Eisenhower Luncheon at the 2009 AUSA Meeting
6 October 2009

Thanks, Sully. Thanks for warming everybody up for me. I appreciate it. All kidding aside, thank you for the passion that you still feel for this Army ... and the way that you share it to build support for our Army all across the country.

I welcome our Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, and our Under Secretary, Joe Westphal ... great to have you both on board and to have the team in place.

Former Secretaries, Louis Caldera and Fran Harvey ... it's nice to see you. Great to have you back with us.

On the dais here ... I know they've already been introduced ... my fellow four stars, Hondo Campbell, Marty Dempsey, Ann Dunwoody, Carter Ham, Skip Sharp, Kip Ward, and Craig McKinley. And Craig, I include you as one of ours. It's great to have you all with us. Thank you.

I think Sully has already mentioned the former Chiefs that are here. But as I've said many times, we all stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. So let me just recognize Carl Vuono, Gordon Sullivan, Denny Reimer, and Ric Shinseki. It's great to have you with us.

And in this Year of the Noncommissioned Officer ... Sergeant Major of the Army Ken Preston, former Sergeants Major of the Army Connelly, Hall, McKinney, and Tilley, it's great to have you with us.

I'd like to take a few minutes this afternoon to do three things for you. I want to talk to you about where we've been. I want to talk a little bit about how we see the future and how our thinking has adapted and changed over the last year. Then, I want to talk to you, most importantly, about the way we're organizing the Army to meet the demands of the future ... a way that is going to cause us to do some things fundamentally differently as we go forward. Finally, I'll close with a short tribute to our noncommissioned officers as we wrap up the Year of Noncommissioned Officer.

I think everybody here knows that tomorrow marks the anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. It's been eight years since the United States and our allies responded to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Our Army has been a leader in that war ... if not the leader in that war ... and we share in its continued successes. Among those successes is the liberation of over 50 million people from tyranny and terror.

The sacrifices for those successes have been enormous. Over one million of our men and women have served in the ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 5,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians have given their lives in this, the longest war that we have ever fought with an all-volunteer force. The Soldiers, Families, and Civilians of our Army have been stretched as they have led this Nation in what is perhaps our most difficult struggle yet. You need to know that your sacrifices are both recognized and appreciated.

The sentiments that Secretary Gates closed with yesterday are echoed everywhere I go around the United States by the leaders and the audiences that I speak to. Let me just share with you what Secretary Gates closed his remarks with yesterday: "For eight years now, the Army has been in a constant state of war. Our Soldiers have been deployed over and over again, and taken the fight to increasingly battle-hardened and lethal enemies. The stakes have been enormous; the tales of heroism and sacrifice extraordinary. Hundreds of thousands of brave warriors have volunteered to serve their country knowing they probably would go to war. They have endured time away from Family and friends. And they have risked their lives for their fellow Soldiers. There is no way to overstate the challenges facing our Army. But when I think about the individual Soldiers - their honor and their courage - I am confident that the United States Army will continue to meet those challenges and - as always - exceed every expectation in the years ahead."

So as we all face the challenges of the future together, I'll start by saying that I could not be prouder to be leading the Soldiers, Families, and Civilians of this magnificent Army.

Now, let me talk about where we've come in the last several years. You have heard me say for the last two years that we are out of balance as an Army. And over the last two-plus years, we have been operating on a plan centered on four imperatives to put our Army back in balance by the end of fiscal year 2011. Those four imperatives are:

Aca,!Ac To Sustain our Soldiers and Families ... they're the heart and soul of this force.

Aca,!Ac To continue to Prepare our Soldiers for success in the current conflict ... we will not flinch on our commitment to provide every Soldier going in harm's way with the training and equipment they need to succeed.

Aca,!Ac Third, we will Reset them effectively when they come home. As you know, Reset is not an inexpensive function. But to date, the Department and Congress have supported us well in our recent efforts.

