By Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray OdiernoOctober 15, 2014
General Odierno: General Sullivan, thank you for that kind introduction. I appreciate it very much. Good afternoon everyone. It is always great to speak here at the Eisenhower luncheon. Our 16th Chief of Staff of the Army and what he represents is an important part of what this lunch especially as we talk about trusted professionals. Each year, I think this is a time for the Army to reflect, first to celebrate our dedicated Soldiers, our Families, and Civilians and the great sacrifices they make each and every day to ensure our Nation's security, and it also provides an opportunity to look to the future. That is important as we sustain our capabilities going forward. For 64 years, the AUSA has provided us a venue to showcase the strength and incredible capabilities and accomplishments of our Army. My thanks to General Sullivan for his enduring leadership. You set a great example for all of us in what it means to give back and to continue to serve. It is a lifelong dedication of yours, and I want to thank you very much. Can we please have a round of applause for General Sullivan?
My thanks to our distinguished guests for joining us today, Secretary John McHugh, thank you for your enduring commitment to our Soldiers, Civilians, and Families and your commitment to doing what is right for our Army. Under Secretary Brad Carson, thank you for being here sir. General Carl Vuono, the 31st Chief of Staff of the Army, General Dennis Reimer, the 33rd Chief of Staff , Secretary Heidi Shyu, Acquisition, Logistics, Technology, and Secretary Katherine Hammack, Installation, Energy, Environment. Sergeant Major Raymond Chandler, who has served so admirably over his career and who is slowly coming to the end of his term as Sergeant Major. Sergeant Major, thank you for your incredible dedication and what you have done to move our Army forward. I would also like to recognize Sergeant Major of the Army Robert Hall, the11th Sergeant Major of the Army and Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley, the12th Sergeant Major of the Army, thank you for being here.
I want to thank the many Soldiers, Veterans, Department of the Army Civilians, and family members joining us. As well as all of the people who do so much for our Army Family - our supporters on Capitol Hill; our allies and multinational partners; and each of our partners in corporate America who help us ensure that we maintain the edge that we need to accomplish our missions.
Last year, I outlined five priorities to accomplish our strategic imperative to prevent, shape, and win in the complex environment. Over the past year, our Soldiers and leaders have been leading the Army through dynamic times of change, fiscal uncertainty, and in a time where the velocity of instability is ever increasing around the world. Our All-Volunteer Army remains on point, meeting our diverse commitments around the world. Today we have more than 225,000 Soldiers directly supporting or training to support Combatant Commanders in over 150 locations worldwide, and nearly 60,000 Soldiers deployed to meet current contingency requirements.
Throughout every Area of Operation, the Army remains the foundation for each of our geographic Combatant Commands, whether meeting rotational and operational contingency requirements, strengthening partner capacity, providing humanitarian assistance, or participating in multi-lateral exercises to increase ever growing importance of interoperability.
Today, our Total Army (Active, Guard, and Reserve) is significantly and simultaneously committed in six continents, in places like Korea, the Philippines, and Japan; in Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and Kuwait; in Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania; and in Central and South America. We are committed in Africa, in places such as Djibouti, Mali, Nigeria, and in Guinea; and now we are deploying forces in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Senegal to combat the Ebola crisis. We are recommitting forces in Iraq to counter the ISIL threat and the Army remains engaged in Afghanistan.
Despite all the budgetary challenges we face and the continued drawdown, one thing that remains constant is our Soldiers and leaders' steadfast commitment to not only meet our mission requirements, but frankly, they not only meet them, but they exceed all expectations no matter what we ask them to do. Our Army remains the absolute foundation of the Joint force, and our allies and partners not only look for us to lead, they expect us to lead.
With the Bipartisan Budget Agreement increasing our funding for FY14, we were able to increase readiness by refocusing on home station training and increasing multi-echelon, multi-component training at our combat training centers. This enabled us to conduct realistic training that has increased the readiness for a portion of the force.
Our Combined Training Centers are incorporating decisive action training environments featuring hybrid threats reflective of the complexities that our Nation faces -- including guerrilla, insurgent, criminal, and near-peer conventional forces woven into one dynamic environment. We are incorporating multiple components into rotations to include Special Forces, interagency, multinational, and inter-service, training our Total Force to operate in today's multi-domain environment. At the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, we have dynamically invested in and adapted our training model to increase multi-echelon Joint and Multinational exercises with our allies and partners, especially important at this time for NATO. JMRC cadre and leadership are directly involved in enhancing NATO's overall readiness and combat effectiveness through tailored and expanded training across the full spectrum of military operations.
