WASHINGTON -- The highest-ranking enlisted leader in the U.S. military lauded the enlisted force as the military's "greatest competitive advantage."
Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, kicked off the Defense Department's "Showcasing Lethality Series" May 25, a weekly media briefing in which enlisted members discuss their roles in defending the nation.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis outlined in the National Defense Strategy that the U.S. military has to build a "more capable and lethal force," Troxell explained.
The U.S. military has a warfighting advantage in all domains, he said, adding that the greatest edge comes from the trained, educated and empowered enlisted force.
EMPOWERED, DECISIVE ENLISTED LEADERS
Troxell said he and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, believe the desired attributes in an enlisted leader include the ability to manage risk and the ability to anticipate, analyze, communicate and mitigate risk.
The nature of conflict will not change, he said, but the character of conflict will change and evolve. Training will transform as well to keep up with the challenges, he said.
Enlisted leaders need the tools to be empowered to execute the commander's intent and act decisively in all situations, Troxell said. "That's one investment we'll constantly keep getting after," he added.
The military must continue to enforce the basics in mission sets to maintain proficiencies and avoid errors and accidents, he said. Those basics, he said, are the foundations that have made the U.S. military the greatest military in the world.
PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY STRONG
Troxell applauded the service members for their commitment to the nation. Enlisted members serve all around the globe in missions to protect the homeland, he pointed out. They are, he said, "absolutely our greatest competitive advantage."
The military has proven over the last 17 years that it is adaptable and resilient, he said.
He underscored the importance of troops being physically, mentally and emotionally strong. With the brutal and unforgiving nature of high-end conflict, every service member needs to be prepared to fight and win, he said.
"In the end, I know this for a fact: that every man and woman out there is prepared to do what we need them to do to either assure our allies, deter aggression or fight and win in high-end conflict or against violent extremists," he stated.
ENLISTED MEMBERS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS
When he visited Raqqa, Syria, a few months ago, Troxell said, an Army master sergeant was leading the mission there to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, with a Kurdish female brigadier general in the Syrian Democratic Forces as his counterpart.
The partnership -- a "highly trained, highly educated, highly trusted enlisted leader, together with a female brigadier general from the Middle East" -- created one of the "most lethal fighting teams to eliminate the scourge we know as ISIS," he said. Generals from World War I or World War II likely would not have imagined such a partnership, Troxell said.
That story is just one of the countless examples showing the value beyond measure of the enlisted corps, he said, adding, "I think that story has to continue to be told."