Globally, Soldiers offer tangible reassurance to our allies, build
trust and confidence, promote regional stability, encourage democratic
institutions, and deter conflict. Nothing speaks to the values of America
more than Soldiers on the ground providing comfort, aid, and stability
at home and abroad. The Army, as part of a joint military team, provides
a wide range of options to our leaders and commanders. As we have seen,
in today's world we cannot win without the human dimension on the battleground.
Whether it be gathering intelligence, challenging an adversary's ability
to conceal and seek cover, or protecting innocent civilians, the American
Soldier remains the ultimate precision weapon during combat operations,
particularly when legitimate targets are interspersed among non-combatants.
In the final analysis, it is the Soldier on the ground who demonstrates
the resilience of American commitment and provides the needed flexibility
to decisively defeat our adversaries.
Since October 2001, Army conventional and special operations forces, as
part of the joint force, have participated in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM
in the Afghanistan theater of operations. The range of their capabilities
was extensive. These highly trained Soldiers worked with local forces
to forge a powerful alliance. They designated targets for air strikes,
secured airfields, and performed reconnaissance and security missions
that facilitated the safe introduction of follow-on forces. Supporting
the war effort, they provide security to joint forces, critical facilities,
and supply lines, and they receive and prepare both combat and humanitarian
supplies for air delivery to Afghanistan. Currently, more than 12,000
Soldiers are deployedfrom
Egypt to Pakistan, from Kenya to Kazakhstan. And although hostilities
in Afghanistan are shifting focus, requirements for ground forces are
growingthey are assuring
regional stability in Afghanistan, directing humanitarian assistance and
relief operations, securing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and deploying
to the Philippines.
At home, The Army continues its long tradition of support to homeland
security. Even before 11 September 2001, The Army had 10 trained and certified
Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams ready to assist civil
authorities and had trained 28,000 civilian first responders in 105 cities.
Since the attacks, we have mobilized over 25,000 Army National Guard (ARNG)
and United States Army Reserve (USAR) Soldiers for federal service here
and overseas. Nearly 11,000 Soldiers are on state-controlled duty securing
airports, seaports, reservoirs, power plants, the Nation's capital region,
and serving at "ground zero" in New York City alongside the
United States (U.S) Army Corps of Engineers. To increase protection for
our citizens and reduce vulnerability, we accelerated the safe destruction
of the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical agent and munitions while combating
the proliferation of chemical weapons. And continuing a commitment to
civil authorities, nearly 500 Soldiers worked Super Bowl XXXVI, and over
5,000 Soldiers are helping ensure the security of the 2002 Winter Olympics
in Salt Lake City, Utah.
But, fighting the global war on terrorism in no way diminishes the requirements
placed on The Army for support to missions and operations around the worldindeed,
it expands it. While The Army remains engaged at home, it is prudently
taking action for follow-on operations around the world, to include mobilizing
some 2,000 ARNG Soldiers to augment our missions in the European theater.
In fact, The Armyactive,
ARNG, and USARhas over
124,000 Soldiers and 38,000 civilians stationed in 110 countries. Additionally,
on any given day last year some 27,000 Soldiers were deployed to 60 countries
for operations and training missions. And it is easy to forget that our
Soldiers have been on the ground conducting peacekeeping missions in the
Balkans for six years, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for eleven years, and
in the Sinai for nineteen years. Our Soldiers have been in Korea and Europe
for over 50 years, assuring their peace and stability while, at the same
time, providing the Nation with a rapid deployment capability to areas
near those theaters of operations, as needed.