First and Foremost, our Army stands ready to fight and win our Nation's wars. We have entered our 13th consecutive year of war and approximately 1.5 million Soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our adaptive and innovative Soldiers have been essential in shaping the complex, uncertain world we live in today. Currently, approximately 60,000 Soldiers are forward deployed and 85, 000 Soldiers are forward stationed, supporting Combatant Commanders with Regionally Aligned and Mission Tailored Forces. These numbers make clear that the most experienced and capable land force in decades has been instrumental in building durable resolutions in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Our operations are no longer focused on one particular region but rather on the full array of threats to our national interests and the political and economic stability of our global allies. More importantly, these numbers make clear that landpower remains salient; it is required to prevent conflict, shape the global security environment and win our nation's wars.Despite this demand for land forces, our Army is at a strategic turning point--a shift from thirteen years of war and large-scale operations to a future with a smaller, more agile force. Fighting simultaneous wars has proven the readiness of Army units must be balanced with other national security and domestic priorities. Our understanding of what a balanced Army is depends heavily on the global strategic environment and the potential threats posed to national security. As the Army moves forward, the primary concerns are the capacities and capabilities of forces needed to execute the defense strategy. History has proven that we cannot narrowly define the conditions for which our Army must be ready; therefore, as we execute force structure reductions, the deliberate drawdown must take into consideration both operational demands and a number of dynamic, strategic risks. Regardless, investment in our readiness is a strategic necessity and a matter of priority.Balancing our strategy is critical to posture the Army to prevent, shape and win our nation's wars. This is the context within which the Army must think, train and fight. This is also the Army that must be resourced to build and sustain readiness to execute the defense strategy. Given the unpredictability of future conflicts, it remains especially important for leaders to resource the Army commensurate with the scope of demands placed upon it. A balanced and ready Army that provides national leaders with an array of options for addressing future challenges is the intent.To that end, my immediate challenges are to help the Chief of Staff of the Army address these strategic risks by finding the right balance between the current demands for readiness, Force 2025 and future force capabilities. Force 2025 is a total force comprehensive strategy that will allow the Army to deliver landpower capabilities to the Joint Force as we operate across the full spectrum of operations. Four principal elements guide our efforts to develop Force 2025 and sustain strategic readiness in the Army. First is acceleration of our end strength reductions while simultaneously reorganizing the combat force. Second is transition from the Army Force Generation Model to a sustainable readiness generation process. Third is training and readiness of the Army Contingency Force. Finally, we will build partner capacity to align our national interests with our allies and partners. Together, these four initiatives and the readiness of the force will maximize Army capacity and capabilities as we support increasing requirements for combatant commanders.Readiness.
To ensure we maintain our decisive advantage within a resourced constrained environment, operational readiness requires that the future force retain the required capability and capacity to meet current and future operational requirements. While we cannot predict where the next conflict will occur, what history has proven is there will be a contingency at some point that will require land forces. Although the future force will be smaller and leaner, smaller does not mean ineffective; simply put, it means that we will have a more responsive force that will offer tactical, operational and strategic mobility as it deploys rapidly in support to the joint force.Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) Reorganization.
A key component of reshaping the future force is a redesign of the Army's force structure. To retain depth and scope of capability and capacity across the range of military operations, we are reorganizing BCTs to preserve operational capability, conduct expeditionary maneuver and retain flexibility as we reduce end-strength. Force structure changes must be synchronized with the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan and executed within the constraints of the current fiscal environment. The purpose of BCT reorganization is to maintain a more lethal, expeditionary, agile, scalable and responsive force for the future. The strategic effect of force design changes provides a seamless continuum of options for the Army to assure, deter, compel and support for combatant commanders current and future requirements.Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI).
The Army Aviation enterprise agreed it must shape its force structure to reduce costs and ensure it meets future operational demand requirements. In accomplishing the required transformation within Army Aviation, ARI ensures a lean, capable, sustainable Aviation force enabling Combatant Commanders and ground force commanders to prevent, shape and win at home and abroad. ARI directs Army Aviation to divest of its legacy aircraft and repurpose associated funds for modernization programs while decreasing the overall size of the force. ARI preserves maximum combat power, streamlines Aviation force structure, and modernizes Aviation training while absorbing substantial budget cuts driven by sequestration. The subsequent savings and/or cost avoidance enables the retention of the Army's most advanced and capable aircraft and allows Army Aviation to budget for future modernization efforts such as Future Vertical Lift.Sustainable Readiness Model (SRM).
