20 May 2010

The Final US Army Armor Conference

With the pending merger with the Infantry school, the Armor Center and School has held the final Armor Warfighting Conference.

This is the final keynote speech from the Commander of the Armor Center and School.

I am extremely pleased to extend this invitation to the 64th and final Armor Warfighting Conference, which will be held from 17-20 May 2010 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This year’s conference will provide attendees a dynamic and varied agenda, promising to make the conference a premier Armor and Army event. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Mounted Warriors: Honoring the Legacy and Spearheading the Future,” we will honor our past history at Fort Knox as we prepare to move toward the future of Armor and Cavalry at Fort Benning, Georgia.

In May 1946, the first Armor Conference gathered military leaders with armor expertise at Fort Knox to discuss the issues and future of Armor, which included organization (armored division), equipment (tank design), and future developments (tanks and protective tank clothing). Armor played a pivotal role in World War II, and after the defeat of the Axis Powers, Army leaders were considering the future of tanks in the Army. Many subjects, such as the need for an armor branch, the necessity for cavalry groups, the ratio of infantry battalion to armored battalions in an armored division, were cavalry mechanized reconnaissance squadrons to be considered armored or cavalry, and the details of muzzle velocity and tank cannon size, were the critical topics of the conference. However, most of the questions arising from the 1946 conference discussions were left unanswered until 1950, when the Armor branch was established. Ironically, the branch finds itself at a similar junction today; the long war, base realignments and closures, establishment of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, and future combat developments are converging and will redefine Armor’s role in the U.S. Army.

Rising from its humble past, the conference has grown to host more than 60 vendors and 30 vehicles. Guest speakers and panels, comprised of senior military leaders and professional subject-matter experts, will present briefings and lead professional discussions. These events will focus on showcasing and discussing advancements in military technology, tactics, equipment, and the future of the Armor force. Discussions will focus on strategies for training full-spectrum operations, lessons learned from operations in Iraq, trends from training centers, updates on leader development and training, and many more. We will also have the opportunity to hear from senior leaders, such as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; the commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; the commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center; and the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Army Enterprise.

As a long-standing tradition, the 15th Annual Frederick M. Franks Award will be presented during the conference to a mounted Active Duty or Reserve officer, noncommissioned officer, or Department of the Army Civilian, who has demonstrated a long-time contribution to the ground-fighting and warfighting capabilities of the U.S. Army. This year, we will give special consideration to the nominees who embody the spirit of the mounted warrior, past and present. I encourage all commanders and command sergeants major to submit nominations for this prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding service to the Armor community and represents the best and brightest our branch has to offer. Nominations must be submitted no later than 21 April 2010. For additional information, contact the Armor Conference coordinators via email at armor.conference@conus.army.mil; commercial telephone (502) 624-4327/4846, 4807; or DSN 464-4327/4846 or 4807. Additional conference and Franks Award information is available at http://www.knox.army.mil/armorConf/index.htm.

In closing, I strongly emphasize the conference’s devotion to energize dialogue among stakeholders of the Armor and Cavalry force, which will launch measures toward a future force capable of providing lethal, armor-protected firepower, shock effect, and maneuver. The conference is an ideal opportunity for the members of this branch to evaluate results and discuss concrete measures for the future direction of the Armor and Cavalry force; after all, the high risk of deep maneuver will always require tanks!!

Treat ‘em Rough!

By: Brant

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