February 26, 2008

Our Nation has been at war for over six years.  Our Army—Active, Guard and Reserve—has been a leader in this war and has been fully engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and defending the homeland.  We also have provided support, most notably by the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, to civil authorities during domestic emergencies.  Today, of the Nation’s nearly one million Soldiers, almost 600,000 are serving on active duty and over 250,000 are deployed to nearly 80 countries worldwide.

We live in a world where global terrorism and extremist ideologies threaten our safety and our freedom.  As we look to the future, we believe the coming decades are likely to be ones of persistent conflict—protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors who use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends.  In this era of persistent conflict, the Army will continue to have a central role in implementing our national security strategy.

While the Army remains the best led, best trained, and best equipped Army in the world, it is out of balance.  The combined effects of an operational tempo that provides insufficient recovery time for personnel, Families, and equipment, a focus on training for counterinsurgency operations to the exclusion of other capabilities, and Reserve Components assigned missions for which they were not originally intended nor adequately resourced, result in our readiness being consumed as fast as we can build it.  Therefore, our top priority over the next several years is to restore balance through four imperatives:  Sustain, Prepare, Reset, and Transform. 

The Army’s strength is its Soldiers—and the Families and Army Civilians who support them.  The quality of life we provide our Soldiers and their Families must be commensurate with their quality of service.  We will ensure that our injured and wounded Warriors, and their Families, receive the care and support they need to reintegrate effectively into the Army or back into society.  We never will forget our moral obligation to the Families who have lost a Soldier in service to our Nation.

We are grateful for the support and resources we have received from the Secretary of Defense, the President, and Congress.  To fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, transform to meet the evolving challenges of the 21st century, and to regain our balance by 2011, the Army will require the full level of support requested in this year’s base budget and Global War on Terror (GWOT) Request.