CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- A growing concern over the troop drawdown, realignments across the total Army force, and questions of what that means to the average Soldier, were put to ease by Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey during his visit with deployed Soldiers in Kosovo, May 17-20.

"Responsible drawdown is key. We have to make sure we do a couple things here," said Dailey. "We have to build a sustainable force for the future and make sure that force is ready to fight and win."
Dailey said the top priority for a sustainable force is Soldier and unit readiness.

"Great Soldiers have been serving this Army for 241 years," said Dailey. "As we get smaller, like any organization in America, we have to get efficient and we have to focus on retaining those who are fully capable to deploy and complete their wartime mission. Soldiers are for fighting and winning our wars, that's what we do and we have to focus on that for the future."

Dailey said the readiness and efficiency of the force requires leaders and Soldiers alike taking personal responsibility and enforcing the Army standard while getting back to the tasks that made them warfighters.

"A Soldier has the responsibility, just like the Army does, to defend this nation and it's a personal responsibility to make sure they can do their basic Soldier tasks," said Dailey. "That starts with physical fitness, weapons proficiency and understanding the critical tasks necessary for them to perform their job on the battlefield to make the overall team successful."

To be successful, Dailey said leaders can no longer accept the bare minimum and must empower junior leaders and Soldiers.

"We have to create an organization that inspires people to want to maintain the standards and that wants to be disciplined. We all know what the bare minimum is and we shouldn't want to achieve that," said Dailey. "Not everybody is going to be the best and I know that, and not everyone can be the best, but everyone can try their hardest. Every single Soldier in my opinion has a responsibility to give it their all, every single day."

Dailey said these expectations don't solely rest on the shoulders of active duty Soldiers but instead the total force.

"As we get smaller as a force we are going to have to depend more on our Guard and Reserve Soldiers and that's why we are investing in their future in regards to readiness," said Dailey. "It's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication."

To assist with the integration of Army Reserve and National Guard units, Dailey said the Army is looking at everything from increasing the number of annual national training rotations to calling upon them for more deployments in the future.

"We are a total force that relies on the total force to be able to meet the mission requirements. The United States Army has to its commitment to its allies and to the DoD," added Dailey.

Although there has been a lot of uncertainty throughout the formations about what that commitment and the Army's mission requirements will look like in the future, Dailey said the one thing not in question is the Army's commitment to U.S. Army Europe.

"U.S. Army Europe is out in front," added Dailey. "They aren't the U.S. Army Europe we had several years ago; they're a lot smaller but very capable. We have to understand that not only are they very capable but they are in an environment that could change overnight."
Because of the environment, Dailey called on all the leaders to be ready for anything.

"All the Soldiers that are committed to this task force as well as all those in U.S. Army Europe have to prepare and be ready individually; from unit level, to collective training and all the way up to USAREUR."
Although his visit centered on growing concerns, Dailey traveled across Kosovo to multiple remote posts to shake hands, take selfies, hand out coins and conduct physical training with the men and women in uniform.

After spending four days in Kosovo, Dailey said he was pleased with the work the Soldiers were doing to remain ready and cited the ongoing peace support mission in Kosovo as an example of the total force successfully integrating to complete the Army's mission.

"I am extremely proud of the mission that's over here and the Soldiers carrying out this mission," said Dailey. "From our great combined organizations; from our Guard, Reserves and our active force. I couldn't be more proud of the mission they have here, the esprit de corps and the fine job our Soldiers are doing."