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The Army has always experienced a tension between current and future demands, perhaps more now than ever before. Consistent investment in current and future readiness is needed to:

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The Army has adapted to fight the war on terrorism following a decade of insufficient modernization investments. At the start of combat operations, many of our units were under-equipped and not immediately ready for deployment, especially in our reserve components.

To meet Combatant Commander requirements, we had to aggregate equipment from across the force to fully equip those Soldiers deploying into harm’s way. As a result, we significantly reduced the readiness of many units to prepare others for combat.

This readiness decision was especially evident in the Army National Guard during our national response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With help from the President, the Congress, and the Department of Defense via supplemental appropriations, we have been provided the means to address many of our equipment shortfalls and readiness requirements, yet we still have much to accomplish.

To manage risk within acceptable levels during wartime, the Army requires:

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The Army is committed to producing units that are ready for the challenges they will face tomorrow and to overcoming years of underfunding prior to the events of 9-11. We have received unprecedented

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support to “buy back” much needed capability. We cannot, however, fool ourselves by maintaining large numbers of forces on paper that, in reality, lack the people, equipment, training, and support needed to accomplish the missions they will be assigned. We are determined to support our Soldiers and their families with an improved quality of life that matches the quality of the service they perform for America.

Building the capabilities required to hedge against the uncertainty of tomorrow will require prudent investments today. These investments must be sustained at predictable, consistent levels over time – a departure from historic patterns of spending which have increased our Nation’s vulnerability at the outset of each of the major conflicts of the 20th century. As George Washington stated, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” Consistency in funding, even as the war on terrorism ebbs and flows, will be absolutely essential to the Army’s ability to preserve peace and freedom for the Nation.