America's Army
A Soldier pulls security as coalition forces search Ala Say Valley, Afghanistan, for suspected Taliban fighters. Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes, G-8, said one of the Army's top four transformation priorities is upgrading and modernizing existing systems, such as tactical-wheeled vehicles.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2007) - A panel of senior leaders discussed the objectives and way forward for "Army Modernization - Maintaining Momentum" at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting today.

Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes, G-8, kicked off the panel with an overview of how the Army intends to maintain current modernization momentum while implementing Future Combat Systems into the brigade combat team structure.

"We're part of a holistic effort which adapts everything about the Army; it involves modernizing the material side, but this is part of a broad-reaching effort that goes far beyond equipment," he said. "The Future Combat System is the core of Army transformation, but the centerpiece of Army transformation is the Soldier."

Lt. Gen. Speakes explained the four priorities of present Army transformation are: to field the best new equipment possible to the current force; upgrade and modernize existing systems, such as tactical wheeled vehicles and armor systems; incorporate new technologies; and field the Future Combat Systems brigade combat team.

Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, next said all components of the Army have worked together to get the Reserve caught up on modernization.

"While we disagree and a lot of times we fight for resources, we're sitting down and coming to agreements on a lot of issues," he said. "From the Army Reserve perspective we're getting support like we've never got support before from the Army.

"We started this war $54 billion in the hole because our Army was a tiered readiness Army; it wasn't designed, not structured, to fight a protracted war," he continued. "From the Army Reserve perspective we were a strategic force, but today we have almost $9 billion in resources for Army Reserve equipment to modernize."

Lt. Gen. Stultz went on to say the Army Reserve was no longer a strategic reserve and is authorized 205,000 Soldiers which accounts for about 20 percent of the Army force. At the same time he said, the reserves account for more than 50 percent of the logistics force.

"We are the combat support service structure for the Army, so we have all the transportation, the military police, medical, quartermaster, engineers, civil affairs - so this nation can't fight a protracted war without the Army Reserve," he said. "Since 9/11, we've mobilized 180,000 Soldiers from our force and we keep 25-30,000 mobilized on-going, but in order to continue to do that, we have to transform from the old strategic to operational mindset which means we have to train under the same conditions as our active counterparts."

Lt. Gen. Stultz said one of the Reserve's greatest challenges has been getting the same equipment to train with that his Soldiers use while deployed.

"We need to execute the Army force generation model and get the modernization and equipment down to the lowest level in a timely manner so we can train," he said. "These young Soldiers will not stick with us if they come home after operating the latest, greatest equipment in theater, then come back to the reserve center to operate old deuce-and-a-half trucks that offer no challenge."

Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard, added that modernization of National Guard was also imperative, citing the Guard owns 12,000 deuce-and-a-half trucks that average 36 years old that must be replaced.

"We've got the greatest amount of money coming in, but we need $23 billion to fully equip the National Guard," he said. "Are we all satisfied --not exactly, but I think we're on the path to getting better; it's just going to take time to do that though.

Lt. Gen. Ross Thompson, military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said that the Army's acquisition workforce has decreased by 40 percent from what it was 10 years ago, and that only 3 percent of that workforce is now military.

Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, discussed the role FCS has already played in the current modernization of the Army -- such as advanced armored kits, unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles along with robots already serving in theater.

"Forces need to have these capabilities across the full spectrum of combat and optimized. No matter how we organize our force, we want to give the capabilities to the force commander to allow him to adapt to the enemy," he said.

"We're also looking at the human dimension," Lt. Gen. Vane said, adding that we need to "ensure that the technology being developed enhances the human characteristics, not just put the human on the equipment we've built; so we're undergoing a significant effort to look at the human dimension."

Page last updated Tue October 9th, 2007 at 19:21