By Paul Boyce, FORSCOM Public AffairsJanuary 23, 2017
FORT BRAGG, N.C. ̶ U.S. Army Forces Command's vital mission, the "Freedom Six" priorities and supporting initiatives drives daily what the command accomplishes and, given limited time and resources, sets the priorities and tempo for the nationwide command, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command told senior leaders earlier this month.
"The tempo for our forces right now is off the chart, Gen. Robert B. Abrams said Jan. 12 during a presentation to more than 190 senior military leaders and civilian employees at the Fort Bragg, N.C., Marshall Hall Headquarters.
Abrams outlined the command's focus for 2017 as well as ongoing efforts improving the readiness of Soldiers, their equipment and Army training. The presentation emphasized the command's mission in a complex global-security environment: "to train and prepare a combat ready, globally responsive Total Force to build and sustain readiness to meet Combatant Command requirements."
The general also outlined the command's six priorities, known as the "Freedom Six:"
(1) "Maximize Unit Readiness:" Focus leadership, training, and resources on improving unit combat readiness to meet Combatant Command demand and contingency requirements.
(2) "Operationalize Army Total Force Policy:" Take actions to advance and instill one standard of manning, equipping, and training to build decisive action readiness across the Total Force.
(3) "Master the Fundamentals:" At all echelons, codify and enforce standards and warfighting doctrine to ensure every soldier, leader and unit is resourced and ready to win in combat.
(4) "Strengthen Leader Development:" Develop agile, adaptive leaders of character through Army development programs and tough/realistic training.
(5) "Care for Soldiers, Civilians and Families:" Enhance individual performance and resilience foundational to building unit readiness by improving unit, community and institutional focus upon the health of the force and families.
(6) "Inform the Future Force:" Leverage our role as the Secretary of the Army's conventional Service Force Provider and largest operating force command to shape development of the future force.
Given the presentation's timing soon after the New Year, Gen. Abrams emphasized his time management on each of these six priorities and discussed today's fast-paced operational tempo in 2017 for U.S. Army forces.
"Commanders say they are busier today than in 2006 or 2008," Gen. Abrams said, contrasting current missions with Army operations 20 years ago. "The big difference between the 1990s and today … is that it was very predictable," he said, discussing the similar need for training, sustaining and maintaining units.
"Today, we're asking our units in Sustainable Readiness to do what we were doing in the 1990s, but now every 14 months (on average) you're going somewhere new for nine months on an operational deployment. It's this constant drive of operational deployments."
The general also reminded the senior leaders of today's vital work by Forces Command Army units and staff members: providing the world's best led, trained and ready Soldiers, supported by caring Families, to accomplish the mission as a Total Force in support of the Nation.
"There are a lot of really great things going on" across U.S. Army Forces Command, Gen. Abrams said. "Our Soldiers, our formations … everything that we do in this Headquarters translates into actions that are done at unit levels to provide Combatant Commanders that capability that they so desperately want. Each and every person in this Headquarters makes a difference and that's the attitude that they've got to have each and every day.
"You've got to make a difference for all those Soldiers who are out there," Gen. Abrams reminded the group. "There's more than 780,000 Soldiers across all three components -- active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve -- who are counting on us to do our job and get it done right. I've got complete confidence that everybody is capable of doing that!"