Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

May 25, 2017 at 12:06pm

Awards for 2nd Battalion

Lt. Col. Kenneth Burgess, Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, and Command Sgt. Major. Adam Nash, present awards to Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Leach, Staff Sgt. Robert Burgess, and Staff Sgt. Timothy Campbell. Photo credit: Richard Baker

The Battalion Memorial, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is about as far away from the battlefields in Afghanistan as a soldier can get. At the Memorial May 19, members of the U.S. Army Rangers from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were presented with a Silver Star, Bronze Star Medals for valor, and Joint Service Commendation Medals for valor, and a Purple Heart Medal. The Award Ceremony took place under one of the first blue skies of the year.

Such prestigious awards are not new to the 2nd Battalion. They returned earlier this year from their 23rd combat deployment. The number of deployments illustrates their value in the support of the War on Terror.

Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of 1st Corps, praised the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, their bravery and integrity, and reminisced about his former days with the unit.  With the assistance of Lt. Col. Kenneth Burgess and Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash, the awards were presented to the staunch soldiers standing at attention.

Soldiers received a total of 178 medals including one Silver Star, five Bronze Stars with Valor, six Joint Service Commendation Medals with Valor, 28 Bronze Stars, 87 Joint Service Commendation Medals, and 54 Joint Service Achievement Medals.

Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Leach received the Silver Star, the highest award of the ceremony. On Jan. 1, Sgt. Leach, serving as platoon leader, came under AK-47 fire and grenade attacks from within a targeted compound. Shrapnel flew everywhere and Leach was wounded in several places. An Afghan soldier was also wounded in the attack. He fell to the ground, too injured to move. Despite direct fire from a second story window, Leach refused to leave his Afghan comrade and returned fire for over three minutes. Although bleeding badly, he continued to lead his unit, reorganize security, and refused medical attention until all MEDEVACs were completed.

Because of Leach's relentless fire, two other wounded Rangers managed to seek safety outside the compound. He then dragged the Afghan soldier to safety.

The 2nd Ranger Battalion was formed in 1943 and participated in the Normandy Invasion where they secured the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and captured a battery of 155mm artillery. They were deactivated after the war but were reactivated in October 1974 at then Fort Lewis.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the battalion has been deployed in constant support in the War on Terrorism. In 2003, they participated in the invasion of Iraq and were the first American ground force into Baghdad. The battalion presently conducts missions on short notice throughout the world, presently in Afghanistan and Iraq where they conduct air assaults, raids, patrols and ambushes.

Their mission continues to be vital and dangerous and as of February 2016, 16 Rangers have given their lives in the defense of freedom.

May 25, 2017 at 11:52am

Military fairy godmother and sorority sisters help

Spc. Natasha Manning-Redmond (center) and military sorority member takes a photo with the four young women she assisted in attending the Clover Park High School prom May 13 in Tacoma. Photo courtesy Natasha Manning-Redmond

There were no magic wands or singing mice, but for a group of young women who needed help getting to their prom, Spc. Natasha Manning-Redmond and two sorority sisters were nothing short of fairy godmothers.

A chaplain's assistant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, Manning-Redmond said she has always considered community service important. That, coupled with her own memories of prom drove her to try and help four Clover Park High Schools Seniors who may have needed some financial assistance to attend the prom.

"I remember my mom stressing about paying for my dress, paying for my shoes. It was so stressful on her," said Manning-Redmond as she reminisced about her own prom in 2001 at John Bartram High School in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Thinking about it, that stuff really adds up."

Last year around this time Manning-Redmond helped one student attend her prom. She said she was put in contact with the student after telling school employees she was willing to help girls who couldn't afford to attend. The student called her a "fairy godmother".

Manning, who at one point, lived in a homeless shelter with her mother said she understands that sometimes people just need a little help.

"I was always into community service and volunteering is one the most important things for me, besides my family," Manning-Redmond said.

This year she was able to help young women from the high school with help from Sgt. 1st Class Ericka Parker, and Staff Sgt. Phylicia Rolland.

The three belong to military sorority, Kappa Epsilon Psi. A part of their sorority's mission is to provide mentorship and give back to the community according to Parker, who's been a member since 2015.

Together the three contributed about $700 toward makeup, hair stylists, shoes and other prom preparations.

The day before the prom the students accompanied Manning-Redmond to a spa where they received manicures and pedicures.

