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The Army Capabilities Integration Center: Building a Future Force

As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” While I may not have any fish to share, I do have information that can help individual Soldiers do their jobs better. As the command sergeant major of an organization that supports change for the Soldier on a daily basis, I want to share information about the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) of the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to help Soldiers become more adaptable and to encourage them to innovate throughout their Army careers.

ARCIC Mission

In 2002, ARCIC was founded at Fort Monroe, Virginia, as an independent directorate under TRADOC with a lieutenant general leading the effort. Today, ARCIC leads the development and integration of force capabilities across the Army. ARCIC is all about capabilities. Capabilities can be defined as anything the military uses to perform its mission, including doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP); and materiel solutions, such as a new weapons, ammunition, and vehicles. As an integrating center, ARCIC ensures the identification, design, development, and synchronization of Army capabilities into the current and future modular forces, bringing together all the Army agencies. ARCIC also supports the TRADOC mission by writing doctrine and TTP and capturing collective training experiences.

ARCIC encourages suggestions and innovations from Soldiers across the Army. For example, a young Soldier serving as a welder in Iraq this past year, Specialist Christiansen, found a problem. He could not wear his Kevlar helmet and welding visor at the same time. Apparently, the night-vision goggle (NVG) mount on the helmet stuck out so far that he could not place the welding shield over the same spot. With this impediment, he lacked adequate protection to perform his mission in a hostile environment. To keep this problem from delaying his work, Specialist Christiansen innovated on the spot by using the existing NVG mount and modifying the attachment points to fit a MIG–IT welding shield, making the Kevlar helmet a dual-purpose welding helmet. (See photos below.)

Specialist Christiansen recognized a problem, adapted to his environment, provided a solution, and then shared his adaptation with the chain of command. Later, ARCIC was able to assist by approving the “welder head protection” requirement and working to ensure that Specialist Christiansen receives some monetary compensation through the Army Suggestion Program. This is just one of many ARCIC success stories.

ARCIC Organization

ARCIC has seven basic directorates: Concept Development and Experimentation (CDE) Directorate, Capabilities Development and Assessments (CDA) Directorate, Architecture Integration and Management Directorate (AIMD), International Army Programs Directorate (IAPD), Force Design Directorate (FDD), Future Force Integration Directorate (FFID), and Accelerated Capabilities Development (ACD) Directorate.

CDE takes a long-range view to provide capabilities to the Army. This directorate scouts into the far future—20 to 35 years from today—to independently and objectively assess, refine, and generate ideas on operational-level warfighting. It conducts wargames and experiments and writes concepts. CDE’s Wargaming Division designs and operates the Army’s Title 10 wargames and participates in wargames with the National Defense University, the U.S. Joint Forces Command, the U.S. Special Operations Command, the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, other services, and a host of Federal agencies. The directorate’s Concept Division develops, integrates, and coordinates Army operational concepts for future operations, including Army capstone, operating, and functional concepts. The Experimentation Division executes Army and TRADOC experiments (synchronized with other Army, service, joint, and program experiments) to support current and future force developments.

The Army Suggestion Program

The Army Suggestion Program allows Soldiers to contribute ideas and suggestions that may improve individual assignments, a unit’s mission accomplishment, or the Army as a whole. The program seeks suggestions that improve work methods, materials, processes, equipment, logistics, utilities, or tools. Those who provide suggestions that are implemented and save the Army money are often eligible for a cash award. The more money saved, the larger the potential award. The Army Suggestion Program is currently online. If you are interested in contributing your ideas, please visit this site: https://armysuggestions.army.mil. The Army is certainly interested in your contributions and responsive to your ideas.

CDA leads the determination of requirements and development of future force capabilities for TRADOC. Keeping a close eye on events in Iraq and Afghanistan, this directorate conducts capability gap assessments for the current force. CDA directs and manages the development of Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) documents that are provided to the joint community. It also manages the integration of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) solutions for capability gaps.

AIMD leads the development of operational architectures for warfighting concepts and capabilities. Architectures are needed in today’s complex environment to map out the key relationships and key information exchanges needed in the Army force. This important directorate develops, integrates, validates, and maintains operational architectures that provide the underpinnings for land warfare concepts, capabilities, experimentation, analysis, and solutions.

Noncommissioned Officer Education

The Army is a learning organization. In this regard, education is very important for Soldiers and NCOs across the force. Many people may not realize that the civilian education level of the NCO Corps has gone up considerably. Over 20 years ago, a high school diploma was the average education level of NCOs. Today, most NCOs have at least an associate’s degree, and many have even more education. The Army’s own educational opportunities have increased. Distance learning, the College of the American Soldier, Army Career Tracker, the GoArmyEd portal, and the eArmyU online program can provide Soldiers on the ground with the equipment they need to complete their learning requirements for their NCO Education System courses and continue their college educations from wherever they are. For more information on these programs, visit https://www.goarmyed.com/Login.aspx.

IAPD synchronizes TRADOC’s international activities to exchange information with our partners and allies to enhance current and future operational capabilities. The directorate also manages and coordinates TRADOC international activities to synchronize the exchange of multinational DOTMLPF information. In the near future, ARCIC will be assigning 15 senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to serve as liaisons in 15 different allied nations. The NCOs will represent ARCIC and the U.S. Army in those coalition partner countries. (Perhaps you or someone you know will be one of these liaison officers in a future assignment.)

FDD leads TRADOC in developing operational force design and force structure solutions and manages the organization domain of DOTMLPF to support the JCIDS and Army requirements determination processes. FDD serves as the lead for JCIDS-derived organizational solutions and the Total Army Analysis process. The directorate ensures that TRADOC-approved organizational products are introduced into the Army. These products include approved force design updates and approved changes in required force designs and force structure.

FFID is responsible for the synchronized delivery, preparation, and evaluation of all Future Combat System (FCS) products, including complementary systems; the development of doctrine, organization, training, and leadership products pertaining to Army Program Manager FCS (Brigade Combat Team) materiel developments; and the command and control of the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF). FFID and AETF create and sustain an environment for the successful testing, evaluation, and integration of FCS technologies for the current and future modular forces.

ACD coordinates force developments to ensure rapid delivery of DOTMLPF solutions to the field. It assesses and tracks DOTMLPF capabilities from the current modular force through the future force to provide prioritized recommendations for transforming force capabilities.

ARCIC is the Army’s leader in identifying, designing, developing, and synchronizing capabilities into the Army’s current and future modular forces. It is responsible for managing the modernization of the Army today and tomorrow across all Army agencies as well as joint, multinational, and other Department of Defense agencies. ARCIC supports TRADOC in providing adaptive Soldiers, leaders, and units by contributing to the development of doctrine, TTP, and the collective training experience. Ultimately, ARCIC’s measure of success is a campaign-quality Army with joint and expeditionary capabilities.

Command Sergeant Major Patrick J. Laidlaw serves in the Army Capabilities Integration Center headquarters at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Army Sergeants Major Academy, Command Sergeants Major Designee Course, Battle Staff Course, Force Management Course, and Keystone Course for Senior Noncommissioned Officers.

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