Apr. 20, 2010- National Defense Industrial Association
May 17, 2010
GENERAL CASEY: Well, thanks. Nice to be here with you today and [to see] an old teammate here. Nice to see you.
It's great to be here. I'm on my way to Ft. Bragg and it just worked out where I could swing by Atlanta on my way. This is such an important group that I thought it was important for me to be able to share with you some thoughts on how we're doing as an Army and then where we're going because the more I look at what we're facing-not only as an Army-but I think as a country, I've come to realize that we are in a period of fundamental and continuous change. The systems that have served us so well over the last six or seven decades I'm finding more and more need to be fundamentally revamped if we're going to do the things we need to do for our country.
But let me just back up there and talk just for a couple of minutes about how we're doing. Because I know you hear things, read things in the paper that the wheels are falling off, and I can assure you that that isn't even close to being true.
I must say I wrestled hard with that back in 2007 when I first got here to find the right terms to describe the condition of the Army. [It was hard] because back in that time, I was hearing the Army's broken, the Army's hollow, and the Army's not ready, and as I went around the Army all over the world the first four months trying to get my own feel for what the condition was, it was clear that we were stretched.
What I also saw was the Families were the most critical part of the force. But it was also clear to me that this was the most professional combat-seasoned force that I'd been associated with in 30 some years to that point.
So broken and hollow didn't quite resonate and so I come up with the term "out of balance." They were so weighed down by the current demands that we can't do the things that we know we need to do to sustain this all-volunteer force for the long haul and to grow the capability to do other things.
And the fact of the matter is we had a great Army on September 11th, but it was designed to fight and win armored warfare on the plains of Europe or in the deserts of [the middle east], and it was very good, but it wasn't the kind of Army that we needed for the challenges that we're facing today.
And so we set out back in 2004 (and before with the intellectual underpinnings of what we do), to change the things about the Army and that's a major element of getting ourselves back in balance.
So let me just hit on five or six, key things that we have done over the last several years to move us to a position of balance. I will tell you that after three years of this, we are in a fundamentally different position and a better position than we were three years ago and our prospects will continue to improve. But let me just highlight a few of those things.
First of all, growth. Remember back in 2007, President Bush said we've increased the size of the Army by 74,000, 65,000 in the Active, the rest in the Guard and Reserve. Originally that was going to be done in 2012 and I go travel around the Army and we have these big post auditoriums full of Soldiers and Families and I'd say, "Yeah, we're going to get bigger, so you won't have to deploy as much and we're going to be done by 2012." Of course, they looked at me like I had three heads. "Tell me something that means something to me, General."
And so with Secretary Gates's help, we moved it forward to 2010 and we actually completed the growth, Active, Guard, and Reserve, last summer. A huge, huge move for us because, because of that growth, we were able to execute the plus-up in Afghanistan without having to go to 15-month deployments and to still come off of the stop-loss which is the involuntary leave, extending Soldiers past their terms.
Obviously, the Iraq drawdown had something to do with it, but the growth in the Army has been a good thing. Even as we finished that growth last summer, it became clear to us that we weren't big enough. The problem we were having is filling units to go to war because at that time we had about 10,000 Soldiers who were already deployed, who were still in transition, teams who were in Headquarters, overseas.
Now we have another 10,000 Soldiers who were in transition units, recovering from their wounds, were actually helping to run the transition units, and we had about 10,000 Soldiers who were recovering from wounds and who were temporarily non-deployed. A Soldier would go hurt a knee, put it off for deployment, but then they had to get it fixed. So about 30,000 people we couldn't put in units. We were sending units out the door. We send a few of them out, less than ninety percent, and that is not a good position to be in.
So Secretary Gates allowed us to increase the size of the Army temporarily by another 22,000. [The total growth is] a little over 90,000 Soldiers since 2007 and it has been extremely helpful for us.
The second key element of getting ourselves back in balance is increasing the time Soldiers spend at home and we have just recently completed a medical study that tells us what we need to do-that it takes about 24 to 36 months at home to recover from a 12-month combat deployment. We kind of knew that, but now we have scientific evidence that demonstrates that that is indeed the case. For the last five years we've been sending Soldiers to combat one year out, one year back.
