Nov. 19, 2009 -National Guard Joint Senior Leadership Conference
February 1, 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, I would like to introduce General Craig McKinley, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. General McKinley will now introduce our last guest speaker for the Army National Guard's General Session. Sir...
GENERAL MCKINLEY: Thanks Christine...
GENERAL CASEY: Wow, thank you. Thank you very much.
Wow. Thank you. Stop it. Stop it, please! Thank you. Wow! You probably heard this joke before, but every time I get a round of applause like that before I talk, it reminds me of that story about the three guys in the prisoner war camp. You know, the crusty, the old Sergeant Major, the Apache pilot, and the General. You all, you heard this story, right' No' Oh, good. I'll tell it again. So the Commandant comes in, and he goes up to the Apache pilot, and he says: "Look, bad news. Tomorrow, at dawn, you're going to face the firing squad. What's your last request'" The pilot says, "I would like to have my last meal with a beautiful woman." He [the Commandant] says, "it will be done." The Commandant then goes to the General and says, "General, tomorrow, at dawn, you'll face the firing squad. What's your last request." He [the General] sucks himself up to his full height of 5 feet 9 and says, "I'd like to address the troops one more time." The Commandant says, "it will be done." He then says, "Sergeant Major, what's your last request'" Sergeant Major looks at him and says, "I want to be shot an hour before the General starts talking."
Wow, what a day you've had. The Chairman, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, and now the only thing standing between you and "happy hour" is me.
I just want to talk to you a little bit about your Army and the direction we're going. I said at the A.U.S.A. Conference that I've been working with the Guard since I was a Captain, when I was a Battalion S4 at Fort Carson, and we had to turn all of our vehicles over to the Nebraska Guard for their A.T. They all came in from Nebraska. We gave them all our stuff for two weeks. They did their A.T. downrange at Fort Carson, and I remember I had to listen to all the company commanders complain because these vehicles were gonna get all screwed up. Little did they know that most of those Guardsmen mechanics were diesel mechanics along Route 80, and our tracks never ran better than after that. And I said, you know, that's when I learned, there's a lot to this.
Anyway, we are closer to being "one Army" than any time in my thirty-nine, and now thirty-nine and a half, years of service.
When you think of it...half of the Guard and Reserve are combat veterans. That's a fundamentally different force, and there is no way that the United States of America could have done what we've done in the last eight years without our Guardsmen and the Reservists. So, hats off to all of you.
I want to talk to you a little bit about how we are doing and where we are going. And I think you know it has been a tough two weeks. We started burying the fallen soldiers from Fort Hood last weekend, and it will continue over the next week or so. I ask that you keep their families in your thoughts and prayers, and keep focused on your mission. We'll get through this. As I said publicly, it was a kick-in-the-gut, but we are going to learn from it. I don't know if the Secretary of Defense talked about it with you here, but we announced today an investigation team to really bore into this to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.
Now, how are we doing' I've been saying for two and a half years that we are out of balance. We were so weighed down by our current demands that we couldn't do the things that we know we need to do to prepare to do other things and to sustain the all-volunteer force. So, we put ourselves on a plan-two and a half years ago-to start getting ourselves back in balance. I can tell you that we have made very good progress. And, when you think about where we were in 2007 with our modularization - we are eighty percent complete with the modular reorganization of all three hundred brigades in the Army. That is a Herculean effort in the last five years. And, when we finish our rebalancing - which we are about two-thirds of the way done - we will be a fundamentally different Army. We will be much more capable of conducting the operations that we're conducting today with that redesigned Army. So, we've made good progress there.
We have also made good progress on our growth. Originally, you will recall that [former] President Bush told us to increase the size of the Army by seventy-four thousand-sixty-five in the Active [component], and the rest in the Guard and Reserve. Originally, we were going to get done with that in 2012. And, I go to audiences like this, and I'd say, "Yeah, we are gonna get done in 2012. We are going to have more folks, and you won't have to deploy as much," and they look at me like: "Come on. Tell me something that affects me." With the Secretary's help, we moved it forward to 2010, and all the components met their growth targets by May of this year , and that is a great, great effort on everybody's part.
