FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 22, 2009) — “Meeting the needs of Soldiers in the fight is the top priority for senior Army leaders, but understanding those needs requires two-way communication,” said Donald Sando, director of the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate for the Maneuver Center of Excellence during the first round of briefings today at the 2009 Infantry Warfighting Conference in Columbus, Ga.

“Maintaining the battlefield primacy of our Soldiers and the formation in which they fight is our highest concern,” said Sando. His organization serves as the Army’s agency to develop and integrate the latest technology and concepts to maneuver troops on the ground.

“Feedback from the field, from our Soldiers at the fire team and squad level is who we need to hear from in order to learn how we can improve their lethality and success in the fight,” he said.

CDID is composed of the Concepts Development Division, Soldier Requirement Division, Mounted Requirement Division, Training and Doctrine Command Capability Managers and the Maneuver Battle Lab. Together these organizations support the operational Army, through developing and improving capabilities via doctrine, training, leader development, materiel, organizations, personnel or facilities.

One of CDID’s main efforts over the past four months has been the Ground Combat Vehicle modernization effort, said Jeff Arneson a strategic planner for CDID. There are several attributes the future GCV must possess, Arneson said, and as with all new systems there will be trade-offs due to resource constraints.

“Force protection and tactical mobility are two of the most important aspects, however, and will not be traded away,” he said. The current plan is to have the GCV ready for fielding in 2015 and ready for deployment by 2017.

“If there is a way we can do things better, I want to hear from you,” said Sando who challenged those in the packed auditorium to bring their ideas, concerns and feedback to CDID.

“We are a team of teams, and from every level we need to ensure the Soldier is the best trained and equipped ‘weapon’ our Army has in order to do the hard job we ask of him,” he said. The organization reaches out to the Army via a variety of methods, most recently, it has established social media avenues such as Twitter and Flickr.

“We maintain contact with the field through a variety of venues – industry days, Strykernet, warfighter forum conferences,” he said, “so we can put out the latest developments, technologies and concepts we’ve got; but these venues also make for great opportunity to hear from the field.”

“I can tweet you our latest technologies, and you can tweet me back with what’s working and what’s not working. I’d like 1,000 tweets by the end of today,” Sando told the audience of Soldiers and leaders. “We want to know what we can do to train and equip you for the fight.”

Sando received the feedback he requested as conference attendees asked questions regarding the implementation of an adverse weather manual, the importance of nonlethal capabilities, and improving lethality of ground fighting vehicles and supporting Army Force Generation.

“We’re actively addressing each of these areas, moving forward and getting the Soldiers on the ground what they need whether it be equipment, training or doctrine,” he said.

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