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NEWS | Nov. 9, 2023

Challenges, solutions, highlighted at First Army commanders’ forum

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois - First Army forged the way ahead during its commanders’ forum from November 7-9.

First Army Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Mark Landes, welcomed other First Army leaders to the event, held in the Pershing Conference Room of First Army headquarters.

The three days helped to shape the unit's vision for the future and imparted division and brigade command team members with a deeper understanding of First Army operations and planning, as well as delving into critical issues related to Reserve Component readiness, training, and mobilization. A team-building physical training session was also held.

Topics covered included the mobilization process, current and future threats, an Army campaign plan overview, the Army 2030, and Army structure. It added up to time well spent, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Oscar Contreras, senior enlisted Soldier for the 181st Infantry Brigade.

“The points we’re covering now are the future for the Observer Coach/Trainers, looking at 2030, and what we need to do to get our OCT/s ready for Large Scale Mobilization Operations,” he said. “If we look at what is going on around the world, we definitely need to look into artificial intelligence and multi-domain operations, and ensure that our OC/Ts are well-versed and incorporate it into our training.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Benavides, the 189th Infantry Brigade’s senior enlisted Soldier, echoed Contreras’ sentiments about the importance of preparation and adaptability.

“We’re looking at the future, where we’re going toward 2030, and we had the opportunity to talk to other sergeants major and commanders about what they’re doing to build readiness in their OC/Ts. I’m picking up some of those products so I can take it back,” he said.

Benavides added that the First Army command team has been great to work with. “We had a visit with Command Sgt. Maj. Prosser a couple of weeks ago. He was out with us and he put the expectations out there for our OC/Ts. He comes quarterly to visit us and show us the way ahead.”

The forum solicited feedback from division and brigade command teams to enhance First Army's role in building readiness and taking care of First Army Soldiers.

“When we leave here, we will reflect on everything that was discussed and transmit that to our NCOs,” Contreas said. “That way, they can understand the commanding general’s intent and how we’re going to get after it.”