2021 Eisenhower Presentation

By Craig CantrellOctober 14, 2021

Good afternoon and welcome! And welcome to everyone livestreaming right now!

America’s Army and its People are Transforming for the Future!

First, a special thanks to General Bob Brown, my West Point classmate, and his team for putting together this fabulous event during a challenging time.

Bob, who would’ve thought 40 years ago that we would both be here today!

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the great loss that our Army and Nation suffered, with the recent passing of our 38th Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, after a brave battle with cancer.

He was an incredible leader and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. I considered him a personal mentor and always cherished his sage council.

Please join me in keeping General O and his family in our thoughts and prayer. (PAUSE)

You know I’m privileged to work with a great Army leadership team, led by Secretary Wormuth and supported by our acting Under Secretary, Mr. Chris Lowman, our Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, General Joe Martin, Director of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General Walt Piatt, and Sergeant Major of the Army Tony Grinston.

I’d also like to recognize the Army’s Senior Warrant Officer Advisor to the Chief of Staff, the “Chief’s Chief,” CW5 Dixon-Carter.

And to all the former Secretaries, Chiefs, and Vices here, as well as all the general officers, sergeants major, and distinguished guests – thank you for joining us today.

I want to acknowledge our Medal of Honor recipient one more time, Master Sergeant Leroy Petry from Afghanistan. You are a true American hero.

Thank you to our Gold Star families for being here today. Your loved ones gave all, and we will never forget their sacrifice or yours.

I am pleased to welcome so many of our allies and partners. Thank you for coming. I am proud to serve alongside you.

Finally, I’d like to recognize General Carter Ham as he begins his next chapter in life.

General Ham served his country with honor and distinction for 37 years in uniform, and then did a tremendous job leading this Association for five years.

His team did a fabulous job putting on last year’s virtual event, but it wasn’t quite the recording this speech in the Pentagon studio.

Something was missing: people. So I am so happy to be back here with you today.

The United States Army exists for one reason, to protect this great Nation – from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. We do this by remaining ready to fight and win the Nation’s wars as a member of the Joint Force.

This has been a uniquely challenging time for the Army. But each challenge and each crisis has only made us stronger.

And throughout it all, we have never wavered on our priorities: People #1, Readiness #2, and #3 Modernization.

For me, people will always be the United States Army’s greatest strength and most important weapon system. Our Soldiers in the active Army, Guard, and Reserve. Their families. Our Army Civilians. And our Soldiers for Life, our retirees and veterans.

The past year has reminded us time and time again why people are our number one priority and why it is so important to get the right people in the right place at the right time.

People like our Army medical professionals, scientists, and logisticians working to get our Nation through this pandemic. It was an American Soldier, my friend General Gus Perna, who answered the call to lead the mass production and distribution of COVID vaccines under Operation Warp Speed.

And it was American Soldiers – active duty, Guard, and Reserve – who set up alternate the care facilities; who deployed to community hospitals across the Nation and gave hope to exhausted local medical professionals; and who stood up multiple mass vaccination sites across the country to put actual shots in arms.

People like our Guard and Reserve Soldiers and the incredible job they have done this past year. They came to the rescue of their neighbors during multiple natural disasters, all the while continuing to protect the Nation in global operations.

The Army National Guard and Army Reserve have experienced unprecedented demand at home and abroad, and they are doing a fantastic job.

People like our Army Olympians, who we recognized earlier. Lieutenant English holds the distinction of being the first U.S. Service Member to earn an Olympic gold medal.

People like our Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 10th Mountain Division, the Red Bulls of the Minnesota National Guard, our special operations forces, and the many other Soldiers who supported one of the largest evacuation efforts in our history.

These American Soldiers helped evacuate over one hundred and twenty THOUSAND people from Kabul.

Today, over 9,000 American Soldiers are working with the inter-agency worldwide to help Afghan families transition to new lives.

And an American Soldier, along with eleven Marines and one Sailor, gave his very life ensuring thousands of others might live theirs.

I had the honor of meeting Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss’s family and teammates, and I can say with absolute certainty that he represented the very best of who we are and what we aspire to be as an Army.

Putting people first means continuing to build cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined, and fit…that are ready to fight and win….and where each person is treated with dignity and respect.

Putting people first means aggressively getting after our Quality of Life priorities: housing, health care, child care, spouse employment, and Permanent Change of Station moves.