If you'd asked me five years ago could we have sustained that, I would have said, "Heck no." It's remarkable to me that the men and women have gotten through that period.
And so we are in a position here to just about meet our goals that we set for ourselves in 2007 by 2011 which is one year out, two years back for the Active Force, one year out, four years back for the Guard and Reserve.
We get 70 percent of the Active Force meeting those goals, 80 percent of the Guard and Reserve. We have to get there, but we can't keep turning these folks on a 12-month time at home.
Now third and fourth, the two key elements of our organizational change. We set out in 2004 to change every brigade in the Army to a modular design. [We did it to make] that brigade design so it could be tailored to suit the environments that it was put into rather than take a unit that was designed to do something else and putting in and say figure it out when you get there.
So we have -- we are 90 percent completed converting the 300 brigades in the Army to modular design and we'll finish the rest, 98 percent, by 2011.
Now we're also about two-thirds of the way through rebalancing the force, moving Soldiers away from Cold War skills to the skills that are relevant and necessary today. That involves a 160-170,000 Soldiers changing jobs. As I said, we're about two-thirds of the way done that and we'll also be about 98 percent done with that by the end of 2011.
To give you some examples, we have been -- we have stood down about 200 tank companies, artillery batteries, and air defense batteries, and we've stood up a corresponding number of Special Forces battalions, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and Military Police.
Taken together, that's the largest organizational transformation of the Army since World War II and we have been doing it while we have been sending a 150,000 Soldiers over and back to Iraq and Afghanistan every year. [That is] a huge accomplishment. As we go forward here with the submission of the '11 budget, the money to finish what I just described is there and so we're using the next eight to 12 months to take a hard look at ourselves, at our force mix, at our force structure, and we intend to make some changes and adaptations to continue to improve the relevancy of the force for the 21st Century conflict.
As we look back, the intellectual work that underpin the Army that we have evolved to was great work but it was done in 2002 and 2003. And now we know a lot more and we think a little differently than we did then. So it's another time of reflection and change for us and I expect that will affect our force structure starting probably in 2013.
The next element of significant change for us is BRAC, Base Realignment and Closure. It sounds kind of like AFLAC a little bit, but it has had a huge impact on us. It affects 380,000 Soldiers, Civilians, and Families across the Army and even though this was laid out in 2005, it has to be done by the end of September 2011. Well, guess where all the final moves are coming, right' In the next two years. I'm thinking about putting the whole Army on cell phones because we're never going to get a directory that's going to keep up with what's going on.
The positive side of that in juxtaposition to the turbulence is you can't go on an Army base without seeing cranes and the positive impact on the facilities at Army bases is absolutely phenomenal. Everywhere I go I see that. By the way, the BRAC move involves moving four four-star headquarters and seven two-star headquarters all around the Army. We'll send you a line diagram when we're done but there will be a couple years here where our big headquarters have to be split between two locations. Thank God for the Internet.
Lastly, [I want to talk about] restoring strategic flexibility. That's one of the reasons why increasing the time Soldiers are at home is so important. We have to have time to train and do other things. When you're at home for 18 months or less, you really don't have time to do anything except recover a little bit yourself and begin preparing to go back. That's where we've been. That, frankly, is where we are now.
And although on the positive side, as I go around the Army, what I'm seeing is there are more units that are in the 17- and 18-month range rather than the 12- and 13-month range, and that's only going to continue to increase as the drawdown in Iraq goes forward.
So bottom line, huge progress. We chide ourselves for being ponderous and unagile, but I'm here to tell you I don't think there's many organizations in the world, let alone armies in the world, that can have undergone the change that we have gone through and do it so successfully, and so well, while they're engaged in two wars-an absolutely phenomenal accomplishment.