At home, Forces Command has begun to implement a comprehensive Total Force training strategy. We are pairing Brigade Combat Teams in the Active component with those in the National Guard--creating partnerships, increasing training opportunities, enhancing leader development, and reinforcing the importance of the Total Force.
From collective level training down to individual training at the lowest levels, we are slowly rebuilding readiness. We have made the most of every dollar we have been given. Frankly for us to achieve the sustainable readiness necessary to meet ever-increasing requirements, we must have consistent readiness funding, every single year. Unfortunately that simply has not been the case.
Operationally, we have continued to develop and mature the Regionally Aligned Force concept. This concept has taken hold, providing our Combatant Commands and Army Service Component Commands enhanced flexibility to support their shaping strategies. Additionally, we are expanding our reach through the integration of equipment activity sets across Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific, increasing our flexibility and responsiveness.
In Africa, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, has conducted over 120 operations in twenty-eight countries responding to crises, contingencies, and countering extremist organizations throughout the continent. They are achieving the strategic objectives of strengthening allied partnerships and of ensuring international order.
In Eastern Europe, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division is working diligently in support of our allies. The "Ironhorse" Brigade assumed their mission as the European Rotational Force and NATO Response Force just a few days ago.
Their deployment in support of Atlantic Resolve in the Baltics and Poland, marking the first use of the European Activity Set, while demonstrating the importance of our regional alignment and multinational interoperability. Most importantly they are reassuring our allies. As we are standing here today we are assessing our contributions to the newly announced NATO Rapid Response Force that the United States will clearly participate in the future.
In the Pacific, we are executing Pacific Pathways deploying 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division to participate in bilateral, tactical military training focused on peace support operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan. Our men and women are enhancing ongoing military-to-military relationships and continuing to assure our allies around the globe of our unwavering commitment. This is just the beginning of the U.S. Army Pacific comprehensive concept of support as we support the rebalance to the Pacific.
We are also investing in new and growing domains such as Cyber. Home and abroad and within the Joint community, our Army continues to lead within the Cyber realm, focusing on developing critical capabilities to defend our networks and deny the enemy freedom of movement in Cyberspace. Our Army Cyber Command is rapidly developing standing operational and tactical solutions within the Cyber domain. We have established the Army Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber and the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, GA. We have created a Cyber network defender MOS and have officially established a Cyber Officer Corps. We lead the Joint force in creating, training, and establishing Cyber National Mission Teams that are capable of defending National, Department of Defense, Combatant Commander, and Service infrastructure and networks.
We have founded the premier Cyber Warfare Institution at West Point to coordinate cyber solutions in conjunction with industry and other higher educational institutions. Network dominance is an integral part of our national security, and the Army is proactively providing increased capability to the Joint force.
I have just outlined a few of the things that the Army is doing today. For those who think we don't need an Army, look around the world and see what we do every single day. As you have heard me say before, the Army's competitive advantage, today and into the future, will remain and be defined by an adaptive, tactical, and operational organizational structure led by the men and women, both officers and NCOs, who lead them. Therefore, our number one priority is, and will continue to be, leader development. Leader development and optimized Soldier performance are directly linked to the Army's ability to operate in the future. We must develop multidimensional, adaptive, and innovative leaders who thrive in decentralized, dynamic, and interconnected environments.
We are focusing on the foundational training with our entry-level Soldiers fostering individual resiliency, battlefield skills, grounding them in our Army values, and providing them the credentials to succeed in the Army and prepare them for a life afterwards. We are expanding broadening opportunities for our NCOs and officers offering Strategic Broadening Seminars, Congressional fellowships, and Training with Industry, to name a few.
We are changing the way we train our future NCOs through NCO 2020. We are doing this through a deliberate, data-driven, and analytical process that constantly evaluates and adjusts our NCO development model to ensure that they have the right tools to lead and mentor their Soldiers in today and tomorrow's dynamic world. Also we are revamping our entire Soldier education framework by launching Army University. This will allow us to maximize resources through educational partnerships, which will benefit our Soldiers by better integrating and synchronizing all of our educational institutions.
