2020 Eisenhower Presentation "The Time Is Now"

By OCSA StaffOctober 20, 2020

Good afternoon. Every day is a great day to be in the United States Army because we serve with the world’s greatest Soldiers.

I am excited to share with you how the Army is changing to meet our future challenges. And these changes cannot happen through incremental improvements.

We must transform the Army and the time is now. The Time is now to transform how we take care of our People and how we compete for and manage their talents.

The Time is now to transform our doctrine, our organizations, our training, and our equipment, and the Time is now to transform how we compete around the world in order to protect the freedoms and the global order we enjoy today.

We must transform quickly so we have continued overmatch against those who wish us harm and those who threaten our National Security.

When it comes to the Army, it’s about People First and Winning Matters. The Army is People and that is why it’s always People First. People are our greatest strength and most important weapon system. And when I talk about people, I mean all of our Soldiers, from the National Guard, Reserves, and Active Duty, our Civilians, our Families and our Soldiers for Life.

People First is a philosophy. I believe when we take care of our people and treat each other with dignity and respect we will have a much stronger and more committed Army.

It is our people who will deliver on our readiness and modernization priorities.

In our Army, Winning Matters is an Attitude. When the Nation calls on the Army, we don’t go to participate, we don’t go to try hard, we go to WIN. There is no second place or honorable mention in combat. In order to win, we must transform the Army now.

As the Secretary mentioned yesterday, we are updating our Army Priorities. People First is not only our philosophy, it’s also now our # 1 Priority. When we take care of our people, when we get them in the right jobs at the right time, that is how we win.

Readiness remains critical to the Army’s ability to compete, fight and win. We must be ready, ready tonight and ready in the future. No Soldier or unit will ever be sent into combat that is not highly trained, disciplined, fit and ready. We are currently at our highest state of readiness because of the hard work of our People and the timely, adequate, predictable and sustained funding from Congress.

And Modernization is future readiness. While we were investing in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations over the last 19 years, our competitors have been aggressively investing in modernizing their forces with new technology and new weapon systems. In order to maintain overmatch, we must modernize now.

It’s not about fighting the last fight better, it’s about winning the next fight. And in order to do that, we must transform.

Over the last year, our Army has faced significant challenges around the world and at home. We have operated in an environment of Great Power Competition with China and Russia, dealt with conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria…all the while battling the COVID pandemic and responding to wildfires, hurricanes and civil unrest at home.

In early January, our Soldiers demonstrated their high state of readiness with a no- notice deployment of the 1st Brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division to Iraq protecting our forces and Embassy.

Today, we continue our missions overseas, with about 180,000 Soldiers in over 140 countries, in defense of our Nation. I am incredibly proud of our Army. The performance of our National Guard, our Reserves, and our Active Duty forces this year, has been phenomenal. I am humbled to serve with you all, and I am also excited about our transformation ahead.

We are doing a lot to move to a 21st Century Talent Management System. We are in a war for talent.

We need the best and brightest men and women to come into the United States Army, who represent the diversity of the nation.

We published the Army People Strategy last year, which focuses on how we take care of our people and manage their unique talents.

Early this year we conducted our first Battalion Commander Assessment Program, and just received the results of our first Colonels Commander Assessment Program. We're looking at a First Sergeant's

Assessment program inside our divisions and piloting the CSM Program.

All of these assessments are critical for us to select the right leaders for the most consequential positions in our Army.

We’ve also implemented changes to our assignments and promotions processes. We are no longer treating the population as interchangeable parts, with only grade and MOS as qualifying factors.

We have enabled selection based on knowledge, skills, behaviors, and even preferences.

This year we launched project inclusion, our effort to ensure that all our people feel like valued members of the team.

As the Nation faced the pain of systemic social injustice, we too confronted our own issues. We looked inside our organization, and we listened to stories from our diverse professionals that brought to light where we too, can improve to be a more inclusive Army.

Project Inclusion focuses on the policies, procedures and resources that will enable us to grow into a more diverse and inclusive team.

We are looking at ways to improve how we recruit, retain, develop and employ the diverse talents of our People. This ensures the Army is an organization that is truly inclusive where everyone has a path to success.

This is how the Army will compete for talent.

Putting People First, ensures we have cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined and fit, who will win against any adversary.

And putting People First, will also lead the modernization and transformation of the United States Army.

I would suggest, that about every 40 years, the Army transforms to meet the National Security threats of that time. We did it in 1940’s for World War II; we did it in 1980’s for the Cold War; we are doing it now in 2020 for the Great Power Competition environment that we live in.

When I came into the Army in the 1980’s, Air-Land Battle was our warfighting doctrine, we established our Combat Training Centers, we developed the “big five” weapon systems, we learned to lead an all-volunteer force.

And over the last 40 years, we have incrementally improved these systems to maintain the overmatch we needed to protect our National Security.

Now, we find ourselves in a period of Great Power Competition.

Great Power Competition does not have to mean Great Power Conflict. And the way to ensure that this does not happen, is by having a strong Army. “Peace through Strength” is the right approach as President Ronald Reagan so eloquently said at my West Point Graduation in 1981.

We have a unique opportunity right now to set the Army on a course to ensure that we can compete and deter great power competitors for years to come.

We are moving away from industrial age to information age processes, and moving at the speed of relevance, not the speed of perfection. Our competitors have aggressively invested in new technologies, and are challenging our overmatch. The pace of technological change is accelerating, and our nation’s competitors are more determined than ever to exert their will and influence.

That’s why, the time is now for transformational change to build the Army that we need for the future.