Aca,!Ac And lastly, we have to continue to Transform for an uncertain future. As I've said many times, transformation is a journey, not a destination. After two-and-a-half years in this job, I am more convinced than ever that that is the case. And as I look at this environment and the evolving enemy, it's clear to me that we are in a period of fundamental and continuous change. We all ought to posture ourselves for it.

To give you an update on putting us back in balance, I'll talk about six areas where I believe we've made good progress.

First of all ... sustaining our Families, our Soldiers, and our Wounded Warriors. I had a session yesterday with a room full of Family members to talk about how we're doing on the execution of the Army Family Covenant. We're starting our third year of execution. I will tell you that I got mixed reviews in some of the areas, but generally, the Families see a positive trend in what we're doing for them. So we are absolutely committed to delivering on the Family Covenant. The Secretary of the Army re-signed the Army Family Covenant to demonstrate this continued support for the Families of our Army. So thank you, Mr. Secretary.

The second element that I want to talk to you about under sustaining Soldiers and their Families is a new program that actually began this week. It's called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. It is a long-term assessment and development program that we have instituted to raise mental fitness to the level that we now give to physical fitness ... so that we can enhance the resilience of all our Soldiers ... so that they never have to accept defeat ... and so that they never quit. There have been several panels on this, but I urge you to look into it. It has four key elements.

Aca,!Ac It has an online assessment tool that Soldiers and, ultimately, Family members and Civilians can take in the privacy of their own home.

Aca,!Ac Secondly, it has self-help development modules that a Soldier or a Family member can connect to for assistance.

Aca,!Ac Third, we will incorporate resilience training into every one of our Army leader development schools from basic training to the Army War College.

Aca,!Ac And lastly ... and I think most interestingly ... we have already begun training Master Resilience Trainers. If you think about Master Fitness Trainers ... well, that's the effect that we are trying to create with these Master Resilience Trainers. It's our goal by this time next year to have one trained for every battalion in the Army.

So this is a long-term program that I believe is absolutely essential to maintain the total health of this force ... given what we have looking at us in the future.

The second key element of progress is our growth. Most of you know that the President told us in 2007 to increase the end strength of the active force by about 65,000, and the Guard and Reserves by about 9,000. Well, we did that. Originally, it was going to be completed by 2012. With Secretary Gates' and Congress' support, we were able to accelerate that to 2010. In May of this year, we completed that original growth. And it will have a great effect on the long-term health of this force. I will tell you that, even as we were completing that growth, it was becoming apparent to us that it would still be insufficient to man the force effectively, given the challenges ahead. So this July, again with Secretary Gates' support, we were allowed to grow the active force by another 22,000 Soldiers on a temporary basis so that we could effectively man the units that we're sending in harm's way and come off of stop-loss. I can tell you that we have already achieved the Fiscal Year '09 objectives for growth of about 5,000. So we are in very good shape on our growth. Even though we have a few more units to build, I am very pleased with our progress in that area.

My third point ... we also continue to make good progress on our conversion to modular organizations across the Army and rebalancing our forces away from skills more necessary in the Cold War to skills more necessary today. We're almost 90 percent done. We started this in 2004. We're almost 90 percent done with converting the 300 brigades in this Army to modular organizations. That's a huge accomplishment. We're about two-thirds of the way through the rebalancing of the force ... moving away from Cold War skills - again - to skills more relevant in the 21st Century. Taken together, those changes represent the largest reorganization of the Army since World War II. And we've done that while we're deploying 150,000 Soldiers over and back to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fourth ... base realignment and relocation. This is probably the most remarkable element. We are relocating bases because of BRAC, because of Soldiers coming home from Europe and Korea, and because of our growth. The movement will affect 380,000 Soldiers, Families, and Civilians, and most of those moves will take place in the next two years. Some of the four-stars here in the United States ... their headquarters are going to move in the next two years. If you want to make a four-star grumpy, move his or her headquarters. Additionally, we'll be moving a lot of our key functional commands and consolidating into four Centers of Excellence across the Army. Huge movement. The positive side is that the quality of our installations has already and will continue to increase substantially. You cannot go on an Army installation without seeing cranes. That's a great boon to our Soldiers and Families.

