Mission: Providing Forces and Capabilities

Army Global Commitments - Chart

Enlarge Image :: Figure 10

The Army exists to serve the American people, to defend the Nation, to protect vital national interests, and to fulfill national military responsibilities.  Our mission is enduring:  to provide necessary forces and capabilities to the Combatant Commanders in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies.  The Army recruits, organizes, trains, and equips Soldiers who, as vital members of their units and the Joint Team, conduct prompt, sustained combat and stability operations on land.  The Army is also charged with providing logistics and support to enable the other Services to accomplish their missions, and supporting civil authorities in time of emergency, when directed.

Accomplishing the Mission Today: Sustaining Global Commitments

Almost 600,000 Soldiers are on active duty today (currently 507,000 active component, 46,000 Army National GuardArmy National Guard Info Papers
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  and 28,000 Army ReserveArmy Reserve Info Papers
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).  Over 40 percent (243,000) of them are deployed or forward stationed, serving in 76 countries worldwide.  More than 4,600 Army Civilians are serving side-by-side with them in the field, performing a variety of missions vital to America’s national defense.  At home, over 8,000 Soldiers are on duty in support of the war on terror.  The Army’s operational pace remains high, continuing the trend established during the post-Cold War era.  Whenever and wherever needed, Soldiers are continuing to answer the Call to Duty, enabling America’s ability to put “boots on the ground” – as demonstrated so vividly in recent national decisions to increase force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army continues to provide Combatant Commanders with a wide range of forces and capabilities to prevail in the war on terror, to sustain our global commitments, and to build effective multinational coalitions.  First and foremost are the forces required for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, which include forward-stationed units and those based in the United States.  The Army’s requirements, however, are far greater than those needed to support the war on terror. They include support for:

As a result of the dramatic changes in the security environment since 9-11 and the enduring requirements of the Global War on Terror, we are also engaged in South America, the Philippines, Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and many other places.  These operations, which depend on our Soldiers to put “boots on the ground,” include a wide range of combat and non-combat missions:  from counter-insurgency, to humanitarian and civic assistance, to large scale reconstruction operations.

Our Soldiers are also working to accomplish a vital U.S. national objective – to build partnershipsBuilding Partnership Capacity through Security Cooperation
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  with foreign militaries and preserve the coalition formed to counter terror – by training and advising the military forces of many nations.  In addition, through various forms of military to military exchanges, and other forms of assistance and cooperation, our Soldiers are helping to enhance the military capabilities of our international partners.  Through international education programs, such as the Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security CooperationWestern Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
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  and a variety of other cooperative studies initiatives, our Soldiers are helping to shape the strategic environment in favorable ways by building enduring security relationships and improving interoperability.  In addition, the presence of U.S. forces assures friends and allies of our national commitment, while encouraging them to contribute their national resources to international efforts.  

In the five years since 9-11, the Army National Guard has mobilized more than 610,000 Soldiers to perform both state and federal missions.  On any given day, the Army National Guard provides vital capabilities in virtually every mission area.  Today, more than 46,000 Soldiers from the National Guard are on active duty. 

Besides their commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in troubled regions around the world, National Guard Soldiers are protecting the homeland, performing key missions in support of U.S. Northern CommandEstablishment of U.S. Army North, Fifth U.S. Army
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.  They are helping the Department of Homeland SecurityNational Guard: Homeland Defense
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 to protect critical infrastructure and to patrol our southern borders (with nearly 5,000 Soldiers deployed).  They are also continuing their service in areas ravaged by Hurricane KatrinaDefense Support to Civil Authorities: Hurricane Katrina Response
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 and performing vital state-directed missions under the command of the Governors.  Our current levels of operational commitment have created intense demand for National Guard Soldiers.  Despite sustained levels of high operational tempo, Army National Guard Soldiers are performing superbly, accomplishing every one of their missions and serving with distinction worldwide. 

Since 9-11, the Army ReserveArmy Reserve: All-Volunteer Force and the Army Reserve
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 has mobilized more than 164,000 Soldiers, who are also performing superbly. Today more than 28,000 Army Reserve Soldiers are serving on active duty, with more than 16,000 – almost half of them – deployed to serve in 18 countries worldwide. The Army Reserve provides vital capabilities across a diverse range of mission areas which include 88 unique skill sets.  Our Army Reserve provides over 90 percent of the Army’s civil affairs capability, and more than 50 percent of the Army’s medical capability. 

