FORT RUCKER, Ala.: More than 500 members of the Aviation Branch from around the world descended upon Fort Rucker Nov. 1-5 to discuss and solve issues within the Aviation Enterprise community.
The conference consisted of Amy Aviation leaders from across the Army, including U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Pacific, and Korea.
The biannual conference was formed when Army Aviation began its transformation and needed a way to gain input across the board, according to Joe Back, Training and Force Structure action officer. This conference is used to field new requirements and look at key factors for Army Aviation strategies for force generation and assist the planning of future Aviation programs.
The biggest accomplishment is getting the senior leaders of Army Aviation to agree on some important changes within the branch and how to complete those changes, said Col. Richard Koucheravy, Transformation Division chief and Headquarters Department of the Army G3 Aviation.
“It is important because the Army and Army Aviation (are) involved in two big things right now, fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and modernizing the force,” Koucheravy said.
A major portion of the conference was spent figuring out how to best use resources available to the Army and the aviation branch in particular as they looked forward to decreasing budgets.
“Army leadership has tasked us to be good stewards of dollars while ensuring the needs of the warfighter are being met,” said Koucheravy.
Cost culture is being echoed throughout the ranks of the aviation branch from the top down.
“Cost culture doesn’t mean we’re not going to spend money,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general. “We’re going to spend money. What it means is, ‘execute the mission at best cost.’”
Crutchfield added that leadership has the difficult mission of weeding out the Branch’s needs versus what people in Army aviation want.
Additionally, he reminded attendees that when they’re solving problems to not fight the same war over and over again. Take the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, but realize that the next conflict is going to be something else.
“There is a balance between the lessons that we’ve learned here and looking too far into the future,” Crutchfield said. “If we put too much into the current fight, we will not be prepared for the future of war, and this branch has got to do both.”
Their work was appreciated by the top leadership in Army aviation.
“I’m very impressed with you,” said Crutchfield. “Everywhere I travel, people tell me how well the Army Aviation Enterprise works and they always ask me one question. ‘How do you do it?’ I see it in you and I can tell them, ‘You gotta have great people, and I have them.’”
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