So bottom line to you, good progress, not out of the woods yet, and the effects of these last eight and a half years of war are going to be with us for awhile. Just because someone does two years at home doesn't mean all the cares and woes of the last eight and a half years have gone out the window. We're going to be dealing with the effects of this for a long time. That's just the reality of it.
So again, good progress, "not out of the woods," but for the first time, as I look ahead, we've got clearly on our force requirements here that we haven't had since I've been on the job. So positive direction.
Now, I said that we're out of balance and we had four imperatives: sustain Soldiers and Families, continue to prepare Soldiers for success in the current conflict, reset them when they come home, and then transform for an uncertain future.
Let me talk a little bit about transformation because it speaks to the direction that we're headed. The first question about transformation is "transform for what'" So let me just talk a little bit about that and then what that means for us.
First of all, we've been at war for eight and a half years and we're engaged in what I believe is a long-term ideological struggle with a global extremist network that attacked us on our soil and continues to try to do that again and your Army and your Armed Forces have been fighting these folks for almost a decade. They're not going to quit and they're not going to give up and they're not going to go away. And so we start from the backdrop.
And as we look at that, we also look at the trends that we see in the global environment. These trends seem to us more likely to exacerbate that situation rather than to ameliorate it.
What am I talking about' Globalization. Up until at least the last year, globalization was spreading prosperity around the globe but very uneven and we're seeing, and have seen for some time, the emergence of "have" and "have not" countries around the globe. Just look at South America, Africa, parts of the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. You can see that the have and have nots and the populations in these have not countries are much more susceptible to extremist recruiting than most of the have countries.
Another double-edged sword is technology. The same technology that's being used to bring knowledge to anyone with a computer is being used to export terror around the globe.
Demographics. Another trend going in the wrong direction. We've seen studies that say that the populations of some developing countries are expected to double in the next decade. Can you imagine the population of Pakistan doubling in 10 years and the attendant problems that would bring with it for an already-strapped government'
The populations of the world are also increasingly moving to cities. We've got studies that say that 60 percent of the population of the world are expected to live in cities by 2030. For those of us who have seen and fought in slums of Sadr City where you have a 3 x 5 square mile area, there are two million people there. That says an awful lot about the tough environments that our land forces are going to be fighting in.
And then the competition for resources needed for increasing populations. The middle classes in both China and India are already larger than the population of the United States. That's a lot of two-car families. So there's lots of pressure there. So demographics are heading in the wrong direction.
The two things that worry me the most'-weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist organizations and we know that there's over a thousand terrorist groups out there and we know that most of them are seeking access to some type of weapon of mass destruction. My personal view is that when they get it, they'll attempt to use it against a developed country and I've been saying that since before I watched 24 the last two weeks.
The last one is safe havens-countries or parts of countries where the indigenous government can't or won't deny their countries as safe havens for terror. That's like what happened in Afghanistan before September 11th, much like what just happened in Yemen at Christmas time and then it's happened.
So as we look at all those trends against the backdrop, we're involved in long-term ideological struggle and have been at it for eight and a half years, it seems to us that we're in a period of persistent conflict and I think your conference here calls it the Perpetual Conflict. Call it what you want. We're involved, we're in a period of attracting confrontation, and I believe that confrontation is going to be among states, non-states, even individual actors who are increasingly going to be willing to use violence to accomplish their political and ideological ideals and so we do see, as you suggest, an era of persistent conflict.
We are going to be at this for awhile. I think for a decade or more we're going to be sending a substantial number of Soldiers to combat and so we are preparing ourselves for that eventuality.
The second major thing that I have to look at as Chief is not just, "Okay, we're going to be at this or awhile but how do we see war in the latter decades of the 21st Century'" We have all our doctrine folks that convince me that it was not the nature of war that changes, the nature of war is immutable and has been since time immemorial. But it's the character of conflict that changes and evolves over time, and, indeed, I think the character of conflict has evolved.
When we look at this and look at models of what combat will be like in the future, clearly Iraq and Afghanistan are harbingers of what's ahead, but we also looked at what happened in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. [There] we had about 3,000 Hezbollah operators embedded themselves in a population for the Israeli war and basically used the instruments of state power mixed with asymmetric techniques to fight a well-armed, well-trained, well-equipped Israeli force of just 30,000 to a standstill.
