FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command spoke Jan. 22 at the Association of the U.S. Army's Braxton Bragg Chapter Community Partner lunch on Fort Bragg.
During the event, FORSCOM Commanding General Gen. Michael X. Garrett, thanked community partners, provided updates on current Army priorities and shared how FORSCOM is ensuring a ready and capable force.
"The job that I have requires me to ensure that our Army is not just lethal on paper; that our Army is not just the best in the world because we say it is the best in the world, but that our Army is really all of those things that we need it to be," Garrett said.
The rapid deployment of the 82nd Airborne Division, beginning on New Year's Eve, represents the most recent example of the ready forces FORSCOM provides globally, he said.
Beginning on Dec. 31, 2019, Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division began the largest short-notice deployment of an Army brigade combat team in recent history. The deployment, which was in response to events in the Middle East, flew military personnel and Army equipment to the Central Command region in less than 96 hours.
"This is the reason Fort Bragg exists," Garrett said, "if we can't do it here, we can't do it anywhere."
In preparation for events like a rapid deployment, Garrett said that over the last couple of years the Army has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDREs) -- "ensuring that we have exercised to the best of our ability getting off of our bases, getting to our strategic ports of embarkation.
"This didn't happen by accident," Garrett said. "This happened because we have great systems, great processes, it happens because of repetition and practice."
In addition to Army readiness, Garrett also spoke about the importance of the people who make up the Army.
"We win in the Army through our people and our people will drive our success in our readiness, modernization and reform priorities," he said.
The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James McConville, has stated that his number one priority is people and that the Army cannot take for granted our Soldiers, our families our civilians and our Soldiers For Life -- veterans," the FORSCOM general said.
Garrett shared with the group that Army senior leaders are working on a number of initiatives aimed at improving family housing, Army barracks, military health care, child care, and spouse employment procedures.
"Providing effective, efficient quality of life programs will increase not only health and well-being but these programs reduce stress, absenteeism, disengagement, reduce retraining expenses … really drive down the overall cost of our labor and increase our Army readiness," he said.
In addition to quality of life programs, Garrett spoke about the Army People Strategy -- the Army's plan to more deliberately manage the talents of Soldiers and civilians.
"Think about this," Garrett said, "for the last 50 years, we have been managing our officers and our Soldiers by two things: rank and MOS. That's it."
With the Army People strategy, the Army will be able to manage talents by matching unit requirements to Soldier skills, knowledge and preferences.
Garrett also touched on the importance of modernization, saying that modernization is not a choice.
"If we don't modernize our Army today, we risk irrelevance in the very near future. Modernizing our Army is not something that is nice to do -- it is something that we absolutely have to do."
Garrett closed by saying that while everything he discussed contributes to making the U.S. Army the best Army in the world, there is another key component.
"I think what makes our Army not just the best Army on the planet today, but the best Army for the last 50-60 years is our empowered and incredibly capable non-commissioned officer corps," he said.
"When I talk to people outside of our Army, other land forces commanders, when they talk to me, what they really envy and what they really covet is not our generals or equipment, it is our non-commissioned officers.
"Our advantage is that on any given battlefield on any given day there is going to be a sergeant that picks up those colors, it is going to be a sergeant who ensures that we win -- that's the difference in our Army."