What that does is put us in a better position with respect to dwell. And we set as our goals-back in 2007-to get to almost one-year-out, two-years-back for the Active [component], one-year-out, four-years-back for the Guard and Reserve by 2011. I will tell you that with the drawdown in Iraq, that we were well on our way to meeting those goals. I will also tell you that there is a decision pending on Afghanistan. What's interesting is-because of the length of time it takes to deploy forces into Afghanistan-if you laid the Iraq drawdown over a potential number of troops that the President might approve, we actually don't get any higher than we are today. We are actually at a high point. And, so we are much better positioned now than we were two and a half years ago to accept some additional demand. And-we have looked at it notionally-we get to one-to-four for the Guard and Reserve, and that's an average. We get to one-to-two for most of the Active force-that is, for about two-thirds of the active force. Some aviation engineers and military police units don't quite get there, but they're above eighteen months. So, all of this growth and all of this transformation has put us in a very much better place than we were two and a half years ago.
I think BG [Rhonda] Cornum talked to you about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. This is a total Army program, and the fact that the assessment tool is online and the modules are online, means that it is available to every Guardsmen in the privacy of their own homes. And, in January, we'll have the assessment for Families and modules for Families online as well. The Master Resilience Trainers - I know there were Guardsmen in the training I visited in Philadelphia this week - and I encourage you, as leaders, when you send folks off to this Master Resilience Trainer Course, get them back in and talk to them. This is the third class we've done. We did two pilots. The enthusiasm and energy that you see coming out of this-and the potential that these Sergeants see for this-is huge. CSF is something that we're gonna need because-as we look to the future-we are gonna be doing be at war for a while.
So, the bottom line: how are we doing' We are doing okay. We still have a couple of tough years ahead of us, but we are well on our way to getting back into a position of balance by the end of '11.
Now, how do we see the future' First of all, we have been at war for eight years. We are engaged with the global extremist terrorist network that attacked us on our soil. You fought them. You know. They are not going to quit. They are not going to give up. They are not going to go away easily. They are going to have to be beaten. This is a long-term ideological struggle. If you think of this more in terms of the Cold War than you do Desert Shield or Desert Storm, I think that is a much better way of thinking about it. Against that background, we look at what's going on in the world, and it appears to us that certain global trends are more likely to exacerbate what's going on right now rather than ameliorate it.
What am I talking about' Globalization. Globalization has demonstrated that we are very connected around the world with the global economy. But, that interconnection is inconsistent in how it distributes prosperity around the world. And what you see are "have" and "have-not" states and people. The populations of those "have-not" states are much more susceptible to extremist recruiting than those in the "have" states.
Technology is another [global] trend. It's a double-edged sword. The same technology that's bringing knowledge to anyone with a computer and allowing people all over the globe to collaborate on projects is being used by terrorists to export terror around the globe.
Demographics are also going in the wrong direction. We see estimates that say the populations of some developing countries are expected to double in the next decade. Can you imagine the population of Pakistan doubling in the next decade, and the problems that that would bring to an already strapped government' The other thing about demographics is that studies are showing us that by 2030, the estimates are sixty percent of the populations of the world will live in cities. Some of you have been to Sadr City [Iraq] and some places in and around Baghdad. You have a three by five kilometer area with two million people living in it. That's a tough place for land forces to operate. And the other impact of demographics: the middle classes in both China and India are already larger than the population of the United States. That's a lot of 2-car families. That's a lot of demand for resources. That's not necessarily a bad thing; it just is. So, all those demographic issues are going to cause friction and challenges.
The two trends that worry me most: weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists and safe havens. We know that there are terrorists out there actively seeking weapons of mass destruction, and-in my view-if and when they get them, they will attempt to use them against a developed country. And, regarding safe havens: these are countries, or parts of countries, where the local government can't or won't deny their country as a safe haven for terrorists..much like you had in Afghanistan prior to September 11th .
So, we're at war. The trends are going in the wrong direction. I believe we are in for an era-a decade or so-of what we call persistent conflict: protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence to accomplish their political and idealogical objectives. We're gonna be doing this for a while.