Transformation is not just about new equipment. It starts with the way we are going to fight.

We recognize that in the future, we will be contested in all five domains, on land, in the air, on the sea, in space and in cyber. In order to compete and dominate in all domains, we are implementing the Multi-Domain Operations Concept. This concept defines how we will fight in the future where we know we will be contested in every domain. It includes three tenets: Calibrated Force Posture, New Organizations, and Convergence.

Calibrated Force Posture is how we optimize the employment of our forces through forward positioning, rotational forces and Dynamic Force Employment. Key to this tenet is to set the theater to ensure we have the access, basing and infrastructure to rapidly deploy forces when required.

New Organizations like Multi-Domain Task Forces provide long range precision effects and long range precision fires to the Combatant Commanders. They allow us to operate below the level of armed conflict in the competition phase, enable deterrence and if required, can penetrate anti-access area-denial capabilities in time of conflict.

Convergence is the act of coming together, whether it’s people, organizations, technologies, concepts…or all of the above. “Project Convergence” is the name the Army has given to our campaign of learning, a structured series of demonstrations and experiments, to converge within and across five core components.

First, we are converging PEOPLE. Through the Army People Strategy, we are putting the right person in the right place at the right time. We are putting the right people and specialties together in our Multi-Domain Task Forces. Three years ago, we brought operators together with acquisitions professionals in our eight Cross-Functional Teams. Today, we are bringing those teams together to test interoperability at the earliest stages of development.

Which brings me to our second core component. We are converging WEAPONS SYSTEMS, ensuring that our six modernization priorities and signature modernization efforts are integrated and adaptable to future upgrades.

Third, we are converging COMMAND AND CONTROL. We are taking our existing C2 systems – the Integrated Tactical Network, the Command Post Computing Environment, and the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, and ensuring they can plug into a Joint architecture.

Fourth, we are converging INFORMATION. The Army is learning to harness artificial intelligence, machine learning, low-earth orbit satellites, and the cloud to link all of our thousands of sensors, the best shooters, and the right C2 nodes.

Fifth, we are converging TERRAIN. And this ties back to the need for Calibrated Force Posture and putting the right people with the right systems in the right places throughout the world.

Finally, we are converging these five core components with each other. That is “Project Convergence.” And that is how the Army will contribute to Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control. We will be able to see, understand, decide, and act first, and we will win.

As I mentioned earlier, Transformation also includes establishing new organizations, and reorganizing critical capabilities. In addition to new organizations like Multi- Domain Task Forces, we have formed 6 Security Force Assistance Brigades – 5 in the Active Component and 1 in the National Guard. The SFABs are established to train, advise and assist our military partners around the world and are aligned to Combatant Commands. These organizations allow us to compete and strengthen relationships and interoperability with our Allies and Partners.

We are also developing organizations to operate in the information space to enable us to counter the weaponization of information by our competitors.

We also continue to transform how we train the future force. We are building the synthetic training environment like “One World Terrain” and cyber ranges to train our force to defeat emerging threats in these environments. We are developing virtual reality and augmented reality training through systems like the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, IVAS. These environments enable training to meet the

Multi-Domain Operations concept, and train across all five domains using innovative technologies. Our six Modernization Priorities haven’t changed, and we are aggressively committed to developing and fielding these systems.  The time is now to continue our momentum.

Part of this transformation is how we develop the systems themselves. Take IVAS as an example. In less than two years, we were able to take a great idea from concept to prototype. We combined the efforts of our traditional night-vision goggle partners with non-traditional partners, like computer experts and gamers, to design a transformational platform for our warfighters. What started off as a system to improve our night vision turned into a totally new capability. It will change how Soldiers plan, rehearse and execute operations.

In planning, it will provide technology like room mapping – where Soldiers will map the terrain around them, and then use those graphics to build tactical plans.

In rehearsal, IVAS technologies will provide a virtual reality training environment that replicates the operational environment. Soldiers will conduct rehearsals, where through their IVAS, they will see, move and operate as if they were on the objective.

In execution, the Soldiers will continue to wear IVAS.  Now operating in familiar terrain, they can be augmented with tools like real time video feeds from drones. IVAS will also link to the scope of the Soldiers’ weapon, and allow them to shoot around corners or over obstacles, while staying behind cover.

And what’s really exciting, is who knows what else our Soldiers can do with this platform in the future.

We’re also applying transformational approaches across the other six modernization priorities. For example:

For long-range precision fires, we have had very successful tests with the Hypersonic and Precision Strike Missiles. These will give us the ability to penetrate anti-access and area denial systems. They provide us the capability to strike dynamic targets, to include sinking ships.

We’ve recently conducted the down select for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. Future Vertical Lift will give us the ability to conduct long range aviation operations, increase our loiter times, and extend our battlespace range and depth. And we also just conducted a successful test with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.

We are not going to do this alone. Our Allies and Partners are critical in achieving Combined, Joint, All Domain Operations and maintaining strength across many regions of the world. Our vision is to engage with our Allies and Partners, and train closely with them to build on our capabilities and interoperability.

So to all our Allies and Partners watching today, you are incredibly important to us. Our vision of the future includes close, productive ties with all of you, and we want to continue growing stronger together.

Let me close by saying, these are challenging times, but the great thing about challenging times is there is opportunity to transform.

The Time is now to transform how we take care of our People. The Time is now to transform our doctrine, our organizations, our training, and our equipment, And the Time is now to transform how we compete around the world.

Thank you all for what you do to protect this great nation of ours.

It’s about People First, Winning Matters, and we remain Army Strong