FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (Aug. 22, 2014) -- As force reduction kicks into gear, Soldiers can't help but begin to question what the future of the Army will hold, and those assigned to Fort Huachuca are no different.

As these challenges have begun to surface, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III and his wife, Jeanne, paid a visit to Fort Huachuca, Wednesday and Thursday, to speak with local Soldiers, civilians and family members and reassure them just how important they are to the Army.

With the leading-edge initiatives and the unique training opportunities here, such as critical aviation, intelligence, signal and cyber enablers, Fort Huachuca and its capabilities play an integral role in the Army's future, Chandler said.

"Fort Huachuca is extremely important to the future of our Army because it is a part of our warfighting functions," Chandler said, during an interview at the conclusion of a town hall held at Cochise Theater, Wednesday. "The concepts and ideas that [Maj.] Gen. [Robert P.] Ashley and Command Sgt. Maj. [Jefferey] Fairley and others are developing here, for the way ahead on how we channel many of the new technologies and ideas into future warfighting functions for our Army, is extremely important."

Among these vital capabilities is the ever-growing cyber technology field. As a supporting test center for the Army's cyber initiatives, Fort Huachuca ensures the Army is ready for a cyber future.

"I think we all recognize our reliance on the Internet and on devices to communicate with one another," Chandler said. "From the military perspective, to be able to provide that mission command and control for our Army is becoming more and more important in our society, and how we fight. So cyber, and our ability to defend ourselves, and when necessary, to go on the offensive, is extremely important and it's a big part of what is happening here."

In October 2012, the Army established the Cryptologic Network Warfare Specialist (35Q) military occupational specialty, known as an MOS. Last month, the first Advanced Leader Course for the new MOS graduated here, at the Non-commissioned Officer Academy.

During his visit, Chandler spoke with Soldiers attending the second iteration of the course and asked for their help.

"What I ask you to do is provide a candid and thoughtful critique of what you are doing in the course. You're the next generation -- everyone in here," Chandler said. "Your critiques will allow the Army to tailor this course, and you owe that to the rest of the 35Qs in the Army. Your feedback is important to shape what others will be taught to do. I see this course as fundamental to leader development and leadership in the future."