Nov. 15, 2007 - Statement on the Army's Strategic Imperatives
November 15, 2007
GENERAL GEORGE W. CASEY, JR.
CHIEF OF STAFF
UNITED STATES ARMY
SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FIRST SESSION, 110TH CONGRESS
ON THE ARMY'S STRATEGIC IMPERATIVES
NOVEMBER 15, 2007
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee, on behalf of the more than one million Active, Guard, and Reserve Soldiers, their Families, and the Civilians of the United States Army, serving around the globe, the Secretary and I welcome the opportunity to discuss the direction we intend to take the Army in the next several years.
Our Nation has been at war for over six years. Our Army has been a leader on the front lines of this war and back here at home - protecting our people and securing our borders. Over time, these operations have expanded in scope and duration. As a result, they have stretched and stressed our all-volunteer force.
Over these last six years, the Congress has responded to the Army's requests for resources. In fiscal year 2007 alone, the Congress provided over $200 billion to the Army, most at the start of the fiscal year and in time for the fully-funded Reset Program. That kind of commitment to the Army and our Soldiers is both necessary and deeply appreciated.
We live in a world where global terrorism and extremist ideologies are real threats. As we look to the future, national security experts are virtually unanimous in predicting that the next several decades will be ones of persistent conflict -- protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors that use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends. Adversaries will employ propaganda, threat, intimidation, and overt violence to coerce people and gain control of their land or resources. Some will avoid our proven advantages by adopting asymmetric techniques, utilizing indirect approaches, and immersing themselves in the population.
Many of these conflicts will likely be protracted - ebbing and flowing in intensity, challenging our Nation's will to persevere. Several emerging global trends may fuel this violence and enable extremist groups to undermine governments, societies, and values. Globalization, despite its positive effects on global prosperity, may create "have" and "have not" conditions that spawn conflict. Population growth and its "youth bulge" will increase opportunities for instability, radicalism, and extremism. Resource demand for energy, water, and food for growing populations will increase competition and conflict. Adverse impacts of climate change and natural disasters may cause humanitarian crises, population migrations, and epidemic diseases. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will increase the potential for catastrophic attacks that will be globally destabilizing and detrimental to economic development. Finally, failed or failing states unable or unwilling to maintain control over their territory may provide safe havens for global or regional terrorist groups to prepare and export terror.
While analysts generally agree on these trends, we cannot predict the exact time, location, or scope of individual conflicts. We do know, however, that the Army will remain central to our national strategy to ensure our security in spite of these threatening trends. We need to ensure our forces are agile enough to respond rapidly to unexpected circumstances; led by versatile, culturally astute, and adaptive leaders; and supported by institutions capable of sustaining operations for as long as necessary to ensure victory. The Army has a vision to build that force, and is already executing this vision. We will continue along these lines and transform our current force into a campaign-quality expeditionary force that is capable of supporting the needs of combatant commanders operating effectively with joint, interagency, and multi-national partners across the spectrum of conflict from peacetime engagement to conventional war. Simultaneously, the Army will pursue the necessary actions to restore balance to our current forces.
While we remain a resilient and committed professional force, our Army today is out of balance for several reasons. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other potential contingencies. Our Reserve Components are performing an operational role for which they were neither originally designed nor resourced. Current operational requirements for forces and limited periods between deployments necessitate a focus on counterinsurgency to the detriment of preparedness for the full range of military missions. Soldiers, Families, and equipment are stretched and stressed by the demands of lengthy and repeated deployments with insufficient recovery time. Equipment used repeatedly in harsh environmental conditions is wearing out at a far greater pace than expected. Army support systems including health care, education, and Family support systems that were designed for the pre-9/11 era are straining under the pressures from six years at war.
Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we can build it. We will act quickly to restore balance to preserve our all-volunteer force, restore necessary depth and breadth to Army capabilities, and build essential capacity for the future. Four "imperatives" frame the work we will do. Implementing them will require several years, considerable resources, and sustained commitment from Congress and the American people.
