Mason's Message (Feb. 11, 2012)
February 13, 2012
WITH 2011 LOGISTICS MILESTONES ACHIEVED, LET'S ASK: WHAT'S NEXT?
It has been a fast-paced 90 days since I joined the G-4 Family. Beginning this month, I will hold See You's (CU), coming to your work areas to personally meet with the team and gain insight into your critical missions. I also will continue to hold town halls, and with this first Mason Message, I want to share some of my thoughts and provide each of you what is 'on my screen'.
Without a doubt the most significant event of 2011 was completing combat operations in Iraq and bringing those Soldiers home to their families. I spent time in Afghanistan in November; it was impressive to observe ourmagnificent Soldiers accomplish their mission with such brilliant effectiveness and quiet professionalism. That visit reminded me of the superb Army sustainment community we are blessed with, and equally that we have tough missions ahead of us. Job one is to continue to sustain the current fight (OEF), while preparing to support the drawdown and retrograde operations, as well as being ready to respond across the globe to unforeseen
Although there is still critical work going on in Kuwait to sort through eight years worth of combat equipment and return it to be Reset, the Army should be done with the bulk of the retrograde by March! Our G-4 LNO's, COL Jim Kennedy and LTC Toni Stelly are in Kuwait, and LTC Darnell Jones is in Afghanistan, doing yeoman's work on freedom's frontier. We will continue to support the State Department as part of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq; and the depots and units will be busy repairing all the war-torn equipment for much of the next couple of years. The Secretary of the Army and CSA are focused on ensuring Near Term Readiness, with a Balanced Force Structure, and an appropriate investment in Modernization.
Successfully completing OIF, transitioning to OND, and meeting the President's 31 December 2011 mandate to have all U.S. units out of Iraq was a monumental task that was fully accomplished by the entire Army and Joint team. And there are tough challenges to come as we reduce our footprint in Afghanistan. The retrograde/drawdown from OEF will be different in many ways and much harder than Iraq, although the lessons we learned in Iraq have set us on the right path. We also will take significant funding reductions with OND concluding and OEF transitioning, along with the Nation's difficult economic situation. We've been through this before, the 'sky is not falling', and I firmly believe we can and will 'tighten our belts', while ensuring we are ready to execute the worldwide missions the American people expect of us.
With all of this going on, it's time for a G-4 azimuth check. So the G-4 Senior Leaders, the Directors, and I executed an offsite to review our mission, vision, and evolving focus areas. We also confirmed our key lines of effort for the G-4 team to focus on over the next three to five years. Following is a chart with these up-dated G-4 focus areas:
To guide our G-4 Vision, Mission, and Priorities, we used two very important documents issued last month: (1) President Obama's and Secretary Panetta's "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," where they offer a blueprint for the military through 2020; (2) and the 38th Chief of Staff's "Marching Orders," where GEN Odierno explains how the Army will use a construct of Prevent, Shape, and Win to chart the Army's future. If you haven't read both yet, I encourage you to do so. Here are links to both (click to visit).
As part of the President's and Secretary's strategy, there is a rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region. With this new emphasis, I recently returned from a trip to Korea and PACOM, where I reviewed APS, force structure across the Pacific, and Readiness. I had a great visit, candidly discussing sustainment issues and seeing how and what the G-4 team can do to assist our Pacific and Korea teammates.
On 27 January, I hosted my first G-4 Global VTC, an opportunity for us to share with the Army wide logistics community relevant issues the G-4 staff is working, and to get feedback from the field to ensure we are supporting them in the most effective way possible. I appreciate all the outstanding work you did to prepare for this event and for your professional briefings. We received very positive feedback from the 70 sites that dialed in, including our National Guard and Army Reserve partners.
One thing I've witnessed in my first three months here it is that the Army senior Leadership has an immense amount of respect for the G-4. Secretary McHugh and GEN Odierno were very appreciative of the detailed work you did to help make the drawdown from Iraq a huge success. On 31 January GEN Chiarelli retired and we wish him the best; and we welcomed and introduced GEN Austin to our operations. I ask each of you to continue your outstanding sustainment of our Army and our Nation's most precious resource: America's Soldiers.
Raymond V. Mason
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4