Fifth, we continue to improve our ability to implement the Army Force Generation model. I'm going to talk a lot more about that, but I will tell you that we have a lot of work to do internally in adapting our institutions to support an Army rotating on that model.

Lastly ... and probably most near and dear to everyone's heart ... is our program to increase dwell. In 2007, we said that we wanted to move the active force to almost one year out, two years back, and the Guard and Reserves to almost one year out, four years back by 2011. As I've gone through this job, it's become clear to me that the most important element of getting ourselves back in balance is to improve dwell. We have made some progress in that with the drawdown in Iraq. But looking us in the face are the decisions that have yet to be made about Afghanistan. I will tell you that it will have an impact on us, but I can also tell you that - in the next few weeks - that I will do what you would expect of any of our Army leaders. I will balance "mission and men." And I will work with the other service chiefs to provide the forces necessary for success in the current conflict while balancing that with the needs of our Soldiers and Families.

So I would say to you that we are making good progress. While we are not out of the woods yet, we are better positioned now to accept some increased demand than we were two years ago. I'm very, very pleased with the progress that we have made as an Army, and I believe we will continue along those lines. We'll get very close to our initial objectives by 2011.

Now, let's talk a little bit about the future. Frankly, we've spent an awful lot of time thinking about the future security environment and what war will look like in the future. Last year, I talked about several notions. I said we were at war with a global extremist terrorist network that attacked us on our soil. They're not going to quit; they're not going to give up; and they're not going to go away. I said that this is a long-term ideological struggle. We need to be thinking in those terms.

I said that the trends that we were seeing in the international environment ... globalization, technology, demographics, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, safe havens ... that all those trends only exacerbated this long-term ideological struggle and made it more likely that we would face ... as a country, perhaps as a world ... a future of persistent conflict: protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence to accomplish their political and ideological objectives.

I said that it was not enough for us to just look broadly at the security environment. We had to look at the character of conflict in that environment. The "doctrine folks" told me "No ... the nature of war doesn't change. It's the character of conflict that changes." And they won me over. So we looked at Iraq, Afghanistan, southern Lebanon, and Gaza. We tried to get a better sense of what war was going to be like in the 21st Century. I will tell you that I believe that it will be fundamentally different than the kinds of wars I grew up training to fight. We will have to adapt ourselves to meet those challenges.

I also listed six characteristics for an Army that would have to operate in those environments. I said we had to be versatile. And I will tell you that I have come to believe that versatility has to be the central organizing principle of the Army. If we know nothing else about our ability to predict the future, we know that we never get it quite right. The best we can hope for is only to get it "not too wrong." So we are building versatility into our formations and into our leaders, allowing us to adapt to the situation that presents itself ... not just to the one we've prepared for. Secondly, we have to be deployable enough to be expeditionary. We have to be responsive enough to be agile. We have to precise enough to be lethal ... robust and protected enough to be sustainable ... and skilled enough to operate with a wide range of interagency and international partners. All of these qualities, I believe, are the defining qualities of a balanced Army, and they are the qualities that will drive our modernization efforts in the coming years.

So that's just a recap of where I said we were headed last year. We've continued to roll this around ... and think about it ... and look at it.

One of the things that appeared to us to be missing in that discussion was the role of land forces in the 21st Century security environment. We recognized that we had to prepare our land forces to operate as part of a joint, coalition, and interagency team to do four things. First, we have to prevail in protracted counterinsurgency operations. Secretary Gates has said this ... you have to win the wars you're in. Second, we have to be able to engage to help others build capacity and to assure our friends and allies. Third, we need to be able to provide support to civil authorities, both at home and abroad. And fourth, we need to be able to deter and, when necessary, defeat hybrid threats and hostile state actors. We thought our way through that. Those are very much in consonance with the goals and objectives that we see coming out of the Department of Defense and the Quadrennial Defense Review.

