Good morning. It is great seeing everybody. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I am glad you all could make it. I was just able to get here this morning. I spent last night at the Capitol for the State of the Union, an important message.

What I found interesting in the speeches, for those of you who might have listened to them, is that the President used the example of the military as a way to work together. It is about the Joint Force that has been established, and the fact that the Services are going to have to work together during the budget discussions we've had, as a united front working together to solve problems. I think that is what he was referring to. Then he said it again at the end of the speech.

That says a lot about us because, as the President mentioned, we are here doing what is best for our nation. I think we say that sometimes, but we don't really emphasize it. He has seen that, and in personal meetings with us, he actually has personally mentioned that to us: the fact of how impressed he is about the military working together; and the fact that when given a task, we accomplish the task to the best of our ability; and we do what is best for the nation. I think there is no greater message than that, and no greater compliment he can pay us than that. So I really appreciated the compliment from the President in regards to that last night.

Obviously Secretary McHugh, Sir, it is great to have you here. Bruce Stanski: thank you so much and Fluor for supporting us. I appreciate you being here. Katherine Hammack, it is nice to see you here. I think I saw Tom Lamont. It's great to see you Sir. I think Mary Matiella is here. It is great seeing you again.

I do want to talk about the Vice Chief, Pete Chiarelli. As some of you know, this is Pete's last real working function before retiring next Tuesday after 40 years of service and dedication. I want to thank Pete for his outstanding service and commitment to our Soldiers, our Army and our Nation. He is a rare combination of someone who understands Soldiers but also is a Statesman, and understands the importance of the Army message, the Joint message. Pete, the Staff is a little bit worried, and they asked me to give you one piece of advice. They are worried that you will be performing a capability portfolio review on Beth's work at home, and they told me to advise you that it is probably not a good idea.

The most important thing you can say about someone is that Pete is leaving the Army a better place than when he came in the Army. He is leaving the Army a better place. I want to thank you so much. We appreciate you.

I want to welcome our incoming Vice Chief, Lloyd Austin. As you all know, he just got back from Iraq, where he did a magnificent job ending our commitment there, and where he made the complex look routine as our forces left Iraq, having created a successful military campaign. We are fortunate to have him coming up as the Vice with his wife. A true Soldier, he will help us work through the missions that we have to work through over the next several years. I am very happy to have him along with us. Let's give him a warm welcome.

I just returned this week from a trip to the Asia‐Pacific region. The reason I went out there is obviously the focus of the mission and our strategy. But also as the Chief, I am reaching out to our Combatant Commanders in full force and will provide the versatility, the depth, and the capability of the Army. I wanted to start out in the Asia‐Pacific region. It was a great trip that I had, and it was even better when my Giants won the NFC playoff game. General Sullivan, I look forward to continuing the rivalry with the Red Sox/Yankees, and now Patriots/Giants. So we can have a talk about that later.

While I was in the Pacific region, I had some great discussions with military and governmental leaders over there in Hawaii, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Alaska. I was able to meet with all our key leaders. But I also spent time with Admiral Willard, the PACOM Commander, and his staff to discuss the future of the Pacific Command and the role of the Army. We talked about that at great length.

At every location I visited, the one thing that continues to impress me is that the leader focus and troop morale was incredibly positive. Leaders are very optimistic about the Army's posture in the Pacific and the future engagements that will further enhance the role of the Army in the Pacific region.

I had the opportunity to meet the new Japanese Minister of Defense, Minister Tanaka. I was his first official visit after he took over as the Minister of Defense. He came in on a Friday, and on Tuesday, I met with him. That was his first official meeting. It was really good to have that opportunity to talk with him, and talk about our strong relationship that we will build in the future. I also met with the Japanese Ground Defense Forces Commander, General Kimizuka. Both expressed their optimism and were excited about increased opportunities to work together more with the Army, which they see as critical to the future of the Asia region.

In the Republic of Korea (ROK), I met with Minister of Defense Kim whom I met previously in Iraq when he was the ROK Chairman of the Joint Staff, and their Army Chief of Staff, General Kim. I had the opportunity to meet with him as well.