Preparations on the day of prom, May 13, took place at Manning-Redmond's house, where two beauticians waited to help the students look their best for the big night.

The sorority sisters gave the excited prom goers retrospective advice and shared their own memories of prom.

"Prom is definitely a big deal at the end of a school year," said Parker. "Anything to help, give back or award someone else an opportunity to have a great time, especially when they have sacrificed and worked so hard in school, I'm all for it."

Eighteen-year-old Erika Savedra, a member of the school prom committee and one of the recipients of the "fairy godmother" package said she was "thankful" for Manning-Redmond's help.

"She really hooked us up," said Savedra, as she sat waiting to be glammed up by the beauticians at Manning-Redmond's home on prom day.

Manning-Redmond also attended the prom with the teens as a chaperone.

She said she plans to continue helping students from the school attend prom, as long as she's stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

During the prom, she received word that a young man asked for her assistance in attending prom next year. While the last two years have been an all-female affair, she said next year she will host an all-male event.

"Males need the same treatment," she said. "But no curling hair and makeup, unless they want to. I don't judge."

May 21, 2017 at 5:19am

JBLM volunteers honored

Volunteer honorees (from left) George and Crystal Kelly, Sarah Mitchell, Jessica Heffner and Capt. Keisha Johnson listen to special acknowledgments from volunteer coordinators during the annual JBLM Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Ceremony at th

Volunteers are “Unforgettable” and a big blessing, according to singer Daisy Ashford, who sang to volunteers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Ceremony at the Club at McChord Field May 11.

JBLM’s many volunteers were honored with Ashford’s unique stylings of the Nat King Cole standard, as well as a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.”

“We want to celebrate all the works in the community,” Ashford said.

Lieutenant General Gary Volesky, I Corps and JBLM commanding general, provided some thoughts at the ceremony, such as the importance of volunteering and how the time given by volunteers has a financial impact while providing much needed services to the JBLM community.

“The most significant thing we do selflessly is give of our time,” Volesky said.

The 250 volunteers at the event provided much of the 130,000 volunteer hours given in the past year.

“That’s $3.1 million we would have had to pay someone else to do those jobs,” Volesky said.

During the ceremony, Lori Parker, JBLM Volunteer Corps program manager, presented Volesky; Col. Daniel Morgan, JBLM garrison commander; and Col. Leonard Kosinski, commander 62nd Airlift Wing, with a large faux check for the $3.1 million of in-kind volunteer hours.

At the event, engraved clocks, certificates of appreciation, gift cards and other recognition items were given to JBLM’s community, retiree, family, active duty and adult volunteers of the year.

Jessica Heffner, a volunteer with Lakes Elementary School and family adviser to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, was honored as Community Volunteer of the Year.

Heather Prescher, who was not able to attend the ceremony, was selected as Retiree Volunteer of the Year.

The JBLM Family of the Year title went to George and Crystal Kelly of Lakewood for their volunteer effort with JBLM’s worship community. The couple has chaperoned youths on trips, coordinated a Back-to-School Bash event attended by more than 1,000 military families, coordinated a Harvest Fest for similar numbers of military families, participated in Tillicum Elementary School’s Veteran’s Day assembly and partnered with the school to deliver 50 holiday food baskets.

The Kellys also volunteer with youth bowling, youth lock-in and retreat, Black History Month celebration, annual Grandparent’s Day Luncheon and Grace Gospel Service’s annual Praise Dance Showcase.

Captain Keisha Johnson, Madigan Army Medical Center, earned Active-Duty Volunteer of the Year award for her coordination of the Women’s Health Fair and assistance with the Stand out Feed the Soldiers program that provided holiday meals to more than 500 service members during the holidays.

She also planned and coordinated an outreach program that provided food and hygiene products to Tacoma’s homeless and helped with the Back to School Bash, Harvest Fest, the Youth Lock-in retreat and end of the year celebration, served on a young adult advisory council and directed multiple ministry choirs.

Sarah Mitchell received the Volunteer of the Year award. Mitchell, a mother of four, served as board president for the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop, which entails overseeing operations, employees and volunteers, managing grant requests, pricing inventory and meetings. She volunteered an additional 108 hours as a volunteer at the thrift shop. Mitchell also served as the Fisher House meal coordinator, volunteers with the Lewis Community Spouses’ Club and served as the 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion’s Family Readiness Group adviser.

