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New Future Command Prepares for 2040

James Rainey, the new head of the U.S. Army Futures Command, said in a speech at the American Army Association breakfast on Wednesday, that the agency has shifted its focus from delivering a modernized force by 2030 to designing the army of 2040.

According to DefenseNews, the command, headquartered in Texas, which was established in 2017 and became operational in 2018, was tasked with modernizing the force by 2030. The army leadership developed a list of priorities and weapons systems to be developed in order to fully form a force capable of successfully combating close rivals Russia and China.

General James Rainey became the second Army Future Command chief in 2022 after the retirement of the first commander, General Mike Murray. “Modernization is part of transformation, but modernizing and not transforming will result in a group of masses without the right leaders, trained units, and formational lethality,” Rainey said.

Concerning the speed threat posed in the US military’s National Defense Strategy, Rainey said: “We need to outrun the Chinese, boldly manoeuvre ahead of them. The army needs to grab some ground and anchor there so that when they wake up, they’ll think about how to keep up with us. I think that’s one of the things we can do as an institution.”

Rainey said that the command is already working on a concept for 2040, and it’s happening at the Futures and Concepts Centre. According to Rainey, preparing for a future war consists of assessing what will and will not change between now and 2040, and the consequences.

Rainey stressed that while the focus has shifted to achieving the goals set for 2030, action now needs to be taken to maintain a force design for 2040. Rainey underlined that to deliver capability by 2040, fielding should begin in 2035.

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