So then we said, "What type of Army do we need to execute those roles'" We believe that we need a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations that are operating on a rotational cycle ... so that we can do the three most important things that we have to do in this environment. We have to sustain protracted commitments; we have to hedge against the unexpected; and we have to do both of those things at a tempo that is predictable and sustainable to this all-volunteer force. We've been at this for eight years. As I look ahead, we're going to be at it - or something like it - for a decade or so more. If we're going to do that with an all-volunteer force, then we have to get the tempo to something that's sustainable.

Let me say a couple of words about the key elements of that paradigm I just gave you.

First of all, I talked a little bit about versatility and why that's so important. We've looked at the types of forces we need ... heavy, light, Stryker, SOF, a variety of enablers. And we've made great strides in getting the mix right. I will tell you that we will continue to adjust that mix over time as we learn the lessons of the fight that we're in.

Secondly, tailorable organizations ... the modular organizations that we have been building over the last five years have been hugely successful. If you look at Iraq or Afghanistan, you see division headquarters that rarely have more than one of their own brigades operating with them. And they have forces from across the Army ... Active, Guard, and Reserve. That ability ... having tailorable organizations ... is a huge benefit to us as we build force packages to confront the environment as it actually presents itself.

And lastly, networked ... if you think about what Soldiers need to operate across the spectrum of conflict ... they need to know where they are; they need to know where the enemy is; they need to know where the "friendlies" are; and, when they shoot at the enemy, they need to hit them. That's what the network enables us to do ... robust digital connectivity all the way down to the Soldier. I'll talk more about that in a second.

The third key element is about a force operating on a rotational cycle. Against my staff's better judgment, I decided to put a handout on your tables. That's because every time I try to explain this without using a slide, I lose everybody. So I'm going to have a go at this. This is how we are organizing our Army of 1.1 million Soldiers ... Active, Guard, and Reserve ... to operate on a "one year out/two years back" cycle for the active force and a "one year out/four years back" cycle for the Guard and Reserve. If you look at the yellow blocks at the top of the chart ... those are the three key elements of the ARFORGEN cycle: the "available" pool ... forces prepared and ready to deploy; the "train-ready" pool ... those forces preparing to go; and the "reset" pool ... those forces recovering from current operations. If you look down at the bottom left corner, you can see that there are other forces ... since the Guard and Reserve are rotating on a one-to-four ratio ... that continue to flow through this at a different rate.

What does that allow us to do' And why is it so important' Well, if you look at the yellow block in the bottom right corner, you can see the size of the force that the Army can generate on this cycle ... a corps (or operational) headquarters, five division headquarters (one or two of those are Guard and Reserve) ... twenty brigade combat teams (some four or five are Guard and Reserve) ... and 92,000 enablers (a great portion of which are Guard and Reserve). This is a total force model. The second thing this allows us to do ... the forces in the "train-ready" pool are at different levels of readiness ... so depending on where they are in the cycle, you could reach in there and pull forces from that pool that could go out and deal with an unexpected contingency. We do not have that capability now. If we had to do something unexpected today, we'd have to freeze the forces we have and have people change directions. And the last key element is the "reset" pool, where our Soldiers come home and recover. So this model allows our forces to have an effective, slow-tempo, six-month reset, which is increasingly necessary to sustain this all-volunteer force.

This is the Army that we're building. We're organizing our Army along these lines so that we can prepare versatile forces that are ready for full spectrum operations and unexpected contingencies, at a tempo that's sustainable for the all-volunteer force. If you take nothing else out of this today, I'd ask you to remember that. Doing this effectively will cause significant internal change within the Army, and we've been working on that for several years.

I'd like to talk for a minute about our modernization efforts. I know there's some interest in that, especially in the aftermath of losing the manned ground vehicle from the Future Combat Systems program. Since 6 April 2009 ... when the Secretary of Defense announced that we were terminating the manned ground vehicle portion of the FCS program ... we have been working very hard. I guess I should say that Training and Doctrine Command has been working very hard to restructure our modernization strategy. And I will tell you that we have built a brigade combat team modernization strategy that has four key elements.