Five volunteers of merit were:

• Sgt. Katie Campbell, a volunteer with the 110th Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), 555th Engineer Brigade, Family Readiness Group and also with her children’s elementary school;

• Herb Schmelling, a volunteer with the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter of the Association of the United States Army;

• Lorry Ryan, a volunteer with the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade Family Readiness Group and also the Lewis Community Spouses’ Club, Santa’s Castle, Mann Middle School and Rainier Elementary School;

• Ashley Waltrip, a volunteer soccer coach with Child, Youth and School Services sports programs and Special Olympics bowling and basketball, Family Readiness Group treasurer, and a school volunteer;

• Andrea Preusker, volunteer camp facilitator with the Exceptional Family Member Program, unit Family Readiness Group adviser, a volunteer with Santa’s Castle and secretary of the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund. Preusker also headed the creation of the installation’s Wear it Again Boutique and Operation Deploy Your Dress program.

May 19, 2017 at 3:53pm

JBLM Civil Affairs assist training in Phillipines

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jon Conroe, chaplain with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, offers a prayer during a community event in support of Balikatan 2017 at Camp Dela Cruz in Upi, Gamu, May 12. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Nashaunda Tilghman

CAMP DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu - Philippine soldiers from the 5th Infantry Division and U.S. soldiers from the 448th Civil Affairs Battalion, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, presented humanitarian assistance and disaster relief kits to first responders from Isabela, Cagay, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino provinces, May 12.

Chaplains from the armed forces of the Philippines and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, presented first responders with supplies that may be used during a recovery operation in the wake of a disaster.

"So these disaster kits, which have a number of different things, they can take back with them and use them when they need to be first responders when another (disaster) occurs," said U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Hendricks, force chaplain, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

AFP and U.S. forces distributed the HADR kits, which contained protective eyewear, ponchos, flashlights, dust masks, safety vests and emergency radios, along with other emergency items, at this year's Balikatan exercise.

"We worked closely with the (448th) Civil Affairs Group from the U.S. Army to support their efforts, so that rather than just giving the volunteers the (disaster relief) training, we could give them the training and give them the very tools that they'll need to respond to any disaster," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jon Conroe, deputy force chaplain, MARFORPAC.

By training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, U.S. and Philippine forces are better prepared to provide relief to remote areas of the Philippines.

Servicemembers presented the kits to the first responders after a closing ceremony recognizing the culmination of three days of disaster response training administered by both the Philippine and U.S. militaries.

May 18, 2017 at 2:53pm

"Ghost Brigade's" war on excess

Spc. Aaron Dumond (left), a team leader with D Company, reads off a list of required items needed for turning in their Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter to the Logistics Readiness Center. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Samuel Northrup

The 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team has been taking part in an installation-wide material management program to synchronize and execute material management actions and increase on hand equipment readiness.

The process included equipment alignment, lateral transfers, and excess turn-in so units can maximize equipment readiness across Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The process started at company levels and expanded to include all 1-2 SBCT units. Units have also divested excess equipment to fill shortages off of JBLM.

"If transfers are not required within the brigade because everyone is filled up on the equipment, than the next step is to turn it in or ship it possibly to another post," said Capt. Clayton Shillings, logistics director for 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, 1-2 SBCT.

The program, which is known as Unit Equipping and Reuse Working Group - Expanded (UERWG-E), was directed by Forces Command and began in September 2016 with the identification of excess equipment, according to Maj. Joseph Baumbach, the logistics director for 1-2 SBCT. The brigade began with 6,500 pieces of excess equipment and 4,642 need to be divested by July 9.

"A piece of equipment can go anywhere, from another company in the brigade to the Army National Guard or Reserve component units," Baumbach said. "Wherever it's needed. It can also go to depots or to the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services where it will get stocked for future use or destroyed.

"This program is important in order to modernize the Army," he added. "It is forcing us to get rid of our legacy equipment, whether it is old NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) equipment, old communication equipment, or old soft-skinned vehicles, while retaining the newer equipment."

This is all based on the Modified Table of Organization (MTOE), said Shillings. There may be a new weapon that is being issued and a unit has an older weapon sitting on the books in place of it. By replacing and divesting equipment, the brigade can maintain readiness on an equal footing across the board.

"Getting rid of equipment that is excess also benefits us because we are not trying to perform maintenance on that equipment to keep it running or up-to-date," said Shillings. "This saves time and money. If you have twenty weapons, but you only need ten. You can focus more on maintaining the ten than on the twenty, ensuring unit readiness."

