• Ham cites change during CGSC Powell lecture

  • Retired Army Gen. Carter Ham was the Colin L. Powell lecturer for the Command and General Staff College Aug. 13 on the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

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  • Army University Public Affairs
    Retired Army Gen. Carter Ham was the Colin L. Powell lecturer for the Command and General Staff College Aug. 13 on the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
    Ham, former commanding general of U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Army Europe, told the audience of more than 1,100 American and international mid-grade officers, “You will lead the Army in an era that is different than any in our experience.”
    That was the advice recently given to new Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville by one of his predecessors, Ham said.
    Change is happening, Ham said. That includes movement of people to avoid natural and man-made disasters, changes in climate and its effect on military capabilities, alliances that are strained or in question, the civil-military divide in the U.S., and potential defense spending cuts in the next administration.
    Ham said the question for CGSC students to consider over the next year is, “What’s the role of the armed forces in this changing environment?”
    “Not to put too fine a point on it, not only what’s the Army’s role, but what is your personal, individual role in this changing environment?” Ham asked.
    Ham, who serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Association of the U.S. Army, quoted newly appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, saying the military is undergoing a fundamental shift in the character of war as significant as the development of the stirrup, gunpowder and — in World War I — the radio, airplane, tank and machine gun.
    He went on to say the challenges facing the officers in the audience would include robotics, man-unmanned teaming, the speed of operations in cyberspace, the exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum, and artificial intelligence.
    “Those who adapt fastest and most effectively will win,” he said. “That’s your challenge.”
    Ham said the old generation, like him, is experienced enough to know change is upon them.
    “What we don’t have is the requisite skills and experience to lead that change,” he said. “You have to figure out how to do that. You have to lead that change, not some general, not some political appointee. You!”
    The Colin L. Powell Lecture Series was established by CGSC and the CGSC Foundation in 2008. Lecturers range from heads of state, heads of government, senior diplomats and other distinguished people who bring their unique perspectives to help educate the audience about historical or contemporary issues of importance to the nation or the international community.
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