Both leaders were extremely appreciative of our Army's continued commitment and dedication to security in northeast Asia. Going forward, General Kimizuka, General Kim and I will build a trilateral relationship between Japan, South Korea, and the United States armies as defense forces for security cooperation. We have an agreement to do that to work together trilaterally. I think this is an important step as we continue to respect our relationships in northeast Asia. So overall, it was an incredibly productive trip.

It is clear that our allies and partners in the Asia‐Pacific region desire increased engagement with our great Army, especially as we continue to maneuver our way through these complex and uncertain times that we have.

So today I wanted to focus on where we are headed as an Army, but before doing that, I think it is important that we reflect on where we have been. As you all know, we have been an Army at war for the past decade. Our Army has proven itself in what I consider to be the most difficult conditions this nation has ever faced. I can proudly boast that this incredible Army is truly one Army. Like no other time in recent history, the synergy between our components -- Active, Guard, and Reserve -- as well as the relationship between Special Operations Forces and conventional forces is as strong as it has ever been, bonded together by a decade of war. We will work together as we move forward to ensure that these bonds stay very strong.

I was in Afghanistan a few weeks ago, and once again was impressed with our leaders' focus and our troops' morale. Our Soldiers continue to bravely fight and defeat the Taliban. At the same time, they remain dedicated to training the Afghan forces and helping them assume responsibility for their own security. Truly, it is our Soldiers that make us Army Strong. Two and a half months after 9/11, there were a handful of Special Forces teams in Afghanistan (as everyone knows, the guys on horseback).

From November 25‐28, 2011, then Major Mark Mitchell, with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, served as the Ground Force Commander of an operation that led to the rescue of one American and the posthumous recovery of another. He was the first service member since Vietnam to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mark Mitchell, who just finished being the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Commander is here today.

Mark, if you could stand. For his award, and for his great service, he now serves in the Office of Leon Panetta, which is good. We need people who understand the nature of warfare and those who have actually been out there. So thank you Mark, for your continued service and all the great things you have done for our Army.

As you all know, we recently ended our mission in Iraq, signifying the successful completion of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Few believed we would be successful in Iraq, especially as the insurgency grew and Iraq was on its way into civil war. But the resilience of the U.S. Forces, and especially the American Soldier, was a display of their incredible bravery. They adapted to the environment and were able to implement innovative and well thought‐out strategies, which turned Iraq into a military success. And I am confident that with these great Soldiers, we will do the same thing in Afghanistan.

I am always amazed at the mental and physical toughness of our Soldiers, especially their courage under fire. We have presented over 14,000 ‐‐ in fact, 14,432 ‐‐ Valor Awards to Soldiers over the last ten years. There have been six Medals of Honor, 24 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 649 Silver Stars awarded to our courageous Warriors. We really do have some remarkable heroes who have dedicated their lives to something greater than themselves, especially in this time of global uncertainty. And that is the strength that we will build off of as we move forward.

So as all of you know, we now have direction for the way ahead.

Two weeks ago, the President and Secretary of Defense published their updated strategic guidance. The creation of this strategy was a highly collaborative and inclusive process, of which the Secretary of the Army and myself were deeply involved. The collaboration was unprecedented and a true mark of the great leadership provided by Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey. I am confident it provides the Army the right focus to continue to contribute as the decisive arm of the Joint Force.

We will be an Army in transition over the next five years, or maybe even more. As we face evolving threats and strengthen our future force, we must apply the lessons learned over the past decade, to include: (1) continuing and strengthening the close integration of the Special Operations Forces with conventional forces; (2) developing leaders at all levels capable of continually assessing their operating environment and adapting to dominate it; (3) sustaining the tactics, techniques and procedures that have made us successful in counterinsurgency and regular warfare; (4) massing the effects of the entire Joint Force, both lethal and nonlethal on the battlefield; (5) achieving unity of effort among the military, coalition partners, host nation, interagency, and nongovernmental organizations; and (6) rapidly fielding emerging technologies and capabilities to counter an ever‐changing threat.

