By BG John R. Evans, Jr.: The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), the operational arm of U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC), has to be postured and ready at all times. Today, the ARSOAC has Soldiers and helicopters positioned across the globe supporting our special operators. They face an enemy that presents complex and ambiguous challenges that we must be prepared to meet.
Several factors and patterns contribute to the future operating environment ARSOA units will contend with in the 2035 time frame. Meeting those future challenges requires a calculated approach while rapidly adapting to meet tomorrow’s threats and requirements.
ARSOA 2035, our long-range strategic roadmap, is a nested effort with ARSOAC, U.S. Army Special Operations Command and U.S. Army strategic planning processes and guidance. It provides the framework that allows ARSOA to retain a comparative advantage in technology, capability and human capital as we provide aviation support to the world’s most elite special operations forces.
To accomplish our unique mission, there are four imperatives we must deliberately and routinely execute to standard: provide and sustain the current force; assess the current force; develop the future force; and generate the future force.
Human capital and the management of that capital are the foundation of our organizational future and critical to achieving our strategic priorities.
We’ve aligned our strategic priorities into four broader categories: sustain our core competencies; provide SOA support forward, maintain the comparative advantage, and affordable readiness.
Our first priority identifies what makes ARSOA forces unique, valuable and difficult to replicate. Our commitment to culture yields a cohesive, professional force, focused on competence, character and successful mission accomplishment. Furthermore, the agility offered by assuming an adaptive and innovative mindset allows ARSOA to meet the requirements of the evolving future operating environment. We have always prided ourselves on the ability to rapidly acquire new technologies and use innovative ideas to ensure overmatch against our adversaries. This is more important now than ever before.
Our second strategic priority focuses on providing our nation with the capabilities required to meet its global objectives.
ARSOA’s third priority ensures we are capable of supporting ground and maritime SOF across the spectrum of operations and with viable strategic options. Our capabilities must address the full spectrum of operations, environments and threat. We must be experts in maneuverability, survivability, lethality, command and control and acquisition and procurement.
And, finally, our fourth strategic priority is affordable readiness. If our task was solely to provide our nation with the best SOF aviation capability in the world, unconstrained, it would be relatively easy. The reality is we have to be affordable. In part, we do this by leveraging joint and Service common solutions that meet our special operations requirements when it makes sense, as well as the interoperability and commonality of components on our airframes.
Our priorities define our current state and a future end state and provide direction and guidance to bridge the gap between where we are and where we need to be.
We will continue to provide value to the broader Army Aviation Enterprise and nurture a collaborative relationship. I frequently tell the ARSOAC team, “As goes Army Aviation, so goes the ARSOAC.”
ARSOAC will have welcomed and will welcome some new leadership this year. In June Colonel Allan Pepin will be welcomed as the new ARSOAC commander. CSM Billy Webb assumed the reins as the command sergeant major in February after serving 15 years in all leadership positions at the Regiment. We will also welcome a new Command Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Greenwood. Col. Phil Ryan will relinquish command of the Regiment to Col. Scott Wilkinson after two years of stellar leadership.
It has been a pleasure to return to the SOA enterprise as commander of the ARSOAC. I’ve had the privilege of being part of this special team for over 22 years. The men and women of the ARSOAC are more than capable to meet the challenges the future holds, and years from now I’ll rest easy knowing that they’re standing watch. It’s humbling to have been counted among their number.
To fly the best!
BG John R. Evans, Jr. is the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command located at Fort Bragg, NC.