"We are only authorized to repair what in our unit by MTOE, so anything excess will eat into our training dollars in order to fix," said Baumbach. "Reducing the amount of excess equipment also reduces our budget constraints - making us a better fighting force by having more money available for training."

The 1-2 SBCT is the largest unit on JBLM to participate in UERWG-E, according to Baumbach. As of May 9, the unit has divested 3,075 out of 4,642 of equipment - 66 percent during the 11 weeks of conducting UERWG.

May 12, 2017 at 6:23am

Former JBLM youth signs contract with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joel G. Broida Former Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau (13) recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent for the 2017 season.

The only thing Sefo Liufau wanted was a chance to compete for a spot on a roster in the National Football League. Although he went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft April 27 to 29 in Philadelphia, he will have that chance signing as an undrafted free agent.

Shortly after the end of the seventh round, Liufau was signed to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — one of several names of undrafted college players going to all 32 NFL teams.

The former University of Colorado quarterback grew up at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His father is a retired Army sergeant first class who served with Western Regional Medical Command, now Regional Health Command-Pacific.

“(My family) was really happy that I got an opportunity to play for a team,” Liufau said.

Liufau’s uncle, Jack Thompson, known as “The Throwin’ Samoan” from Washington State University, was a quarterback for the Buccaneers from 1983 to 1984 as part of a six-year career in the NFL. Thompson was recently quoted in the Tampa Bay Times recognizing Liufau’s leadership skills and work ethic. Aside from warning Liufau how hot Tampa would be, Thompson’s advice for the former Colorado quarterback was simple.

“Just be yourself, and that will show your character,” Thompson said.

In his four years with the Buffaloes, Liufau totaled 9,763 yards and 60 touchdowns. He was also part of the team’s growth from a 4-9 record in 2015 to 10-4 last season that included a trip to the Alamo Bowl — the school’s first bowl bid since 2007.’s draft profile on Liufau credits Liufau’s 6-foot-3, 232-pound frame and mental toughness that served him well for Colorado’s offense. However, scouts negatively marking his mechanics gave him a 4.8 grade out of 10 — falling in the range of having a 50 percent chance of making a 53-man roster in September.

The odds are not impossible for Liufau to be with the Buccaneers for the start of the regular season. Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks, who also grew up at JBLM, has had success in the five seasons, including a touchdown catch at Super Bowl XLVIII.

Liufau said how he got into the NFL didn’t change how he plans to approach training camp and the preseason games.

“Even if you were picked early, you want to have the mindset to work hard; that mindset hasn’t changed for me,” Liufau said.

Liufau will enter training camp with three other quarterbacks on the Tampa Bay roster: last season’s starter in Jameis Winston, returning backup Ryan Griffin and Sean Renfree, who was waived by Atlanta before last season.

Liufau said there can be more details in a NFL playbook than a college playbook, but he remains confident he has put himself in the right spot going into the 2017 season.

“It’s a big jump from college to the NFL,” Liufau said. “You have to show that you can make all the reads and show you can play at this level. I just have to understand the reads and the checks in the pass and run game.”

May 12, 2017 at 6:21am

What to do with mom this weekend

Courtesy photo The annual Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet will take place at the Club at McChord Field Sunday. Seatings are available at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

If You Go

Five fun ideas for Mother’s Day:

• Northwest Adventure Center’s Mother’s Day Rafting Trip in Wenatchee. Begins at Leavenworth Saturday. No rafting experience necessary, must be 12 years old or older. Cost is $65 each with $20 extra for steak dinner. For information, call 253-967-7744.

• Pike Place Market Flower Festival, on Pike Street, just east of the waterfront in Seattle. Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Bring money to buy flowers, food and more.

• Mom and Me at the Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle. Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $12.95 to $20.95. Half-price for moms. Children age 2 and younger free.

• Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma. Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $9.95 to $17.95. Moms half-price. Children 2 years old and younger free.

• Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at the Club at McChord Field, 700 Barnes Blvd. Seating is at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Price is $28.95 for ages 13 and older; ages 4 to 12, $14.95; ages 3 and younger, free. Club members receive a $2 discount. Reservations are required. Call 253-982-5581.

From rafting to restaurants, flora, fauna and festivals, the Pacific Northwest offers several ways to celebrate and honor loved ones this Mother’s Day.

If the mother figure in your life is the adventurous type, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Northwest Adventure Center’s Mother’s Day Rafting Trip in Wenatchee might be a fun, family activity to make her feel loved on her special day.