First, we need to improve the manner in which we sustain the Army's Soldiers, Families, and Civilians. Recruiting, training, and retaining our Soldiers - the centerpiece of the Army - can only be done by transforming quality recruits into Soldiers who are physically tough, mentally adaptive and live the Warrior Ethos. These Warriors are our ultimate asymmetric advantage-the one thing that cannot be matched by our adversaries-now or in the future. We recognize the strain on Families, are aware that Families play an important role in maintaining the readiness of our all-volunteer force, and must therefore ensure that their quality of life is commensurate with their quality of service. For these reasons, we will build a partnership with Army Families and improve Family readiness by standardizing and funding existing Family programs and services; increasing accessibility and quality of health care; improving Soldier and Family housing; ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and family child care; and expanding education and employment opportunities for Family members. We will also ensure that our Wounded Warriors are cared for and reintegrated into the Army and society. We must never forget our moral obligation to the spouses, children and Families who have lost their Soldier since September 11th. And finally, we must continue to support our Army Civilians. They have a 230-year record of dedicated service and they remain an integral part of the Army. As the Army's missions evolve and become more complex, so will the roles of Army Civilians.
Second, we will continue to prepare forces to succeed in the current conflict. We have made great strides in equipping our Soldiers and are continually adapting our training and equipment to keep pace with an evolving enemy. We remain committed to providing all deploying Soldiers the best available equipment to ensure they maintain a technological advantage over any enemy they face. We will continue to provide tough, demanding training at home stations and in our combat training centers to give our Soldiers and their leaders the confidence they need to succeed in these complex environments. We will implement the Army Force Generation model by 2011 to manage the preparation of forces for employment and improve predictability for Soldiers and Families. Military success in this war is tied to the capabilities of our leaders and our Soldiers -- we will not fail to prepare them for success.
Third, we must continue to reset our units and rebuild the readiness consumed in operations to prepare them for future deployments and future contingencies. Sustained combat has taken a toll on our Soldiers, leaders, Families, and equipment. Since 2003, equipment has been used at a rate over five times that programmed - in harsh and demanding desert and mountainous conditions. In addition to fixing, replacing, and upgrading our equipment and retraining for future missions, we must also revitalize our Soldiers and Families by providing them time and opportunity to recover in order to reverse the cumulative effects of a sustained high operational tempo. Resetting our forces is critical to restoring readiness -- this year we will reset over 130,000 pieces of equipment and almost 200,000 Soldiers. Reset must continue as long as we have forces deployed and for several years thereafter to ensure readiness for the future. Commitment to providing the resources to reset our forces is essential to restoring balance and to providing strategic depth and flexibility for the Nation.
Fourth, we must continue to transform our Army to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Transformation is a holistic effort to adapt how we fight, train, modernize, develop leaders, station, and support our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. Transformation is a journey -- not a destination. Transformation is also a multi-faceted process.
We must grow the Army to provide and sustain sufficient forces for the full range and duration of current operations and future contingencies. This growth will allow us to revitalize and balance our force, reduce deployment periods, increase dwell time, increase capability and capacity, and strengthen the systems that support our forces. We have authorization to increase the Army's size by 74,000 Soldiers over the next five years. We will achieve this as fast as possible.
We must continuously modernize our forces to put our Cold War formations and systems behind us and to provide our Soldiers a decisive advantage over our enemies. We will continue to rapidly field the best new equipment to our fighting forces, upgrade and modernize existing systems, incorporate new technologies derived from the Future Combat Systems research and development, and soon begin to field the Future Combat Systems themselves. We are ultimately working toward an agile, globally responsive Army that is enhanced by modern networks, surveillance sensors, precision weapons, and platforms that are lighter, less logistics-dependant, and less manpower-intensive.
We are over half-way through the largest organizational change since WWII. We must continue to convert our combat and enabling formations to modular units that are more deployable, tailorable, and versatile, and have demonstrated their effectiveness in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must also continue to rebalance our capabilities by converting less necessary skills to those in high demand, and by shifting much-needed reserve forces into the active component.