The unique skills resident in our Army Reserve are in great demand by Joint and Army commanders.  The commitment to mission accomplishment and the values demonstrated by our Reserve Soldiers, coupled with their inherent capabilities, enable our Army Reserve to make an absolutely vital, essential contribution to the Joint Force.  They are meeting every requirement for their special skills, accomplishing every one of their missions, and underwriting our capability as a Nation to put “boots on the ground.” 

Major Decisions in 2006 - 2007

During 2006 and 2007, the Army continued its efforts to “shift the weight” of its intellectual and organizational activities to be better prepared for both current and future challenges.  Five key areas highlight the Army’s efforts to accelerate change. 

We are also developing plans to accelerate the availability of other Brigade Combat Teams.  Accelerating modular conversion will help to reduce stress on the force by increasing the time that Soldiers will be able to remain at their home stations prior to redeploying. 

While this plan will greatly improve the Army’s ability to meet strategic demand, it will not reduce current levels of stress on the force, since it will take several years to accomplish. The recent changes to policy governing reserve component mobilization will help to fulfill sustained high levels of strategic demand for Army forces, and to better manage stress across the force.  Growing the Army and improving access to all components of the forces are vital strategic initiatives, which will accelerate the momentum the Army has established to improve its capacity to execute The National Defense Strategy, today and tomorrow.  All of the initiatives now underway – to reset the force, to improve readiness of non-deployed forces, to expand the size and condition of our operational force, to modernize the force, to realign and improve the condition of the bases and installations which comprise our global infrastructure, and many others – still require full financial support.

The change in the National Defense Strategy reflects the reality of the strategic environment:  that due to the complexity of stability operations, the Armed Forces must develop readiness for these operations, in addition to developing readiness for combat operations, their more traditional focus.  This change, is wholly consistent with the doctrine which has guided our transformation – and how we prepare Soldiers and leaders – since 9-11.  It has also created unique, additional requirements for manning, training, educating, and equipping our operating forces and the forces and institutions that generate them. Put simply, we must plan for stability operations to be an integral, enduring component of any and all joint campaigns; therefore, we must organize, prepare, and provide resources for this aspect of our mission accordingly. 


Our transformation is complemented by our modernization initiatives,which center on Future Combat Systems (FCS),aviation modernization and more than 300 other advanced technologies and systems.  Future Combat Systems will reflect the Army’s first comprehensive modernization in decades.  We have cancelled well over a hundred programs in recent years to free resources for our modernization.  FCS is generating, or “spinning out,” technologies to protect Soldiers, enhance battlefield understanding, and provide other tactical advantages for our Soldiers fighting in irregular environments today.  FCS will produce fully equipped brigades that will begin to enter the force in 2015. 

FCS will provide significant tactical and operational advantages for our Soldiers and commanders in pre-insurgency environments and to counter insurgencies if they occur.  It will also improve our ability to support civil authorities and to meet all anticipated operational requirements.  In recognition of the importance of this initiative to the Army’s current and future readiness, we activated and manned a special Army Evaluation Task Force and a supporting headquarters during 2006 to test, refine, and validate FCS technologies. 

As a result of the combined effects of budget cuts over the past three years, and fiscal guidance that will reduce resources programmed for future years, we will reduce the scope and schedule of FCS fielding. We will continue to develop the core operational capability envisioned for FCS, yet will do so with 14 instead of 18 interconnected systems.  We will defer plans to develop two classes of unmanned aerial vehicles, one class of unmanned ground vehicles, and a whole class of intelligent munitions (except for the Korean Peninsula). 

These projected reductions will put at risk our ability to reach the full tactical and operational potential envisioned for FCS.  It will also delay our target date to field the first of 15 projected FCS equipped Brigade Combat Teams by five months, to 2015, and slow the rate of procurement to one per year.  These adjustments will cause us to take five years longer, until 2030, to be able to field and employ all 15 Brigade Combat Teams.  These program adjustments will decrease capabilities available to the Joint Force and therefore, increase levels of Future Challenges risk, as described in the National Defense Strategy.

The goal of our effort is to free human and financial resources for more compelling operational needs.  Realizing this goal depends upon improving processes, developing tools to enhance enterprise-wide situational awareness and decision making, reducing organizational redundancy and overhead; and improving how we educate, train, assign, and reducing organizational redundancy and overhead. 

We are now well underway in deploying the Lean Six Sigma methodology as a vehicle to seek continuous process improvement, eliminate waste, and improve quality across the force.  This methodology is the foundation of the comprehensive review of all of our major commands and organizations, now in progress.  The award of the coveted Shingo prize to four activities within our Army Materiel Command for improvements in business processes and manufacturing is but one example of our progress in this regard.

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