First of all, we will incrementally field one Army network. You'll see incremental advances throughout this whole process because we want to take advantage of rapid progress in all technologies ... but information technology in particular. So the first element is one network fielded in progressively increasing increments.

Second, we intend to incrementally modernize all of the brigade combat teams in the Army over time in what we call "capabilities packages." For those of you who are familiar with the Future Combat Systems program, just think "spinouts plus" and that's where we are. It would be the systems from the FCS program that we've been developing, plus high-payoff systems from the current fight that we know are necessary within the force ... for example, things like "RAID towers" or biometric capabilities.

Third, we will incorporate MRAPs ... Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles ... into the force. TRADOC has developed brigade combat team packages of MRAPs for Infantry, Stryker, and Heavy Brigade Combat Teams, and we are incorporating them into organizations, like explosive ordinance disposal units and clearance teams, that would need MRAP-like protection in the conduct of their daily duties.

And lastly, we are focused on building ... in five to seven years ... an infantry fighting vehicle that will be designed from the ground up to operate in an IED environment. I get a lot of friction from folks who say, "That's not possible." To them, I say "I know it's tough, but we're at war." So we're going to work with the Department of Defense and Congress to deliver the best capabilities that we can to our Soldiers in the fastest possible time.

So we believe that these aspects of our modernization will complement our efforts to build this versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations, and that we will be far more able to meet the growing security challenges of the 21st Century.

And now, I'd like to close with a tribute to our noncommissioned officers. When President Obama awarded Sergeant First Class Jared Monti's family the Congressional Medal of Honor in September, the President himself highlighted the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer. He also recognized that the noncommissioned officer corps was the backbone of this Army, and he described how Sergeant Monti and all of our noncommissioned officers lived by the Warrior Ethos in the service of their country and in the service of their Soldiers.

I will always place the mission first. On 21 June 2006, Sergeant Monti was leading a mission in a remote part of Afghanistan. They were gathering intelligence in preparation for an upcoming operation against the Taliban. The sixteen-man patrol had been on the move for three days. Despite the terrain, weather, and other hardships, their focus remained on the mission.

I will never accept defeat. Attacked from multiple sides, Sergeant Monti and his Soldiers faced what they said was "an explosion of fire, like the sound of a thousand crackling rifles." The patrol immediately established a defensive position, returned fire, and called for artillery. They brought the fire within fifty meters of their position. And even though they were outnumbered three to one, the prospect of defeat never crossed their minds.

I will never quit. As the enemy pressed in on their position, Sergeant Monti personally engaged them with his rifle and with grenades. He disrupted a Taliban flank attack as he continued to orchestrate the patrol's defense. He never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade. When it was discovered that one of his Soldiers was lying wounded some twenty yards outside the patrol's perimeter, Sergeant Monti resolved to save him. With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran to the rescue of Private First Class Brian Bradbury. Withering rocket and rifle fire forced him to take cover. He went forward again. Again, he was forced to take cover. Sergeant Monti tried a third time, braving intense enemy fire across open terrain to where his Soldier lay. He was mortally wounded in his third attempt, losing his own life to save a fallen comrade.

Through his actions that day, Sergeant Monti lived the Warrior Ethos and epitomized the character and the quality that we look for in our NCOs. It's what we in this Army have come to depend on in the last eight years of war ... in fact, for the whole 234 years of our history ... this type of character in our noncommissioned officers. So I'd ask that you watch this video with me as a tribute to these magnificent noncommissioned officers.

[Video]

I am incredibly proud to be leading an institution that creates thousands of men and women with the values and ideas that make this country what it is today ... the greatest Nation on earth. So thank you all very much for your attention. It is my great privilege to be a leader of this Army. Thank you.

Page last updated Mon October 19th, 2009 at 13:24