We've thought a lot about that and about the future, but for us it's not just enough to say that we're going to be in persistent conflict for a decade or so. We have to look at what conflict is going to look like in the next decade or so. And, we've done that, and we've done it with our eyes wide open. Because one of things we know about the future is what Yogi Berra once said: "Predictions are hard, especially when you are talking about the future." We know the best we are gonna do is get it "about right." And, what we want is to be is "not too wrong." But, as we look at the future, you can look at Iraq and you look at Afghanistan and certainly you see some of the future conflict manifested in what's going on there.
But, you have to also look at southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006. We had a Hezbollah force of about three thousand Hezbollah operatives that embedded themselves in the population just north of the Israeli border. They were using a mix of conventional and irregular weapons and tools, denied an attack by a well-equipped, well-trained, well-armored Israeli force of about 30,000. The operatives denied the Israelis of their objectives. Hezbollah, by the way is a non-state actor - a terrorist organization. It was operating inside the state of Lebanon, supported by two other states-Syria and Iran-and fighting a fourth state, Israel.
They started the war with thirteen thousand rockets and missiles - and not just the small hundred and seven millimeter ones they shoot at our FOBs, but the large missiles they shot at Israeli population centers. They used improvised explosive devices to channelize the attacking Israeli armored forces into kill zones where they fired at them with state-of-the-art, anti-tank-guided missiles that they got from Iran. Forty percent of the Israeli casualties were from those anti-tank-guided missiles. They shot down an Israeli helicopter with a state-of-the-art surface-to-air missile. They hit an Israeli ship in the Mediterranean Sea with a cruise missile. They used unmanned aerial vehicles to target the Israelis. They used secure cell phones to communicate and secure computers, and they got their message out on local television. Now, that's a fundamentally different fight than certainly I grew up preparing to fight. It's one that our young leaders are much more comfortable with because it's a lot like what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, it's a hugely complex environment, and we started thinking about those kinds of threats as hybrid threats, because you have a non-state actor that has the instruments of state power. You know, an actor that has the instruments of power and is not bound by the conventions that govern the state-on-state conduct of warfare. This is a much, much more difficult challenge.
So, as we look at that, we ask: what do our ground forces need to be able to do in that environment' We think there are four roles that land forces need to play. First: we need to prevail in protracted counter-insurgency campaigns. As Secretary Gates says, "you need to win the wars you're in." We're setting ourselves up to do that. Second: we need to be able to engage to help others build a capacity to deny their countries to terrorists. We are already starting to do that in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we need to do it in other places because we can't keep doing this ourselves, and, furthermore, other countries don't want us to do it. Third: we have to be able to support civil authorities both at home and abroad. You are our main line of defense here...our support to civil authorities. When I look at the record of what you all have been doing around the country over the last year; it is phenomenal. And, you know, I go back to the [Presidential] inauguration. I saw all of our great Guard Soldiers out there directing traffic and helping folks out on Inauguration Day ... and everything else you've done in-between. But, we are also doing it outside the country; we are using our organizational skills, our planning skills, and our integrating skills to help the civil authorities in Iraq and Afghanistan meld the political and military elements of power for success. And fourth: we have to be able to deter and defeat hybrid threats and hostile state actors.
There are still state actors out there that could do us harm. Although not likely, I'll tell you that I was visiting China in August, and while I don't consider China a threat, they were using our tanks as their targets.
So, those are the four roles that we have to have. So, as we looked at that, we asked: what does a 21st Century Army look like'
We want to build a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations and that are operating on a rotational cycle so that we can do three things.
Aca,!Ac We can sustain the current fight with trained and ready forces.
Aca,!Ac We have forces necessary and ready to hedge against the unexpected, which is something we don't have now. [Because] you're either in, out, or getting ready to go back. And that's what happens with increased dwell; we start building a little flex.
Aca,!Ac And, we have to do all that at a tempo that's sustainable for the all-volunteer force.
That's why this rotational model-making it routine and institutionalizing it-is so important. I believe that I've got to give the men and women of our Army some predictability so that we can sustain this rotational tempo for another decade or so. That's the reality of what we're doing. That's why it's so important to get to one-to-two, and one-to-four by '11. We have to keep moving in that positive direction.