Hezbollah, terrorist organization, supported by two states, Syria and Iran, operating inside the state of Lebanon and fighting yet another state, Israel, and that terrorist organization had the instruments of state power. They began the war with over 13,000 rockets and missiles and not just the small missiles they shoot at our bases in Iraq and small rockets they shoot at our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, but large missiles that they shot at Israeli population centers.
They used unmanned air vehicles. They had state-of-the-art anti-tank guided missiles that they got from Syria and Iran and they used improvised explosive devices to channelized attacking the Israeli Armed Forces in the kill zones where they inflicted 40 percent of Israeli casualties.
They had state-of-the-art surface-to-air missiles shot down Israeli helicopters. They had cruise missiles and they hit a ship, an Israeli ship in the Mediterranean Sea. They had secure cell phones for communications and used secure computers for command and control, and they got their message out on local television.
Now that's a fundamentally-different fight and they gave a very good Army a very hard time and we think that type of hybrid threat and by hybrid, we mean a threat that encompasses conventional, irregular, terrorist and even criminal elements that will be arrayed against us asymmetrically, it will be a different fight. [And] what we believe is that even if we fight other armies, they are unlikely to mass against us like the Soviets attempted to do. They'll come at us using their limited means asymmetrically and that's a different fight and that's what we're preparing ourselves for.
You will, I think, remember that in February of 2008, we issued a new doctrine, the Capstone Doctrine. This drives everything that we do and the doctrine is entitled "Full Spectrum Operations," and we say in that doctrine that Army formations will simultaneously apply offense, defense, and stability operations to seize and retain the initiative and achieve decisive results.
Then as we move along that spectrum of conflict from conventional war to irregular war to peacetime engagement, we believe that our formations will apply offense, defense, and stability operations, but in varying proportions, depending on where they are in the spectrum. That's a fundamentally different challenge than preparing to fight the [Soviet] 8th Guard's tank Army.
So as we roll that together then with the fact that we're near a persistent conflict and we see the character of conflict changing substantially. We've asked ourselves what should be the roles for the United States Army, indeed for the land forces of the United States, in this period and we have come up with four roles that very much parallel what the -- what the Defense Review lays out for the Armed Forces.
First of all, we have to prevail in these counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and, knock on wood, we're headed in the right direction in Iraq and it's going to take us awhile longer in Afghanistan, but they're both moving in positive directions.
Secondly, we are going to have to increase our engagements to help other countries build their own security capabilities.
Third, we have to support our civil authorities, both at home in the conflicts management area, and abroad in terms of planning for and integrating the political, military, economic, and information effects to succeed.
It's interesting. I spoke at the State Department probably two weeks ago now and I spoke to a group, about 54 service officers, who were trying to educate themselves so they could interact with the military. I told them, I said, "You know, this may make you feel uncomfortable but you are every much as an element of the land power of the United States of America as an Army because of the political and economic effects that you bring to bear." I'm still not sure how that went over.
And then, finally, we still have to deter and defeat hybrid threats and hostile state actions. We cannot walk away from the need to prosecute conventional war against state armies, but I do feel that is increasingly less likely than some of the other scenarios that we think of.
Two little tidbits on that. I just read something that Russia is continuing to downsize to around 80 brigades. Back when I was growing up, they had about that many armies. Then I was in China in August for my first trip and they were showing us their tank ranges and guess what kind of tanks were on their targets. M1s. So there are still folks out there that that could do us harm, or intend to do us harm and we can't walk away from that.
So that's what we're designing our Army to do and as we look to the future, we're saying we want the Army of the 21st Century to be a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations operating on a rotation cycle.
Why' [We have to] because we're going to continue to prepare Soldiers and send Soldiers to combat for a decade. We've got to organize ourselves to make sure that they are properly manned, trained, and equipped every time they go.
