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Discipline and Leadership with Army Col. Drew Conover


Published December 28, 2022

The purpose of the United States Army is to deploy, fight, and win our nations wars by providing a ready force capable of deterring or defeating our adversaries in ground combat. The Army strategy defines four key missions to meet our requirements to the nation, readiness, modernizing, reforming institutional processes, and building and maintaining strategic alliances. 

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The purpose of the United States Army is to deploy, fight, and win our nations wars by providing a ready force capable of deterring or defeating our adversaries in ground combat.

The Army strategy defines four key missions to meet our requirements to nation

Readiness, the first of these missions, is being prepared to respond to regional and global conflict.  Building lethality within our combat formations, maintaining our equipment, and ensuring the health, welfare, morale, and training of our people are all critical components of readiness.

Our second mission is modernizing our equipment to retain our position as the dominate land power moving forward into the future.  The Army has invested heavily along this front and is actively pursuing new armored vehicles with unmanned capabilities, longer range artillery and rockets, upgraded air defense, more survivable aircraft with increased operational reach, new network technologies, and numerous initiatives to enhance the lethality of our small unit teams.

Reforming Army institutional processes is our third mission.  The highlight of the Army’s reform efforts are the initiatives recently put in place by the Army’s Talent Management Task Force.  These efforts have overhauled the way we promote and select senior leaders for command across the Army, better align assignments with our Soldiers expertise and desires, and introduced a number of competitive incentives designed to reward high performers and retain our talent.  

Our final mission is to build and maintain Strategic Alliances.  Our allies are, and will remain, our competitive advantage as near peer competitors increasingly challenge our values and we way of life.  We maintain persistent presence globally to build or enhance relationships with our allies and partners and to ensure our ability to fight together as part of a multi-national force if required.  

None of these missions are possible without our people – our most important resource.  Without a doubt, caring for Soldiers is the most important and rewarding part of my profession.  Critical to caring for our Soldiers is providing a safe and disciplined environment on duty, a high quality of life off duty, and ensuring that individual needs of our Soldiers and their families are met and deconflicted with operational requirements.  It’s also about instilling the Army values in our Soldiers, helping them grow as professionals and leaders, developing expert warfighters, and most importantly, building highly lethal teams capable of dominating our opponents on the battlefield while keeping our Soldiers alive.  

Along with many of those currently serving, I began my career fighting counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where decentralized operations with limited oversight provided some of the most valuable experiences of my life.  The responsibility of commanding Soldiers in combat at such a young age was a defining moment for me as a leader and really illuminated my potential in a way that I wouldn’t have known had I not served in the military.

The later stages of my career have been spent training for large scale combat operations as near-peer competitors continue to present new challenges to our security environment.  These types of operations require our Army fight at scale while synchronizing ground maneuver with aviation, artillery, logistics, air defense, and cyber, space, and communications capabilities.  This is an extremely complex type of warfare which requires a high level of expertise, discipline, teamwork, and a significant amount of practice.  Our robust and highly advanced training centers are unmatched throughout the world and provide our military a significant advantage in preparing for this type of warfare.

Regardless of the type of wars we will fight in the future, leadership will undoubtedly remain a critical component in winning and one in which the U.S. Army will certainly retain as a competitive advantage.  Developing disciplined, cohesive, and well trained units founded on trust is critical to succeed in the most difficult circumstances.  Likewise, effective planning in complex environments, clear communication, and aggressive execution will remain fundamental elements of military leadership regardless of the changing character of war.

The opportunities to lead Soldiers through difficult problems in complex environments, grow highly talented and capable leaders, and help Soldiers and their families are simply unmatched when compared to other professions and that is the reason I continue to serve.