Chief of Staff makes first visit to Fort Huachuca
December 3, 2009
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (Dec. 3, 2009) -- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. made his first visit to Fort Huachuca Tuesday and Wednesday to receive briefings from the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and U.S. Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command. While here, he also visited the Warrior Transition Unit and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Battalion.
"The innovation going on in our intelligence center, to better prepare our Soldiers and leaders to operate the intelligence systems in Iraq and Afghanistan, is striking," Casey said.
"We have clearly learned, adapted and are institutionalizing the lessons of the current fight," he added, noting that some of the things he saw during his time in Iraq are now part of the standard teaching instruction for intelligence Soldiers at Fort Huachuca.
Casey thanked the local community for the support they offer to Fort Huachuca's Soldiers and families, noting, "we couldn't do what we do without the support of our communities, and I very much appreciate that."
During his visit he also addressed President Barack Obama's Tuesday evening speech by saying, "the Army will be able to execute our portion of what the president announced last night without resorting to 15-month deployments [and] without deploying Soldiers with less than 12 months at home."
"Fundamentally, the [Iraqi and Afghan] population has to feel secure enough and protected enough by its government," he said, noting that in order to do that they have to have local security forces that are capable of providing that security.
"In both Iraq and Afghanistan, we will not succeed until the Iraqis and Afghans can secure themselves," he said.
Casey also touched upon Fort Huachuca's role in the approach that's being taken in Afghanistan by noting the training of human intelligence operators, which are required both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the training of the operators for unmanned aerial vehicles.
"We've made huge increases in both of those areas here, and so it's fundamentally important for our success in both Iraq and Afghanistan to keep focused on what they're doing here," Casey said.
Maj. Gen. John Custer, Fort Huachuca's commanding general, said the installation is turning out more human intelligence, signal intelligence and geospatial imagery Soldiers.
"We're ready to go," he said, noting, "what we understand is we have to build a language-enhanced and culturally-enhanced Soldier. We have to build a better leader and a better small unit for the future, because we're attacking different challenges out there."
During his visit Casey also expressed concern about the suicide rate and reiterated the actions taken over the past year to reduce the rate.
"You need to be physically and mentally fit to deal with the rigors of combat," he noted, touching upon the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which was implemented in October and designed to build resilience in Soldiers, civilians and families by bringing mental fitness up to the priority level currently given to physical fitness.