We're not set up to do that right now because the Army before September 11th was a garrison-based Army that we had to train and all our institutional systems are designed to support that kind of Army. We have been working ourselves away from that.
Secondly, we have to build the capability to hedge against the unexpected. I firmly believe that in the next three to five years we are going to be involved in something that none of us is thinking about right now-that's the history of it. I don't know what it is, but right now we don't have that capability because everybody's either in Iraq and Afghanistan or preparing to go back.
When you get to one year out, two years back cycle, you actually have about a third of force is at a level of training readiness that it could go on relatively short notice and deal with the unexpected.
And the last reason all of this is so important is because we're doing this with an all-volunteer force. This is the longest we have been at war with an all-volunteer force. We passed the [length of the American] Revolution, I think, last year. And we've been at it for eight and a half years and we're saying [that we will be at war for] another decade.
So we have to build a rotational model that is both predictable and sustainable for the people and so that's what we're about. That rotational model is a huge internal institutional change for us, as an Army, but we're headed out and we're working on it.
The other piece about a rotational model is the use of the Reserve component. In our model, the Reserve components are fully integrated. That means 70-80,000 Guard and Reservists mobilized annually for Iraq.
Now that's something that we had to have a discussion about, both within the Department of Defense and, frankly, across the country. Because I'm not so sure that the country is ready to sign up for that level of commitment from the Guard and the Reserves. And, we've had some employers out here, and I thank you for what you do to support the service of our Guardsmen and Reservists, I know it puts you in a strain.
My son's a Reservist. His company picks up the difference between his Army salary and the salary he made with the company, but they still have to hire someone else to back fill him. I appreciate patriotism more than the next guy, but I think that's getting old and so we have to work our way through [the challenges of employers having to double-cover for deployed employees]. So I thank you for your support on that.
So that versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations operating on a rotational cycle-that's what we're building and everything that we're working toward is designed to fit that description in the 21st Century force.
Let me wrap up with a couple things that are probably more relevant here. As I said in the beginning, I think we're in fundamental and continuous change. I tell my folks, look, you gotta get up when the ball's at your feet. You can't get stuck and God knows big bureaucracies. They like square corners and they like stability. We're just not in that position.
As we look at the elements of our adapting our institutions to support that, one, I mentioned we had to adapt how we man people, how we equip people, how we train people, how we support people to operate on a rotational model.
You know, it used to be everybody in the Army was ready to do everything all the time and the Guard and Reserve were a strategic Reserve and they weren't very well resourced and when we needed them, we called them up and it took six months to start rolling folks out. That isn't what we're doing. It isn't what we've been doing for a long time.
But our systems haven't adapted. Let me give you an example. When we recruited a Soldier, we would recruit a Soldier because it's convenient for recruiting command. It's efficient for recruiting command to write the contract that way. But what happens is unless that recruit is lined up with rotational model, you wind up with a 100-200 guys in a brigade who can't make the deployment with the brigade because their commitment runs out during the deployment. That's very inefficient.
Schools. We have a great schools program and a Professional Development Program in the Army, but the schools are scheduled to graduate at times convenient for them, sufficient for them. Never had any reason to do it otherwise, but not to produce leaders for the units at the appropriate times they can do the training and deploy. So we're working to build an enterprise approach to pull all this together so that we can do this much more efficiently and effectively in generating those forces.
The second big institutional change is developing the integrated business management system and Joe Westphal, [the Under Secretary of the Army] has really come onboard and taken this on. And we have to do that.
We just had a big budget meeting with the Secretary of Defense the other day and they drug out the old slide that you've all seen, right' The Defense Budget since 1950 and it is almost a perfect wavy line of peaks and valleys and the peaks maybe five-six years and then the valley [goes for] five or six years, and then it peaks again. I told my guys, "Look, do the analysis and tell me where this peak is coming because it's coming now." You can look at that and believe that something different is going to happen, but history's against us.