Going forward, our Army has three principal and interconnected roles in my mind: Prevent, Shape and Win. First, we must prevent conflict. We do this by maintaining credibility. This credibility is based on our capacity, our readiness, and our modernization to avert miscalculation by potential adversaries. Our standing as the most dominant land force on the planet can never be up for debate. We must be able to operate across any operational environment, in a broad mission set, including regular and irregular warfare, stability operations, counterinsurgency, humanitarian assistance, and any other mission that is out there.

Second, we shape the international environment through strong military relationships with allies and by building partner capacity. It is through these sustained relationships that we will be able to gain future access when needed.

And finally, when necessary, we stand ready to win our nation's wars. We must win dominantly and decisively. I have been asked why we must win both dominantly and decisively. Because the cost of that might be too much. The cost of indecision and the cost of entering a fight without dominant capability, enabled by superior technology and unmatched leadership, is the unnecessary loss of American lives. We must and will retain an Army with the capacity and capability to win decisively on any battlefield should deterrence fail.

Today, we remain committed in Afghanistan, where we have over 63,000 Soldiers deployed, but our Army engagements are not limited to Afghanistan. Across the globe in nearly 150 countries, we have 90,000 Soldiers deployed conducting operations, with another 96,000 forward stationed overseas. And they stand ready to respond to any contingency.

As I discussed with key officials on my Asia‐Pacific trip, we will strengthen our presence in the region. We have five of our seven mutual defense treaties in this region, and we continue to conduct long‐standing exercises with Korea, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. As the defense strategic guidance outlines, we will refocus our efforts in the Asia‐Pacific region, not just because we have neglected it in the past decade due to our commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because of the strong military presence in this pivotal region. The dominant service within most foreign nations, and in every country in the Pacific Command region, is their Army. Seven out of ten of the largest armies in the world, in fact, are in the Asia‐ Pacific region. 22 out of 28 Chiefs of Defense in Asia‐Pacific come from their armies. The land component is not just the largest service, but traditionally is the most influential in every country in the Asia‐Pacific region.

The Army will actively seek new opportunities for expanding existing training and engaging with new partners. We will adapt the Army Force Generation process to meet geographical Combatant Commanders' needs for rotational forces to conduct exercises, building partner capacity, and theater security cooperation.

But we must remember also that the importance of the Middle East has not changed. Significant uncertainty remains. I would argue that the Arab Spring has just begun and its final outcomes are unclear. Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Arab‐Israeli tensions continue. All of this will impact the future. We need a finite balance in this area of the world, because we play a major role in guaranteeing security. These uncertainties could threaten stability in the Middle East and would have a direct and proportional impact on key Asia‐Pacific nations that rely on exports from the Middle East.

In Europe, our commitments to the NATO alliance and our European partners have not changed. As Secretary Panetta recently announced, we are reducing our permanent force structure in Europe by two Brigades. While reducing our permanently based footprints in places like Europe, we will actually increase our combined, joint and multinational training opportunities with our NATO partners in Europe.

By regionally aligning forces with this reduction, the cessation of operations in Iraq, and the anticipated reductions in force requirements in Afghanistan, I anticipate increased opportunities for engagement and partnered training in Europe through a rotational force construct, which will allow us to utilize the Joint training set up we have, and we will continue to work with our NATO partners and our eastern allies.

In Africa and Latin America we will continue to build and strengthen our critical partnerships and alliances through low‐cost, small footprint approaches, including sustained training exercises through a rotational presence. The depth of our total Army (Active, Guard, and Reserve) will allow us to do this.

In short, the Army is committed to providing Combatant Commanders to the Joint Force with the capabilities, capacity and diversity needed to be successful across a wide range of operations. With a leaner Army, we have to prioritize yet remain capable of meeting a wide range of security requirements. Over the past decade, our end strength grew to accommodate the security requirements of Iraq and Afghanistan. We understandably grew out of operational necessity. The challenge before us is not if we reduce end strength, but how we do it. By incrementally reducing over time, a great deal of decrease will occur through natural attrition. We will reduce in a manner that preserves our readiness while avoiding any type of hollow force.

So what are my priorities as we look ahead? I have established five priorities.