Instructors will start the course near the state’s own cute and quaint Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth. The trip allows participants to paddle through the class-three rapids. River rafting trips are rated by the American Whitewater Association, with class-one being a beginner’s trip, and class-two worthy of novice rafters.

Class-three rapids have moderate, irregular waves that may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Though scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties, injuries while swimming in class-three waters are rare and self-rescue is usually easy, according to the American Whitewater’s website.

Water ratings go up to class-six, with class-four being advanced; class-five, expert; and class-six, extreme and exploratory rapids.

For those who want a more traditional and less invigorating outing, there are several of those in the area as well.

The ninth annual Pike Place Market Flower Festival will offer 40 tents filled with floral bouquets to show appreciation. Floral-themed, hand-crafted items will be on sale at the event, which is at the market on Pike Street, just east of the waterfront in Seattle. The Flower Festival is free and takes place Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A trip to the zoo also might be a way to show mom some love. Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is hosting Mom and Me at the Zoo Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. All moms get in for half-price at the event, which, in addition to all the regular animals and exhibits, includes zookeeper talks about the moms and new babies at the zoo.

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma also has a half-price admission for moms event Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And, if you’re looking for an opportunity to treat mom right on Mother’s Day itself, consider the Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at the Club at McChord Field, 700 Barnes Blvd. The meal includes: salads, seafood, omelets, bacon, sausage, roasted prime rib with au jus and horseradish, waffles, hash browns, fresh vegetables, cheese, fruit, pastries, muffins and an assortment of sweets.

May 12, 2017 at 6:20am

JBLM culinary team wins annual competition

U.S. Navy Photo The Naval Base Kitsap Trident Inn Galley Iron Chef team presents their dish to the judges, during the 25th annual Armed Forces Culinary Arts Competition Saturday.

BREMERTON — Olympic College hosted the 25th annual Armed Forces Culinary Arts Competition at the college’s Bremer Student Center in Bremerton Saturday.

A team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord won the competition with a score of 950 points.

Each year, service members from JBLM, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Station Everett, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and other commands throughout the Pacific Northwest come together to compete in a battle of culinary ability for the title of “Iron Chef.”

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island placed second with 313 points, and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) came in third with 294 points.

“I’m excited to taste the talent of the Pacific Northwest today during the competition,” said Capt. Alan Schrader, Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer.

There were also more professional judges at the event.

“I think it’s great we have so many competitors this year and all of the branches and veterans alike,” said Chef Chris Plemmons, a judge from Olympic College. “I’m honored they have come together to compete and allowed us to host and judge the competition.”

There were eight categories for the entire competition: chili, ribs, wings, cake, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, hot food kitchen floor and overall.

“When you watch the competitors, you can see them thinking on how they will use the ingredients and what they will make,” said Capt. Mike Elmstrom, commanding officer, Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific.

The event was open to the public with a large turnout.

“This is my eighth year judging the culinary competition,” said Mayor Patty Lent, Bremerton mayor. “This is the first year Olympic College has had its own team compete.”

The competition was the kickoff for Bremerton’s Armed Forces Week, according to Lent.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island took home the title of best wings, cake and chili, while JBLM won the hors d’oeuvres and desserts categories, pushing their points high enough to win the overall category.

“I love the challenge,” said Army Spc. Aaron Miseray, with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord . “Fear is what drives me. This is my first year competing on the grand scale.”

As the teams prepared to present their main dishes for the judges, spectators roamed around and ate food prepared by other participants.

“It makes me feel like I’m making all the right decisions as an effective leader and an even more effective follower,” Miseray said. “To set the standard for a new breed of aggressive and efficient 92 Golfs (culinary specialists).”

May 11, 2017 at 10:09am

Future warfare requires 'disciplined disobedience'

U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, talks with Observer Controllers at the U.S. Army National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Nov. 6, 2016. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Burden

Following every order to the letter is largely understood to be a way of life in the Army. But that may not always be the best course of action. In fact, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley said he expects soldiers to know when it's time to disobey an order.

"I think we're over-centralized, overly bureaucratic, and overly risk-averse," Milley said while speaking last Thursday at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., as part of the Atlantic Council Commanders Series.

That overly bureaucratic environment may work in garrison, during peacetime, he said, but it's "the opposite of what we are going to need in any type of warfare - but in particular, the warfare I envision."


