February 14, 2007
America remains at war. This is one of the most dangerous times in our history. We retain the confidence of the Nation as we engage in a long struggle against global terrorism and the conditions that give it life and sustain it. Since 9-11, well over 700,000 active and reserve Soldiers have deployed overseas in support of the war on terror.
Today, almost 600,000 Soldiers are on active duty, serving in nearly 80 countries worldwide. While fighting, we are continuing to prepare our Soldiers, leaders, families, civilians, and forces for the challenges they will face. Our commitment to current and future readiness in the face of uncertainty is driving how we are transforming; modernizing; and realigning our entire global infrastructure of bases, depots, arsenals, and equipment sets.
To fulfill the central role that will be demanded of landpower in the 21st Century, we are becoming a strategically agile, expeditionary force reliant on modular brigades. These modular brigades are designed to deal with the full spectrum of challenges our Nation will face. Their effectiveness in current theaters of operation today validates that we are moving in the right strategic direction.
The recent decision to expand the size of the Armed Forces - specifically our ground forces - reflects clear recognition on the part of the President, the Congress, and the Secretary of Defense of the dangers we face, the importance of our mission, and the increasing level of stress that our Soldiers and families are weathering as a result of unprecedented levels of strategic demand over the past five years.
To continue to accomplish our mission in service to the Nation, we require support to:
- Ensure full, timely, and sustained funding to be ready for current and future challenges;
- Expand the size of the Army to build strategic depth and to enhance readiness across all components of the force;
- Implement new policies to assure recurrent, predictable access to Army National Guard and Army Reserve units in order to meet sustained global demand for Army forces;
- Enhance wartime authorities to improve commanders' ability to deal with emerging, in-theater operational demands and to build the capabilities of strategic partners; and
- Support to sustain our All-Volunteer Soldiers, their families, and our Army Civilians and to maintain the trust of the American people, whom we serve in this time of war and uncertainty.
We have received considerable support to execute current operations, to reset our forces, and to build a modular Army. We will need additional support to close the gap between requirements and resources, particularly as we maintain an extraordinarily high operational pace and grow the Army. This support must not be provided at the expense of our future readiness. To break our historic cycle of national unpreparedness, America must invest prudently and predictably in defense, which it can afford to do.
To meet the needs of the Combatant Commanders and the Nation, the Army will require the full level of the resources requested in the base budget and in supplemental appropriations.