February 1, 2008  

Slow change

CAPT. JAMES ALDEN’S PERSPECTIVES ARTICLE, WHILE INTERESTING, WAS ALSO DISTURBING ON MANY LEVELS [“Eyes wide shut,” March]. While I concede that the Army’s process of change is handicapped, I do not think that “the rigidity of doctrine and stalwart commitment to organizational structure” is as influential a factor as Alden would have us believe. The sheer size and complexity of the Army in conjunction with the logistical underpinnings of testing, fielding and incorporating new technological innovations and weapons systems (let alone strategic or doctrinal changes) have more to do with the nature of the organizational change process than the factors outlined.

It is useful to remember, as President Kennedy told us, that “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” While the Army may not be changing at the speed aspired to by Alden, it is changing.

Change in an organization as large as the Army is best measured in years and decades. To state that the “core of Army doctrine has arguably remained the same since World War II, despite its performance in conflicts for the past 60 years” is, at best, inaccurate. The doctrine has evolved in conjunction with the introduction of new technologies. Case in point: The introduction of helicopters during Vietnam dramatically changed Army doctrine, as did the introduction of the faster, more accurate and lethal mechanized force put to task during the air-land battle engagements of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Jose Delgado

Fort Meade, Md.