During last year's Association of the U.S. Army symposium in October, Milley laid out just exactly what his vision of future warfare would be. He said then that he expects conditions "will be extremely austere. Water, chow, ammo, fuel, maintenance and medical support will be all that we should plan for."

He also said that soldiers could expect to be surrounded all the time, so they will always need to be on the move if they hope to stay alive.

"In short, learning to be comfortable with being seriously miserable every single minute of every single day will have to become a way of life for an Army on the battlefield that I see coming," he said.

Leaders on the battlefield could expect to be out of contact with their own leadership for significant periods of time. Those officers would still need to accomplish their commander's objectives, even when the conditions on the battlefield change and they are unable to send word up the chain of command.

"We are going to have to empower (and) decentralize leadership to make decisions and achieve battlefield effects in a widely dispersed environment where subordinate leaders, junior leaders ... may not be able to communicate to their higher headquarters, even if they wanted to," Milley said.

In that environment, Milley said, the Army will need a cadre of trusted leaders on the battlefield who know when it's time to disobey the original orders they were given and come up with a new plan to achieve the purpose of those orders.


"We're the military, so you're supposed to say, ‘Obey your orders,'" Miley said. "That's kind of fundamental to being in the military. We want to keep doing that. But a subordinate needs to understand that they have the freedom and they are empowered to disobey a specific order, a specified task, in order to accomplish the purpose. It takes a lot of judgment."

Such disobedience cannot be "willy-nilly." Rather, it must be "disciplined disobedience to achieve a higher purpose," Milley said. "If you do that, then you are the guy to get the pat on the back."

Milley said that when orders are given, the purpose of those orders must also be provided so that officers know both what they are to accomplish and how they are expected to accomplish it.

To illustrate his point, Milley offered the example of an officer who has been ordered to seize "Hill 101" as part of a larger battle plan.

"I've said the purpose is to destroy the enemy," Milley said. "And the young officer sees Hill 101, and the enemy is over on Hill 102. What does he do? Does he do what I told him to do, seize Hill 101? Or does he achieve the purpose, destroy the enemy on Hill 102?"

The answer, Milley said, is that the officer disobeys the order to seize the first hill because following that order would not achieve his commander's purpose. Instead, he takes the other hill.

"And he shouldn't have to call back and say ‘hey boss ... can I go over to 102?' He shouldn't have to do that," Milley said. "They should be empowered and feel they have freedom of maneuver to achieve the purpose."

Right now, Milley said, the Army already has doctrine that describes what he envisions for the future: "mission command" doctrine. Part of that doctrine, he said, instructs commanders to tell their subordinates the purpose of what they are doing. "That's important for subordinates to understand the why, the purpose," he said.

But the Army, he said, has a hard time practicing what it writes into doctrine.

"My point is what we do in practice is we micromanage and over-specify everything a subordinate has to do, all the time, in regulations, in ALARACT messages, in rules," he said. "That is not an effective way ... to fight. Not an effective way to conduct operations. You will lose battles and wars if you approach warfare like that."

"We must trust our subordinates," he added. "You give them the task, you give them the purpose, and then you trust them to execute and achieve your intent, your desired outcome - your purpose."

Getting soldiers and leaders to do that will require training, he said. And it will require encouraging them to operate that way.

"You have to train to it, you have to prepare for it, and you have to live it and do it every day," he said.


Milley acknowledged that it's impossible to predict exactly how warfare in the future will play out, but he did say there are some "broad outlines" that can be drawn upon to help with the development of decisions regarding doctrine, organization and equipment. Technology, he believes, will have a huge impact on warfare.

"I think we are at the intersection of a variety of technologies that are happening in time and space, all about the same time, that are going to have a fundamental change or result in fundamental change to the character of warfare."

One technology of today that has already been around for a while, he noted, are precision-guided munitions.

"For a long time, the United States dominated precision-guided munitions," he said. "Now, precision-guided munitions have proliferated throughout the world."

Information technology also will have a dramatic effect, he said, citing the iPhone as an example. He said that today, through existing technology, one has access to high-quality imagery, communications, and real-time data on the location of people, equipment and formations, for instance, nearly anywhere on Earth.

"I would argue that we are at a point where ... almost anything militarily can be seen," he said. "So when you combine the ability to see ... with precision-guided munitions, that's like going from the smoothbore to the rifle. That's going to rapidly and radically increase lethality on the battlefield."

