How the CSA Sees the Army

Through email channels I received this summary of bullet points a senior Army leader picked up from a lecture by the new Chief of Staff of the Army, General Schoomaker. As usual, my comments are interspersed.

– One way you know if your organization is ready for war is how much ammunition you shoot and [and how much] training with body armor. CSA specifically mentioned 3ID’s efforts to increase STRAC allocations.

This is something Schoomaker will have to push very hard; units (other than infantry) tend to treat weapons qualification as a block to be checked every year rather than a critical skill-building activity. Getting units into the habit of shooting regularly (I’d argue for at least quarterly, and preferably monthly whenever possible) will take a great deal of emphasis. Not just the CSA saying it’s important, but coming down to actually see if units are doing it and hammering them when they don’t.

– America undrefunds its military. Strategically, our country’s industry base is not geared to support Army’s requirements (only one 5.56 manufacturer and surging means to add another shift; we also can only produce 80 up-armor HMMWV‘s per month). Active engagement with Congress to resource – Congress is open and willing.

We’ll see how willing Congress is to really do what it takes to fund current operations while also paying for the infrastructure improvements the military needs.

– PERSCOM. “May have to take it completely down in order to build it back up”.- DFASCSA has had a pay problem himself every month since his return to active duty. In addition, yesterday DFAS sent a letter to his wife that he had died. These bureaucracies need to get fixed.


It’s nice to know that DFAS screws up even the CSA‘s pay.

– Global War on Terrorism. “Isn’t just about a battle, it’s about war. Strategically, military component is only one element of power. Must get all elements of power involved in the war”.- 150 Members of Congress already signed up for an increase in end strength. However cost to Army is $1.2B/yr for every 10K people.

– We already have a 20K increase through stop loss/move.


Which is why we’re unlikely to see any real increase in the size of the force: it’s just too damn expensive.

– Will relook stabilization. Army has 56K in a PCS transition at any one time. Will reassess the TTHS account. Does not make sense to him to move a Master Gunner to FT Bragg and teach him a whole new skill set, while he can be stabilized at great benefit to him, his family, the Installation, and the Army.- His biggest strategic issue: What kind of volunteer Army do we need to recruit for the future. He is concerned that we have 15% of the active force non-deployable at any one time.


This was bad before the war, but with so many deployments, we just can’t afford to have one in seven soldiers unavailable for deployment.

– Has noted that since 9-11, the quality of the Army is better. Currently up to 97% HS grads, CAT IV is .2%- Headgear. Beret will stay. But commanders should determine appropriate headgear based on METT-T ie soft caps for motor pools, etc.

– Is relooking purpose and value of Class A. Will direct all BDU and DCU wear American flag on right shoulder to emphasize Expeditionary mindset.

– Must train and equip leaders, not only for the Army, but for America

– Asymmetrical warfare: Terrorists operate at strategic level and military tactical operations at tactical level. Needs to be fixed.

– Build trust and confidence in subordinates through…Allowing them to do their job, understand what your boss is doing and take something off his plate. The more in-box/email you do, the more you get back. Keep your priorities in order, and allow time to think and conceptualize.

– Strategic leaders visualize, and then communicate complexity in a concise, simple manner. “If you want to get into the weeds, you’ll see more shit go by quickly”

– He is amazed at how fast soldiers at the lowest levels understand and resonate with his focus points and vision.


This is a result of the volunteer force. Anyone who thinks enlisted soldiers are rocks doesn’t understand the Army. The all-volunteer force means we get many very intelligent soldiers at every level of the force.

– Most important part of his vision is a joint and expeditionary mindset. “I am first a joint officer and then an army officer”. He has voted in the Tank in favor of a joint issue, even at the expense of the Army as a service. So has CNO and CMDT and CSAF. He signed a piece of paper at confirmation that if a conflict between his role as CSA and his role as a member of the Joint Staff, that the Joint Staff is supreme.- Training. Must change conditions to be adaptive, relative, responsive.

– Joint Interdependence. “We cannot operate the Army the way we used to. Must move toward Joint Interdependence which means we will give up capability to gain some other capabilities”. Two defining report cards for the Army: 507 Maint Company (Jessica Lynch) and TF Hawk (Kosovo) – took 270 C17 sorties to get 24 AH64‘s to Albania. Reason is doctrine says to move MLRS for SEAD, Infantry for protection, etc. “We have to learn that we don’t need it all to cross the LD“.


This is crucial if the Army is to be relevant. If we can’t get where the country needs us, we’re worthless.

– “All of OSD and Congress realize the next several decades will be the decades of Land Forces. We just need to organize and to get to the fight.”- Effectiveness vs Efficiency. “I don’t care how hard people work as long as we win. I don’t care what it takes to get the water to the soldier, as long as when he turns on the spicket, water comes out”. Bureaucracies attempt to be efficient; professions attempt to be effective.

– Training – Education – Experience. “When experience is tied to training and education, it is a huge multiplier”. Mentioned the recent combat experience of 3ID and the tremendous multiplier it gives the Division’s warfighting capability even through refit and reorganization. Also defines his rational of “building the bench” – need to get future senior leaders the experience they need.

– Chaos. Some want to order it. A strategic leader learns how to move it forward. “Strategic leadership is like skiing – once you get it, it starts making sense”. Many 3 and 4 stars can’t think strategically, yet many Platoon Leaders can. Recognize this capability in leaders and reward them”.

– Transformation. “As far as I’m concerned there is not a damn thing sacred about what we are doing in the Army except our values. Right now the sun, moon, and stars are lined up. Inertia is in place because the Army is in motion and supplemental is flowing. But fastest way to drive cattle is slowly. Takes most energy to get it off its feet. We are in a tremendous window of opportunity”.

– “I’m often asked how far can I move the Army? I tell them as far as I can. The Army is tremendously resilient. You can’t fool around on the margins if we’re going to change. We’re going to move very quickly and we will be well resourced. Only thing that can’t change are our values”

– Not necessarily “Do the Right Thing” – rather “Do What’s Right”


It will be interesting to see what concrete changes we start to see based on what General Schoomaker is saying. In my unit (a training unit) we haven’t really seen any concrete changes yet, but it’s early times yet. Based on what he’s said here, we should be in for some interesting changes over the next few years.

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