Army's Gen. Odierno on the future of warfare

Gen. Ray Odierno on "CBS This Morning."
Gen. Ray Odierno on "CBS This Morning."
CBS

(CBS News) With 1.1 million soldiers on active, reserve, and National Guard duty, the United States Army faces some of the biggest challenges in its history.

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Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's 38th Chief of Staff, said Friday one of those challenges is preparing for the future of modern warfare.

"I've got to look forward," Odierno said on "CBS This Morning." "What's going to happen in the next five, six, seven, eight, nine years, how do we need to adjust the Army to meet those needs because the environment is changing. The art of warfare continues to change and we have to be able to change with it."

While keeping America on the cutting edge of warfare with technological advancements, such as drones and cyber weapons is important, Odierno said defining the enemy is also part of that challenge. "It could be a state, it could be a nation state, it could be insurgents, it could be non-state actors. It could be terrorists. It could be a combination of all of those, frankly," Odierno said. "I could come up with several scenarios where you would have all of those involved. It's about the complexity of the world we live in and it's translating into potential future military operations that we might have to conduct. So, in my mind, it's about developing leaders who can operate in this environment."

But the Army, he said, is all about making leaders who can adapt to what lies ahead. "Leadership is what we do," he said. "... We have training from the time you come in as a new officer or non-commissioned officer all the way through (becoming a) general officer. We constantly adjust, discuss, talk and try to understand how you conduct yourself in very different situations. And I think we can add a lot to others in helping them to see how we go through our problem solving and what we have learned about leadership in very difficult situations."

A lot of responsibility is placed on young leaders in the Army, Odierno said. "We give a lot of responsibility to a 22 or 23-year-old first lieutenant who has a platoon out in the middle of Afghanistan somewhere, who has to make some really tough decisions. So from the time you come in, you learn leadership. We have to develop them quickly, and we have to continue to refine and help them as they get older."

For more with Odierno, including his thoughts on American operations in Iraq and the continued presence of troops in Afghanistan, watch his full "CTM" interview in the video above.