Our investment in leader development is critical as we look at the future operating environment. This new environment that we think that we will have to operate in is one that consists of diverse enemies who will employ traditional, unconventional, and hybrid strategies to threaten U.S. security and our vital interests. Threats may emanate from nation states or non-state actors such as transnational terrorists, insurgents, and criminal organizations. Enemies will continue to apply advanced as well as simple and dual-use technologies while attempting to avoid U.S. strengths. Additionally, to accomplish political objectives, enemy organizations will expand operations to the U.S. homeland. Enemies and adversaries will operate beyond physical battlegrounds, and enemies will subvert efforts through infiltration of U.S. and partner forces while using propaganda and disinformation to effect public perception.
We know that certain characteristics of the future operational environment will have a significant impact on land force operations. As I mentioned earlier and foremost, we are witnessing an increased velocity and momentum of human interaction and events. The speed at which information diffuses globally through multiple means increases the velocity, momentum, and degree of interaction among people. We are also seeing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the spread of advanced Cyberspace and counter-space capabilities; and changing densities and demographics in complex terrains, with the world's population in urban areas projected to rise to sixty percent by 2030.
Led by TRADOC, we have published the new U.S. Army operating concept, titled "Win in a Complex World." It describes how future Army forces, as part of Joint Interorganizational, and Multinational efforts, will operate to accomplish campaign objectives and protect U.S. national interests in this new complex environment. It describes the Army's contribution to globally integrated operations, which is the central idea of the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations. It recognizes the need for Army forces to provide foundational capabilities required by the Joint Force and to project power across land and from land into the air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains.
The Army Operating Concept is grounded in a vision of future armed conflict that considers national defense strategy, missions; emerging operational environments; advances in technology, and anticipated enemy, threat, and adversary capabilities.
Regardless of the mission, we must never forget who we are. The Army is defined by its Soldiers and the organizations they serve, from Platoon to Corps level. The Army Operating Concept provides the intellectual foundation and framework for learning and for applying what we learn about future force development to include Soldier development, organizational design, and technological applications. We recognize that to deter enemies, reassure allies, and influence neutrals, the Army must conduct sophisticated expeditionary maneuver as part of our Joint Force. Today as I stand here with seven of our ten Army Division headquarters currently deployed around the globe providing critical command and control, synchronizing with our allies, and enabling senior-level strategic engagement in support of Combatant Commands, it sounds like we are the setting the foundation now for the Operating Concept that will guide us in the years to come.
However, as you have heard me say before, today we still face some significant short-term challenges. I have repeatedly testified that the continued accumulation of budget reductions as a result of sequestration requires us to make difficult choices. As we continue to lose end strength, our flexibility deteriorates as does our ability to react to strategic surprise. We are witnessing first-hand mistaken assumptions about the number, duration, location, and size of future conflicts, and the need to conduct post-stability operations. These miscalculations translate directly into increased military risk.
Frankly as I stand here, military risk is accumulating exponentially. We are reducing the size of our ground forces. We are not fully resourcing required readiness, and we are slashing our modernization and procurement programs. In my opinion, this is the time that we should be increasing those investments. This is a time when we should be reinvesting in order to rebuild and sustain a force capable of conducting the full range of operations on land, to include prompt and sustained land combat.
It is imperative that we maintain a capability and capacity to deter in multiple regions simultaneously, in all phases of military operations--from conducting security and humanitarian assistance to developing global, multinational networks. This will enable us to best prevent conflicts, shape the security environment, and win. We must ensure that the Army stays manned, postured, and equipped in order to contribute to the Joint Force and protect our Nation's interests in the years to come.
As the world changes, as warfare changes, as the Army evolves, one thing remains constant. The men and women who willingly raise their right hand to defend the Constitution of the United States. No matter where I go, I witness incredible competence, high morale, and steadfast commitment to each other, the mission, the Army, and the Nation.
Just last week, I had the opportunity to witness the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, where the best of the best competed with one another. They were judged not only on their tactical competence, but on their demonstration of character and commitment. Their determination, dedication, and professionalism was simply inspiring. Please join me in congratulating our winners SFC Matthew Carpenter, 10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson; and SPC Thomas Boyd, 500th MI Brigade, Schofield Barracks, for winning that competition!