Putting people first means progressing with our 21st Century Talent Management System initiatives.

We are expanding our Assessment Programs – after the success of BCAP for Battalion Commanders and CCAP for colonels – to now include Sergeants Major, Acquisition Leaders, and Chaplains.

This fiscal year, we will finish rolling-out IPPS-A. With all components integrated into a single personnel system, Soldiers will have what I call, “Component Fluidity.”

I can envision a future where Soldiers will be able to serve across multiple components according to where they are in their careers and their lives.

We are providing opportunities for Soldiers to hone and employ their talents that benefit the Army the most.

Last April I visited the newly opened Army Software Factory in Austin, Texas. The Army needs Soldiers who can code under pressure and in the dirt.

We believed that this talent already existed in the Army, and our Soldiers did not disappoint.

We are finding hidden talent in the most unexpected places…like an E4 combat medic; an automotive maintenance warrant officer; and a former baker.

These are self-taught Soldiers with PhD level coding skills. We are making sure they keep those skills in the Army, because we are aggressively seeking to recruit and retain the talent we need to remain the greatest fighting force in the world.

Putting people first means taking care of our people so our people can remain ready and transform for the future.

…Because the United States Army must be ready to fight and win as a member of the Joint Force in order to protect the Nation.

That means fighting while being contested in every single domain.

If you look at the best combat units in history, everywhere in the world, you’ll find individuals and small units who are masters of their craft…and so we will remain ready by focusing on foundational readiness.

That means building units from the Soldier up.

That means we give squad leaders, platoon leaders, and company commanders the time and resources they need to build cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined, and fit so they can fight and win.

That means building our battalions and brigades upon that foundation to create an Army that is ready for large-scale combat operations, an Army that is agile and adaptive in contested environments.

We are changing our readiness model across the force. Effective this month, we officially adopt the Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, that we call “ReARMM.”

ReARMM regionally aligns units with combatant commands to deepen institutional knowledge.

ReARMM increases predictability for our people by getting our units into cycles for training, deployment, and modernization.

ReARMM will enable us to:

take care of our people…without sacrificing readiness for today…and while transforming to stay ready tomorrow.

…Because the United States Army must transform for the future. And we are.

I argue that the Army must transform about every forty years. In the 1940s we transformed for World War II under General Marshall.

Forty years later, in the late seventies and early eighties, General Shy Meyer oversaw what he called “one of the most ambitious transformations the Army has ever attempted in peacetime.”

To a large degree, that is the Army we’ve fought with since.

General Meyer was the Chief of Staff when I came into the Army, and today we are following in his footsteps as we undergo our greatest transformation since his time.

It’s fitting that we will honor him tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery, when he is laid to rest with honors.

The battlefield is becoming faster; it is becoming more lethal; and it is becoming more distributed.

Overmatch will belong to the side that can make better decisions faster.

We are transforming to provide the Joint Force with the speed, range, and convergence of cutting-edge technologies to gain the decision dominance and overmatch we will need to win the next fight.

And when I say speed and range, I’m not just talking about the speed and range of a single weapon system, but of the entire process.

As some of you may know, I used to command a division that had a lot of helicopters. And what I learned was, it’s great that our helicopters can fly 100 miles per hour, but if it takes you ten hours to plan a mission, your net speed is 10 miles per hour, and you might as well drive a truck.

So we are transforming our DOCTRINE.

In March we released CSA Paper #1 on Army Multi-Domain Transformation, and in the upcoming months we will update our capstone doctrine with a new FM 3-0.

We are transforming our command and control systems to support Multi-Domain Operations and Joint All-Domain Operations.

That means working with our sister Services in the development of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control, “CJADC2.”

I will continue to add a “C” to JADC2 because the Joint Force never wants to fight alone. We are stronger when we fight alongside our allies and partners.

The Army’s contribution to CJADC2 is Convergence.

Project Convergence is our in-the-dirt experimentation to inform how the Army will fight and organize in the future, by linking all sensors to the best shooter through the right C2 node.

Last year Army Futures Command hosted the inaugural Project Convergence 20 at Yuma Proving Ground.

That was really about the Army getting its own sensors and shooters integrated and right.

