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Schoomaker: Army must fight in 4 quadrants

By Lt. Col. Michael Negard

COLUMBUS, Ga. (Army News Service, Nov. 22, 2005) -- Stressing leadership as the cornerstone of a relevant and ready force, the Army’s senior Soldier spoke at the Hughston Orthopedic Hospital Nov. 18 in Columbus, Ga.

“The mission of the Army is to train and equip Soldiers and grow leaders,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker to the group of 200 military and civilian leaders from Georgia and Alabama. “But in reality, we are developing leaders for the nation.”

Schoomaker said that the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review will identify four quadrants of the strategic environment in which the United States armed forces are likely to operate in the immediate future and well into the 21st century: the traditional warfare quadrant, irregular warfare quadrant, catastrophic quadrant, and the disruptive quadrant.

The future environment will demand that Army leaders at all levels be innovative, agile, and versatile in order to effectively operate across all strategic quadrants, the chief of staff said.

“Our formations and our transformational effort have to be such that we grow pentathletes,” Schoomaker said. “In other words, multi-skilled leaders who will be effective across the spectrum of military operations.

We also have to build an Army that is manned and led by Soldiers who understand the Army’s values and who live the Warrior Ethos. Our Soldiers today are meeting that challenge. They believe in the mission and they believe it’s bigger than themselves.”

During his 30-minute remarks, Schoomaker also highlighted how different the Army was today compared to the force he joined in 1969.

“We had some incredibly strong leaders. We also had some incredibly poor leaders. There was a considerable polar disparity,” he said. “But what’s different today is the fact that these poles have come together because of the quality of the leadership in the officer and NCO corps, and in the Soldiers themselves, and how sophisticated they’ve become and how importantly they view leadership.”

Sustaining that quality will remain the Army’s greatest commitment.

“The Soldiers who make up this quality force are highly-skilled, intelligent, but most of all, dedicated,” said Schoomaker. “Our nation must remain as dedicated to them as they are to the nation.”

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