AL.
These strategic efforts will be visited many times along the army's journey to the future. The linkage will always be directly tied to our National Security Strategy. That is and will remain the litmus test for relevancy.
It will take men and women with competence, character, and commitment to get it right for the next generation.
Army Aviation and our Army have these soldiers.