So we've been working to put ourselves in a position to manage better. I started to send Generals to business school at the University of North Carolina back in 2008 because that is not something that we in the green suit do very well. When I was a Colonel at Fort Hood, I thought managing my $300,000 Class IX budget was high finance and when they asked me to pick up depot level repairables, I almost had a heart attack.
But I told Flag Officer Corps of the Army that we need to understand business and make big $100 million decisions. That's where I want my Generals to have their heads. We're working our way there.
Now, they said we're war-fighters, not accountants. I said, okay, I got that, but, unfortunately, 70 percent of the General officer billets are in the business side of the Army. So if you want to keep going, I need you on the team.
The other part of this and we are working this very hard is we have to reform our requirements and our acquisition processes. I think I might have spoken about [Secretary of the Army] John McHugh's Acquisition Review. We asked a couple of folks to take a hard look at our acquisition and life cycle management process, soup-to-nuts-from the work force to the authorities to our organizations to our rapid acquisition processes. To look at it all because we've got a new team coming in to our acquisition community now, [LTG William "Bill" Phillips], an acquisition officer by trade. We're trying to help them really grow and help get them a blueprint because we, as an Army, haven't invested the talent that we need into our acquisition corps for a long time. We have to do it if we're going to deliver the systems that our Soldiers need in war and to do that efficiently.
Again, we're not just waking up and doing this. Just so you know, the last three General officer boards have selected 12 acquisition Colonels to General. The three before that selected six. So we're trying to get the talent going in the right direction, but we have to do that.
Requirements. The bane of all our existences. I know you -- I'm sure that there's more than one of you out there that has this brilliant idea and has approached someone in the Army and they say, well, that's a really good idea but I don't have a requirement and we really wind up stifling innovation.
The flip side of the coin is every large organization has silos. We just happen to have more than everybody else. What happens when you're in a not-for-profit business or organization, there's no market incentive to be more efficient and effective. In fact, the incentive is just the reverse, right' You get high fives for getting more resources for your silo and we haven't figure out a way to incentivize that innovation and efficiency.
When I was a division commander in Germany-1st Armored Division-I had a million bucks left at the end of the year. I could give it to everybody to fill up their supply lockers or I could give it back. I decided to give it back. I gave it back to the Army and they said "Thank you very much, dummy, and they docked me a million bucks on the next year's budget." But that's the way it works.
But anyway, the other part that happens is requirements coming up and they don't bring cost into the equation until what I've come to realize is way too late, [in order to not stifle innovation.] We have great ideas but no one has done a cost-benefit analysis or, even better, done the value analysis that says, okay, that's a great capability but if we did it this way, we could get more capability for less cost. We're actively working to adapt personnel to that.
The last thing I'll tell you is we can't do this by ourselves. It's gotta be a partnership. I have worked my way through the Future Command Systems Program and the development of the ground combat vehicle concept developments document. What I'm increasingly feeling the need for is a more iterative relationship between industry and the Army in developing and fine-tuning these requirements. Because, candidly, as I look at the way some of these requirements are written, they are way too rich. I need folks in industry to come in and say, hey, General, your dreaming. We're not going to deliver that any time soon. You've got to feel comfortable going back and forth like that.
One of the things I've seen from my time in Iraq and my time in this job is that there is nobody that smart to get it 100 percent right the first time. The human mind works iteratively and it works much better if you have smart people to iterate with. We're looking to figure out how to do that better and to get into a much better partnership and iterative relationship with industry.
I have great confidence in the skills that American industry brings to the table and we just have to figure out how we can make our processes-our Army processes-more efficient so they support your capability. I think we'll all be better in the long run.
Anyway, that's really what I wanted to talk to you about. I'm really starting to see us being able to get in 2011 where we thought we could get [back in] 2007. It will make a huge difference with this force, but as I look out there, you know, there's something else out there that we're not thinking of. Probably my greatest concern is that we won't be able to give the force a rest, to give everybody a couple of years at home before something else happens and we're in another spin.
And then the last thing I'd ask you to take away is we are seriously interested in improving the way we manage ourselves, and we certainly welcome an enhanced partnership with industry.
So thanks very much. I'm happy to take questions.