By Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr., PQC contractor with the U.S. Army Combined Arms CenterApril 10, 2017
Acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Speer spoke to students of the U.S. Army Command General and Staff College during a visit to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Thursday, April 6.
The visit was a part of a larger trip, which included participating in the Centennial Commemoration of the National World War I Memorial and a new Soldier swearing-in ceremony at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Kansas City, Kan.
While addressing the students of CGSC at the Lewis and Clark Center, Speer discussed the importance of readiness -- the Army's number one priority.
"One of the challenges we face is how do we sustain readiness," Speer said. "It's not just about training alone. It's the people around you. People have to be ready as well as the Army structure."
Speer discussed the challenges of readiness in the current political and global environment military leaders face in today's complex world.
"General (Mark) Milley spoke to Congress about this very subject," Speer said. "He told them readiness is about predictability and time. Predictability in funding; predictability in training; predictability in family; and predictability in force structure to deliver modernization capability."
Additionally, Speer discussed the change in force reduction recently due to rising amount of volatile areas popping up around the world.
"We were on a glide path to go down to 450,000 Soldiers by the end of this fiscal year 2018," Speer said "We convinced then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that we were just too busy in the world with growing concern in the Balkans and North Korea. So we were able to convince him not to drop down to 450,000 and bring the force to 476,000."
Before the presentation, Speer meet with selected CGSC students and faculty over lunch. He then met with Soldier's Medal awardee Sgt. Jeremy Dahlen, and the Secretary of the Army awardees Deanne Kilian and Dr. Adela Ganacias, all from Munson Army Health Center. The three recipients were recognition for their vital roles in responding to a serious incident at MAHC September 7.
The Fort Leavenworth visit concluded with a stop the National Simulation Center. Brig. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Center -- Training, greeted Speer and viewed the latest Army virtual training and simulators. These included Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer, Synthetic Training Environment and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Training Simulations just to name a few.
"Gaming and virtual and augmented reality are how the Solders of today and tomorrow consume information," Gervais said. "It is incumbent on us to make sure we are providing realistic training at the point of need whenever possible. Additionally, these innovative training aides provide low cost, scalable, multi-echelon training optimized for human performance."