June 5, 2015 -- Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno honored the graduating Army War College Class of 2015 with formal remarks at a cool and colorful ceremony today on the historic parade ground of 258- year old Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

Odierno shared the graduates' sense of celebration with a reference to his own Army War College graduation some 20 years ago, remembering a special year for him and for his family, and "an important opportunity to learn with partners and peers from other services, agencies, and nations."
The opportunity for partnership is even greater now, with a graduating class of 387 men and women of the Joint Force (217 Army, 32 Air Force, 17 Marine Corps, 12 Navy and one Coast Guard officer) who study alongside 79 international officers from 73 countries, and 29 senior federal civilians who will lead interagency efforts in national security.

He thanked the Army War College staff and faculty for commitment to rigorous learning, sharing an alumni-insider joke about this class being more intellectual than athletic: "I'm proud of you," he said. "As I listened to the [class of 2015 student writing awards] as they announced the awardees coming across the stage, I think what was most impressive to me were the topics they discussed -- many so current and so important to us as Americans … and also for the international community."

Odierno connected the graduates' accomplishments to the challenges awaiting them and emphasized how important they will be as operational and strategic leaders. "Strategic leadership requires an understanding of the intricacies of the environment … the ability to craft and communicate a vision … selfless commitment to your mission…. It requires that you demonstrate competence, commitment and character in every action you take," he said. "Most importantly, it requires that you take on the development and mentorship of the next generation of young leaders who will follow you."

"I am asking you to provide the leadership needed in critical positions across the joint, inter-organizational and multinational environment," said the Army's Chief of Staff. "This is a time -- now, more than ever -- when our leaders will be required to step forward and solve seemingly insoluble problems, and a time when our leaders need to invest and lead our most precious resources: our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

"You are those leaders, and I know that you're ready for the challenge."

As he urged the graduating leaders to consider where we are in history, how we are strategizing for today's complexity and challenge, and what's envisioned for the future, he gave his first public comments about the newly-published Army Vision 2015-2025: Strategic Advantage in a Complex World.

He linked the Army Vision to the character of warfare today. "We are experiencing challenges across every continent … caused by competition for resources, shifting alliances, empowered networks, unprecedented information access, and quickening devolutions of power," said Odierno. "Anarchy, extremism and terrorism threaten stability across regions around the world. Radicalism is as predominant as it is corrosive."

The vision for the next decade positions the Army as a partner in the Joint Force and the international arena. Education, training, and investment will be the tools to prepare for complex and chaotic situations, to include urban environments. Odierno stressed that in order to win in a complex world, the force must be characterized by improved lethality, protection and situational awareness; increased deployability, lethality, mobility, and survivability of maneuver formations; investment in networks and agile and expeditionary tactical command posts; and tailorable and scalable forces for joint combined arms maneuver.

"So, it is imperative … in the face of security threats abroad and troop reductions and fiscal uncertainties here at home, that we and our partners work collaboratively in pursuit of lasting solutions," he said.

"Looking to the future, we must develop leaders who are mentally and physically tough, innovative and adaptive, able to inspire others to accomplish the unthinkable, and most importantly be leaders of great character," he said, "And I am looking to you."

"I commend each of you for your longstanding service to your country and your willingness to take the higher levels of responsibility."