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Landpower Essay

An Institute of Land Warfare Publication

The Army Capstone Concept and Institutional Adaptation

No. 10-1 March 2010

Remarks by General Martin E. Dempsey, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, at the Association of the United States Army’s

Winter Symposium and Exposition,

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 25 February 2010


Today’s operational environment is increasingly complex, with an ever-expanding array of threats. Within this environment, four trends emerge: growing uncertainty, accelerating change, increased competitiveness and greater decentralization. These trends re ect a future in which the Army is compelled to rapidly adapt in order to defeat new unforeseen threats as they present themselves in unexpected ways. Our challenge then is to build an Army whose leaders and Soldiers are comfortable with change and can rapidly adapt themselves, their units and even the institution as a whole to prevail in the future.

In his 1872 novel Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll captures the essence of our challenge. His antagonist, the Red Queen, lectures Alice about what it takes to advance in the game of chess. Suddenly, Alice nds herself running hand-in-hand alongside the Red Queen:

“Now! Now!” cried the Queen. “Faster! Faster!” And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy. The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, “You may rest a little now.”

Alice looked round her in great surprise. “Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree all the time! Everything’s just as it was!”

“Of course it is,” said the Queen: “what would you have it?”

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, just to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

The Landpower Essay series is published by AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare. The series is designed to provide an outlet for original essays on topics that will stimulate professional discussion and further public understanding of the landpower as- pects of national security. This paper represents the opinions of the author and should not be taken to represent the views of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, the United States government, the Institute of Land Warfare, or the Association of the United States Army or its members. For more information about AUSA and the Institute of Land Warfare, visit our website at

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