First, as always, we will continue to provide trained, equipped, and ready forces to win the war in Afghanistan, which will remain the Army's top priority until the end of 2014. We are totally committed to winning that fight. Second, we will develop the Army for the future as part of Joint Force 2020, a versatile mix of capabilities, formations and equipment. Third, we remain committed to our all-volunteer force. We must continue to fill our ranks with high quality volunteers and retain the right ones. Next, we do a great job of this already, but we will fine tune and adapt our leader development in order to better develop leaders at all levels that will thrive in complex environments. This is based on my thought that strong leaders, well‐developed leaders can solve many problems that we face. And finally our Army will reinvigorate our commitment to the Profession of Arms. This is one of the Army's cornerstones, a noble calling founded on the bedrock of trust.

To help lay this foundation for our Army as we move forward, I have published my marching orders. They outline my intent and guiding principles of where we are headed, and the fundamental characteristics that will get us there. My intent is steadfast and resolute. We will sustain a high‐quality, All‐Volunteer Army that remains the most decisive land force in the world. It will remain the best manned, best equipped, best trained, and best led force that you have ever seen.

The Army has and will remain a vital component of the Joint Force. As we develop this future force, we will ensure it is responsive to Combatant Commanders, providing depth and versatility to our national security decision makers. We must ensure that our Army, as part of the Joint Force 2020 is: adaptive and innovative, flexible and agile, integrated and synchronized, lethal, but discriminate.

To preserve this credibility as the dominant land force and sustain our all-volunteer Army, we have to look at what kind of modernization we want to do and how much we can afford. What is the right balance? I have three rheostats, being end strength, modernization and readiness, that all must be continually assessed and refined. That is what we are balancing over the next several years as the Army is in transition.

The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act was just released and reflects the Army's priorities in modernization.

First, the Network will help the way we manage information, which is integral for our ability to adapt at all levels. The Network will be a secure and common joint architecture that provides synchronized and real time information to enable leaders and units and the Institutional Army to function more effectively.

Second, we need a replacement for our Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an objective vehicle that can accommodate an entire Infantry Squad; one that balances mobility and survivability; one that gives them unmatched lethality on the battlefield.

Our third modernization priority is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). We must modernize our wheeled vehicle fleet because we cannot just continue to keep adding on to the HMMWV. Based on combat lessons learned, the JLTV must provide protection while allowing more maneuverability for Soldiers to get where they need on the battlefield. It is also integral to our Network, as the JLTV will have an integrated Network backbone built inside, making it our first tactical wheeled vehicle Network‐ready.

The Squad is the foundation of the decisive force; it is the cornerstone of all units. To ensure the success of combat operations in the future, the Army must develop a holistic bottom‐up approach using measures of formation effectiveness across the domains of leadership, training, and the material that consider the Squad as a team, rather than as a collective of individuals. This approach will ensure the Squad will not be in a fair fight, but will have overmatch in the future.

Additionally we must reinforce our efforts to improve our energy posture. This will help enhance our combat capability in theater by reducing our logistical footprint and improving efficiencies at installations. This is critical to us as we look forward to our future. We have to reduce the growth of our energy costs, or soon our energy costs will outpace what we can afford. So it is critical to us as we move forward that we go after this important piece.

Modernizing the Army in the current environment of constrained resources requires improvement and streamlining the acquisition process. We must ensure our Soldiers have the necessary equipment to operate across a broad range of missions, but must do so in an efficient, timely and cost‐effective manner.

By laying out all the things that we want to do, I tried to lay out a few of my priorities as we move forward. But in all that we do, we will remember that we are committed to providing Combatant Commanders and the Joint Force with the depth of capabilities, capacity and diversity needed to succeed across a wide range of operations. The Army provides depth through a trained and ready land force that includes a viable operational reserve. It is imperative that the Army provide scalable options to meet our nation's security needs in complex, dynamic and this uncertain global environment.

I thank all of you for your support and dedication, and I know you will continue to support us as we go forward. The strength of our nation is our Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our families; and this is what makes us Army Strong. With that I am glad to take a few questions.

Thank you very much.

Page last updated Thu January 26th, 2012 at 13:05