So, that's the Army that we're building. And, I'd like to take this opportunity to use a few words to describe the Army we're building: Versatile. For sixty years, the central organizing principal of the Department of Defense was conventional war. We can't lose that skill, but at the same time, that's not what we're gonna be doing mostly, so we have to have the skills and the organizations that allow us to tailor packages for whatever we're confronted with. And, that's what these modular organizations give us. They give us building blocks to build forces capable of responding to the environment as it presents itself, rather than what we designed the force to do. And, I am very happy with the direction we're going with the modular organizations. That gives us our tailoring capabilities.
Network. If we want to be a truly full-spectrum force that can operate across the spectrum of conflict, there are four things you need to do no matter where you are on the spectrum. You need to know where you are. You need to know where your buddies are. You need to know where the enemy is. And, when you shoot at him, you need to hit him. That's what the network brings to us. We have a plan to incrementally fuel this network to everybody in the Army so that we give our soldiers a technological advantage over any enemy that they face.
And then, the rotational cycle. There are three cycles of forces: available, "trained and ready," and reset. What we have done is organize the Army into three bins--three force pools. And, we've got an operational headquarters, a corps, five division headquarters - two or three [of those] are Guard, twenty brigade combat teams - four or five [of those] are Guard, and ninety plus thousand enablers - about half of those [enablers] are Guard and Reserve.
So, this is an integrated force-generation model at a one-year-out, two-years-back for the Active force, and one-year-out, four-years-back for the Guard and Reserve. And, we've got one corps in the remainder of the RC forces, so at a one-to-four BOG-dwell [ratio], you flow through this pool at a different pace. But, everybody is included here; everybody is earmarked here.
Now, the problem we've had in the past is that demand exceeded that. So, we never could get it right. But, if you look at "one, five, twenty, and ninety-two," it's about a hundred and sixty thousand folks. It comes pretty close to meeting the demand we are going to have in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, there are some different units and different types required, but it comes pretty darn close. In fact, it's better than a ninety percent solution. And, we have to do that because we need to get folks on that cycle. We're moving to put the whole Army on that cycle. And, when you're in the "available" pool, you get the best of everything. When you are in the "trained and ready" pool, you get about eighty percent of the best of everything, and when you're in "reset" pool, you don't get much...you hang on to your dual-use capabilities so you can take care of things that the government has come up while you are in reset. So, that is the model that we are going to, and we have been directed to do this by the Department of Defense. This [model] is the only way we are going to do those three things: continue to provide trained and ready forces for the current fight, hedge against the unexpected...and then lastly reset.
So, that's the direction we're headed. We are putting the whole Army on that cycle, and we're going to cost that out and put it in the '12-'17 POM. This represents huge institutional change for us. But, it's the way, I believe, that we will set ourselves up for success to sustain this for the long haul.
Let me close here, and then I want to take some of your questions. I think you know that we're wrapping up the "Year of the Non-Commissioned Officer." I'm going to show you a [video] clip about one of those non-commissioned officers. In it, the President of the United States recognizes the fact that we have designated this as the "Year of the Non-Commissioned Officer." We did that because-as the Secretary and I looked around the Army-it was clear to us that it was our non-commissioned officers who were providing the glue that was holding this force together in a really difficult time. And so, we felt it was as seminal a period as it was in 1989, which was the last time we did this...and we did it in '89 because we were just coming out of rebuilding a non-commissioned officer core after Vietnam. This was a seminal period for a non-commissioned officer, and we wanted to recognize their accomplishments and to inform the American people about what a national asset they had. I couldn't be prouder of all the men and women of our Armed Forces and I am extremely proud of our non-commissioned officers. I ask you to watch this video. It's about Sergeant First Class Jared Monti-our most recent Medal of Honor recipient.
MONTI VIDEO ENDS [APPLAUSE]
I visited Sergeant Monti's grave with his dad on Veteran's Day this year. I was up there for a speech at Harvard University, and interestingly-on Veteran's Day-Harvard had a ceremony in their Memorial Chapel where they list the names of Harvard's fallen from the wars on the wall. I helped the President of the University unveil a plaque honoring their Medal of Honor recipients-a plaque with ten Medal of Honor recipients. But, when they announced they were doing this unveiling, six more people came forward. So, just a little known fact: Harvard University has the third highest number of Medal of Honor recipients after the Naval Academy and West Point. And, to see that chapel full of Veterans ... I asked all the Veterans to stand up and there was applause everywhere.
So, with that, I thank you for all that you do-day in and day out.