This past July, I hosted a Solarium at Fort Leavenworth, where I asked one hundred Captains from around the Army to come and talk to me about what was on their mind and issues facing the Army. They brought up several important issues, but there was one specific issue that really resonated with me. These are young men and women that have been in the Army somewhere between 5 and 7 years and the one thing that they believed they wanted to pass on to me that they believe that who they are and what they are we should define. They believe and said we believe we are the Nation's Trusted Professionals. Hence the theme for this convention. Our young men and women believe in that concept that we must be our nations trusted professionals. That is incredible powerful when we have young leaders that understand the importance of their role and what they mean to our future organization. Every day, our Soldiers exhibit the characteristics of Trusted Professionals.
Captain Nicholas Salimbene of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, who deployed his company to Lithuania and stood side by side with their President, building relationships with our NATO Allies, is a Trusted Professional.
1LT Elyse Ping-Medvigy is one of our first female Fire Support officers. The commander of 1-12 Infantry battalion, which is deployed to Afghanistan, called her the best FSO in the Battalion. She is a Trusted Professional.
Right now at FOB Fenty with 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade in Nangahar Province Afghanistan, PFC Jake Ness, is noted by his Battalion Commander as being so dedicated in selecting the best HLZs that he tirelessly examines every piece of terrain, the slope, the diameter of the rotors, and the height of the surrounding walls and considers the ground force Commander's scheme of maneuver, the threat to the aircraft, and how best to mitigate based on approach angle, ingress and egress routes. By the way he is not even old enough to get a drink in our country. He is trusted with providing key assessments that effect strategic missions and Soldiers' lives. PFC Ness is a Trusted Professional.
LTC John Mountford, commander of 1-7 FA, led his unit in preparing our Guinean counterparts for a UN security and peacekeeping deployment, their first in more than a decade. He is the face of America's commitment to build capable partners. He is a Trusted Professional.
After only 17 days in Monrovia, Liberia, Sergeant Major Douglas Hall led a team of engineers to facilitate onward movement and provide the living quarters and mission command capabilities. Serving as the USARAF and Joint Force Command - UNITED ASSISTANCE Senior Engineer Non-Commissioned Officer, he was sent ahead of deploying forces where time is of the essence to start the construction of the 101st DIV HQ, LSA and Level II medical facility in the fight against Ebola. Sergeant Major Hall is a Trusted Professional.
Our Trusted Professionals are also Soldiers for Life, best represented by our Medal of Honor recipients. They have displayed heroism and valor above the call of duty and are duly enshrined in the Hall of Heroes. This year, we had three inductees, SSG Ryan Pitts, and SGT Kyle White joined this Band of Brothers who displayed extraordinary heroism in Afghanistan. Also joining that group was Command Sergeant Major (retired) Bennie Adkins who served so valiantly in Vietnam. CSM Adkins please stand and be recognized, sir. He has already asked me twice if I could waive the age requirements, he wants to re-join.
Whether it be along the DMZ in Korea, the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq, the plains of Eastern Europe, and the savannas of Central and West Africa, there stand our Nation's Trusted Professionals.
When the President orders 4,000 Service Members to West Africa to fight Ebola, more than 3500 of them are U.S. Army Soldiers. When the U.S. is looked upon to help Iraqis defeat ISIL, we send U.S. Army Special Operations and Conventional Forces to solve the problem. When our Eastern European friends are threatened, we send Army forces to reassure them. As we drawdown in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army remains on point to finish the mission. Wherever and whenever duty calls, our Nation depends on the Trusted Professionals of the U.S. Army.
Because of them I stand here today proud to wear this uniform alongside the great men and women who so selflessly serve every single day. I challenge all of you to carry forward the Army message--to talk about the tremendous efforts of our men and women, about how they are leading change day by day, who is selfishly willing to do whatever it takes to sustain our Nation's security, who are willing to deploy anywhere in the world at any time to solve whatever crisis there might be. They are dedicated to ensure that our world is a safer place for our children and our children's children.
The strength of our Nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, the strength of our Soldiers is our Families, and that is what makes us Army Strong!