We must continue institutional change in processes, policies, and procedures to support an expeditionary Army during a time of war. Most of our systems were designed to support the pre-9/11 Army. Our transformation cannot be cemented until the institutional systems -- personnel, education, training, healthcare, procurement, and support among them -- are adapted to meet the realities of our current and future environments. We will continue Army Business Transformation through management, contracting, and acquisition reform; comprehensive redesign of organizations and business processes that support our expeditionary Army at war; and consolidation of bases and activities. While this is largely an internal process, it may well be the most difficult aspect of transformation -- and the one that is most essential to giving us the Army we will need for the rest of this century.
We must continue to adapt our Reserve Components from a paradigm of a strategic reserve only mobilized in National emergencies, to an operational reserve, employed on a cyclical basis to add depth to the active force. This has been happening for the last six years and will be required in a future of persistent conflict. Operationalizing the Reserve Components requires National and State consensus and support as well as continued commitment from Reserve Component employers, Soldiers and Families. It necessitates changes in the way we train, equip, resource, and mobilize the Reserve Components.
We must continue to develop agile and adaptive leaders. Leaders in the 21st Century must be competent in their core proficiencies; broad enough to operate across the spectrum of conflict -- from humanitarian and peacekeeping operations through counterinsurgency to major conventional operations; able to operate in joint, interagency, and combined environments and leverage political and diplomatic efforts in achieving their objectives; at home in other cultures, able to use this awareness and understanding to support operations in innovative ways; and courageous enough to see and exploit opportunities in the challenges and complexities of our future operating environments.
Each of these imperatives requires resources - on time and in the amounts needed to meet the mission. We are 46 days into fiscal year 2008, and it is imperative that the Army and Congress work in partnership to ensure that funding is made available to the Army in order for us to sustain, prepare, reset, and transform.
With enactment of the DoD Appropriations Bill, the Army can continue essential missions for a limited time. Lack of funding for the Global War on Terror will cause us to tap into our base programs to continue essential operations. In the case of our operation and maintenance account, we project that with the base program paying for both base and GWOT costs at current levels, OMA funds will be exhausted by late January, or if Congress approves a reprogramming request, mid-late February.
I ask Congress to provide the necessary resources to ensure we maintain continuity of funding in order to support an Army at War. Our continued and close partnership with Congress will be essential as we restore the Army's balance over the next several years.
The Army has long been the Strength of this Nation. We were in 1775, and we are today. For 232 years, the Army has symbolized, in the truest sense, American resolve and commitment to defend its interests. We protect the homeland and lead the Nation's efforts against the scourge of global terror, and we will do so in a future of persistent conflict. Our Soldiers, their Families, and our Army Civilians epitomize what is best about America: they work hard, selflessly carry heavy burdens, and are willing to face a hard road ahead.
Today, we are locked in a war against a global extremist threat that is fixed on defeating the United States and destroying our way of life. This foe will not go away nor will it give up easily. At stake is the power of our values and our civilization -- exemplified by the promise of America -- to confront and defeat the menace of extremist terrorists. At stake is whether the authority of those who treasure the rights of free individuals will stand firm against the ruthless and pitiless men who wantonly slay the defenseless. At stake is whether the future will be framed by the individual freedoms we hold so dear or be dominated by demented forms of extremism. At stake is whether we will continue to expand freedom, opportunity, and decency for those who thirst for it, or let fall the darkness of extremism and terror.
Faced with such a long and difficult struggle, we must remind ourselves that this Army exists to field forces for victory. We are at war, fighting for our freedom, our security, and our future as a Nation. We have made hard sacrifices, and there will be more. We have lost more than 2,400 Soldiers to hostile fire and had over 20,000 Wounded -- nearly a quarter of those from the Reserve Components. We have also awarded a Medal of Honor, nine Distinguished Service Cross Medals, 440 Silver Stars, and more than 6,700 other awards for valor.
Our Soldiers, Families, and Civilians are the strength of our Army and they make the Army the Strength of the Nation. Their sacrifices are what builds a better future for others, and preserves our way of life. They will lead our Nation to victory over our enemies. They will preserve the peace for us and for our allies. Our Warrior Ethos has it right -- I will always place the mission first, I will never quit, I will never accept defeat, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.
The Secretary and I are greatly encouraged by the recent actions of the Congress, the President, and the Secretary of Defense, which reflect clear recognition of our challenges following six years of war. We look forward to working with you to maintain our Army - still the best in the world at what we do.