FORT HOOD, Texas (Nov. 24, 2015) --The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is more than a large, capable terrorist organization and the U.S. Army is adjusting its tactics to defeat them, said Army Chief of Staff Mark A. Milley during a visit here Monday.
Milley said the Army began to re-evaluate the "ways and means" of the president's strategy of destroying the terror group weeks ago. In the wake of the recent bombings in Paris and Beirut, Milley acknowledged that Army planners are taking a "hard look" at additional tactical changes.
"There's no question in my mind that Daesh, as we call them, are a serious threat to U.S. national security interests," he said, using the preferred acronym of the group's Arabic name. "The president has said it repeatedly, that the United States is committed to destroying [Daesh]."
Describing it as a "proto-state" capable of planning and conducting terrorist attacks both in the Middle East and throughout Europe, Milley said that the destruction of Daesh is as complex a tactical ground situation for military commanders as he has ever seen.
"It doesn't get much more complex than it does right now in Iraq and Syria," he said during an interview following a day spent with both active-duty and National Guard Soldiers training for upcoming deployments.
Milley's unannounced visit re-enforced his top priority of training and readiness with Soldiers and leaders from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and members of the Massachusetts National Guard conducting exercises on the installation's massive live-fire ranges.
"You need to be prepared to go at a moment's notice," Milley told the Soldiers. "You need to make sure your tactics, your techniques and your procedures are at a very high level of readiness. When called, you will be ready to go."
As one of largest Army installations, Milley said Fort Hood plays a prominent role for today's forces. He mentioned the significant combat power of the 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Cavalry Regiment, along with support from air defense artillery, military police, engineers, signal and mission command units under III Corps.
"A good piece of the operational Army is right here at Fort Hood," he said. "Readiness of the operational Army to be able to do the nation's work overseas in combat zones, in conflict zones, is what Fort Hood is all about."
In addition to operational readiness, Milley said that his responsibility as the Army's senior leader is to also look at how "the Army that will exist between 2025 and 2050." He noted that Fort Hood already serves as a developmental and testing center, in conjunction with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, for the future of the force.
"I need to make sure that Fort Hood has the resources - the schools, the medical care, housing - for all of the aspects of a community … to have a high quality of life to live in," Milley said. "That is the responsibility of myself … to make sure that the Soldiers and their Families are taken care of with [a] first-class quality of life."