Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher D. Gunn had been wanting an appointment to the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command (JMC) for a long time – even if he didn’t yet know of JMC’s existence.
Gunn, who recently became the senior enlisted advisor for JMC, which is headquartered on Fort Bliss, had previously served as Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. for the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division as the brigade took on a regionally aligned force mission in Europe.
As the brigade worked on solutions for facing off with a newly powerful and aggressive Russia, they worked on tank decoys to make their footprint look larger and tested methods to hide their communications. For example, a Soldier in their intelligence company built small radio signal emitters that ran on 9-volt batteries. They then placed the emitters all over the area, thinking that with enough radio signals, they could potentially hide the brigade’s communications from the Russians. As the brigade worked through solutions on the fly, Gunn wondered if there was a better way.
“We were struggling with these problems,” Gunn said. “And these are real-world problems that every armored brigade in the Army is going to have to deal with when they come to Europe. I told myself then – if there was just a unit out there that did this for the Army, I’d really like to know what unit this is; I’d really like to get in contact with them.”
After a stint as command sergeant major of the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, where he again found himself testing equipment on the fly, wondering if there was a better way, he received a call from that better way. After speaking with JMC commander Brig. Gen. Johnny Davis, Gunn couldn’t wait to jump into the job.
“Once I received notification that I was going to compete for this job, I thought, ‘What is Joint Modernization Command?’” Gunn said. “I didn’t even know. I started doing the research, and I started getting excited. I knew this was the unit I had been looking for.”
JMC plans and executes worldwide multi-echelon, joint and multinational live experiments in support of the Army’s modernization strategy. These live experiments assess and ensure the Army’s capability in Multi-Domain Operations. In addition to a yearly Joint Warfighting Assessment – the Army’s premier modernization and interoperability exercise – JMC assesses potential Army equipment year-round in smaller exercises.
“When you look at what Joint Modernization Command does for the Army, we’re nested within Future Concepts Center and Army Futures Command,” Gunn said. “We are the exploration arm of Army Futures Command. We’re the organization that takes the concepts and capabilities, and we actually put them in the dirt with Soldiers. We let the Soldier give us the feedback that we need. That’s the central link. Once you give a piece of equipment to a Soldier, a Soldier is going to be brutally honest with you every time. They are going to tell you this works, or this does not work.”
Gunn and Davis both have children either serving in the military currently or who might be soon. Gunn said preparing the Army for the future is what inspires him at JMC.
“The other important role of JMC is concepts,” Gunn said. “We’re looking at how the Army is going to have to fight in the future, not how we fight right now. We’re doing this for the future generation of our forces. That’s why I take such pride in being here.”