He noted that robotics are now used in the air and sea domains but currently play a limited role on the ground. Over the next decade, however, he expects to see a "rapid introduction of robotic systems in ground warfare."


Demographic changes also will affect the character of war, he said. In particular, he pointed to increases in urbanization.

According to Milley, social scientists predict that by 2050 about 90 percent of Earth's projected population of more than eight billion people will likely live in "highly dense, complex urban areas." As a result of that shift, he said, it's probable that armed conflict will occur in those same densely populated areas.

"The U.S. Army has been optimized to fight in rural terrain, to fight in the plains of Northern Europe, North America (and) the deserts of the Middle East," he said.

Optimizing for urban warfare, he said, will require changing not only how soldiers fight, but how equipment is used.

"A tank's barrel can elevate to a certain degree," he said. "In an urban environment, it might need to elevate to almost a 90-degree angle. That has huge implications."

Likewise, much consideration must also be devoted to such practical matters as the wingspans of unmanned aerial vehicles, casualty evacuation in densely populated areas, and the ability of current command and control systems to function in the concrete jungles of the future.

"The list goes on and on," he said. "There are about maybe 100 or 150 significant implications to that fact of urbanization and the likelihood that armed conflict is going to be more in urban areas than not."

Right now, he said, the Army has optimized for non-urban areas. But he said, "we are probably going to have to shift gears significantly over the coming decade or so to optimize the Army, or land forces - I would argue the Marines as well - to be able to operate successfully in combat operations in highly dense, complex urban areas."

May 8, 2017 at 6:05am

I3MP completes infrastructure upgrade at JBLM

U.S. Army photo The modernization project included a turn-key solution for voice, data, site preparation, inside cable plant and outside cable plant at four cantonment areas at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The Product Manager for the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program — I3MP — completed the delivery of a state-of-the-art information technology capability modernization effort at Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently. The modernizations enable JBLM to provide a secure suite of collaboration, real-time communications and supporting services to the Soldier and Army business user on any device, anywhere in the world.

This modernization effort directly affected the Army network for the project’s core customers at the headquarters for JBLM, the I Corps and the 62nd Airlift Wing, in addition to the Madigan Army Medical Center and the JBLM Network Enterprise Center.

Part of the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, I3MP’s mission is to enable information dominance through information technology infrastructure modernization and life cycle management of the Army’s installation campus-area networks and command centers within the continental United States. Time-intensive and costly, modernizing the Army network is an ongoing project, requiring that outdated equipment be decommissioned and disposed of while installing upgraded equipment without a loss in services.

The JBLM network modernization project took three years to complete, and provides the facility with a secure and highly available network infrastructure that integrates voice, video and data services to provide increased mission effectiveness to the warfighter and business communities.

“The comprehensive information infrastructure modernization of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s installation campus-area network enables the delivery of voice, video and data network services to our warfighters,” said Brendan Burke, product manager for I3MP.

Alberto Dominguez, assistant product manager, led the $18 million effort for I3MP. He and his integrated project team, known as APM CONUS, build network capacity that simplifies and standardizes installation campus-area networks at Army installations within the continental United States.

“The JBLM project delivers the foundational and mission-critical installation capability sets that will serve JBLM Soldiers, Airmen and civilians for many years to come,” he said.

As part of a contract awarded in 2014, the JBLM project included work on the outside cable plant and the inside cable plant as well as network modernizations to the JBLM information infrastructure, enabling the integration of standards-based network services with available enterprise applications, such as business, intelligence and warfighting.

Willie Matthews, the IPT lead for the JBLM project, managed day-to-day activities to ensure the project’s timely completion. He and Joseph Casazza, IPT assistant, worked in close coordination with their government and industry partners to install and route the DSN traffic through the new infrastructure. Government partners included JBLM NEC, the Defense Information Systems Agency, U.S. Army Contracting Command — Rock Island and the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command.

Matthews and Casazza supervised the installation of a turn-key solution for voice, data, site preparation, inside cable plant and outside cable plant at four cantonment areas at JBLM: Lewis Main, Lewis North, McChord Field and the Yakima Training Center.

The new infrastructure supports DISA requirements for the enterprise session controller multiprotocol label switching and joint regional security stacks, enabling JBLM to deploy hard phones or soft clients via the DISA-managed and sustained enterprise session controller.

“The JBLM modernizations provide the necessary voice infrastructure to support up to 50,000 users,” Matthews said.

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