The Army is changing the way we look at readiness generation. We can no longer afford the "Readiness Cliff"; that is the perception that the Army's current force generation policies are wasteful because they 'break' units as they leave their available period. As we look to the future, the Army must adapt its force generation practices from those based on combat deployment windows to balanced approach that optimizes and promotes sustaining readiness. As such, the Sustainable Readiness Model allows the Army to maintain a viable and credible deterrence capability while also meeting enduring requirements. The Sustainable Readiness Model will empower commanders and is flexible enough to accommodate differing readiness levels given anticipated mission requirements. In short, the Sustainable Readiness Model will reduce the readiness "peaks and valleys" we have witnessed for the past decade and enhance the Army's ability to preserve the readiness of the force and balance the Army's steady state missions and contingency response requirements.The Army Contingency ForceArmy Contingency Force (ACF).
To prevent a hollow force, the ACF initiative designates a portion of the Army's operating force to receive increased training and resources to meet contingency demands. The FY14 budget provided funds for increased readiness and allowed the ACF to expand its purpose and serve as a vehicle to rebuild decisive action proficiency across all three components. ACF now consists of those units having attained DA proficiency and not aligned to overseas deployments. If future budgets remain at FY14 levels, the ACF concept could disappear as the Army distributes readiness evenly across the force.Regional Alignment of Forces.
Regionally Aligned Forces are central to the Army's ability to shape the environment as part of a Joint Task Force capable headquarters by providing forces that more agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced. Regionally Aligned Forces strengthen the Army's effort for engagement by providing culturally attuned, scalable, mission prepared capabilities in a changing strategic environment. By regionally aligning the Total Force, the Army will maintain its warfighting proficiency and reinvigorate its expeditionary mindset while leveraging and globally applying the force's depth of experience gained during sustained combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Regionally Aligned Forces provide a regional focus and a means of sustained regional engagement, Mission Tailored Forces provide a functional focus and are globally responsive in support of defense priorities. These forces, like the Army's Contingency Force, offer the Combatant Commander a means of responding to contingencies and emerging threats and are a critical asset for strengthening partner nation security. Given that most nations' militaries are land-centric, the demand for a forward presence of land forces to build partner capacity, expand global access and improve interoperability is consistent and growing. Regionally Aligned Forces and Mission Tailored Forces increase the Army's agility to respond to these requirements.To that end, we will shape the strategic and operational environment by building cooperative security, deterring aggression and establishing the preconditions for future operations should crises arise. Strategically, RAF offers the United States both influence in and access to host nations through enhanced trust and understanding facilitated by enduring engagements. Failure to engage or shape prior to a crisis or contingency invariably leads to a significant increase in expenditures in terms of money, forces committed, and lives lost (friendly, foe, and civilian) when military operations do commence. RAF allows us to signal destabilizing forces and actors our commitment to our partners while increasing our ability to influence and gain access.ConclusionThe Strength of the Nation.
Land forces are vital to every element of the defense strategy, and our Army will always be responsible for a range of missions that protect national security interests. The strategic priority is to ensure that our land forces are prepared, ready and capable to respond to the array of threats we will continue to face in the future. The initiatives outlined place emphasis on adjusting to declining resources by enhancing capabilities and building partnerships as we drawdown the force. Adapting to change and challenges is what our Army does best. The last thirteen years of war prove that as do the continued sacrifices and tremendous efforts of our men and women in uniform. Despite the incredible amount of demand and stress on our Army, the unbelievable professionalism and resiliency of the American Soldier remain unmatched. The security of our nation depends on the selfless sacrifices of men and women, who come from every corner of the world to protect the freedom and democracy of this great nation. A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt spoke these words: "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." American Soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan, protecting the homeland and are involved in multiple humanitarian, partnership and security cooperation engagements throughout the world. They remain the "Strength of the Nation."