This year – in fact, as I speak – Project Convergence 21, “PC21,” has expanded to include the Joint Force, and the lessons we learn will inform the Joint Warfighting Concept.

PC21 incorporates over 100 technologies across more than twenty sites with over five thousand participants.

PC21 will consist of seven scenarios, what we call “use cases.”

As an example, one of those use cases is Joint Air and Missile Defense, something we’re very concerned about.

If there’s an incoming missile attack, first we want our systems to be able to identify it.

Then, we want our systems to determine the best shooter, and not just between Army weapon systems, but between services.

Is the best shooter a Navy SM-6 or an Army PATRIOT missile?

These are the kinds of options we want to give our combatant commanders and that’s the kind of dilemma we want to give our potential adversaries.

That's what decision dominance is about – being able to take a tremendous amount of data and act on it at the speed of relevancy - in tens of seconds instead of tens of minutes.

Next year, for Project Convergence 22, we will expand again to include the Combined Force, our allies and partners.

We continue to transform our ORGANIZATIONS. All six Security Force Assistance Brigades are now operational.

All of our five active-duty SFABs are aligned with combatant commands, and our National Guard SFAB will support each of these.

These units are critical for developing partner capabilities and enduring relationships… because the United States Army never fights alone.

Last month in Germany, we activated the Army’s second Multi-Domain Task Force, the first of its kind in Europe.

Our MDTFs will provide commanders with Long-Range Precision Effects using intelligence, information, cyber, electronic warfare, and space operations.

And they will provide Long-Range Precision Fires capable of penetrating enemy A2/AD defenses, sinking ships, and establishing friendly A2/AD defenses.

We continue to transform our TRAINING to harness virtual and augmented reality. Our efforts are already paying off.

One World Terrain, one of our 31+4 signature systems, provides detailed 3D replicas of locations throughout the world. Two months ago, the 82nd Airborne Division used it to recreate the Kabul airport and facilitate evacuations from Afghanistan.

That is amazing.

We are transforming our EQUIPMENT. I think of our equipment modernization efforts in terms of three distinct categories: LEGACY, ENDURING, and FUTURE.

LEGACY systems equip the Army of the past. We are divesting legacy systems.

ENDURING systems equip today’s Army, and will play a key role in tomorrow’s Army – weapon systems like the Abrams tank, Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, Paladin PIM, and PATRIOT missile.

We are incrementally improving these enduring systems to keep them relevant to the future fight.

FUTURE systems are necessary to equip the Multi-Domain Army of tomorrow. This is where we are transforming. These are our six modernization priorities and 31+4 signature systems. Let me update you on the great progress we’re making.

Long-Range Precision Fires. Last month we fielded the first prototype of our Extended Range Cannon Artillery, “ERCA,” for testing. In FY23, we will field hypersonic missiles, our ship-sinking Mid-Range Capability, and our Precision Strike Missile, “PrSM.”

Next Generation Combat Vehicle. This year we are building physical prototypes of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

We are testing eight prototypes for the Robotic Combat Vehicle ahead of its original schedule.

This year Soldiers are testing our next light tank, Mobile Protective Firepower, and the first unit will receive the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.

Future Vertical Lift. The first prototype of “FARA” – our Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft – will fly in the third quarter of FY23.

We accelerated our Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program – “FLRAA” and will choose a prototype later this year.

The Army Network. The Army network may not be our official number one priority, but it underpins all of our modernization efforts.

It must be resilient, it must be reliable, and it must be able to operate in the dirt in a contested environment.

This is the heart of Project Convergence.

Air and Missile Defense. This year we will field the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.

Last April we began fielding our first Maneuver – Short Range Air Defense systems, “M-SHORAD.”

Two weeks ago, we awarded prototyping authority for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability.

And soon we will field prototypes of Directed Energy-based counter-UAS systems, because I believe that enemy Unmanned Aerial Systems are the IEDs of the future.

Last but certainly not least, Soldier Lethality. Our Soldiers are currently using and testing IVAS – the Integrated Visual Augmentation System.

We continue to field the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular, which gives our Soldiers better depth perception, rapid target acquisition, and augmented reality in all weather and all lighting conditions.

And this fiscal year, we are fielding our Next Generation Squad Weapons Systems.

All told, we will have 24 of our 31+4 signature systems in the hands of Soldiers by FY23.

America’s Army and its People are Transforming for the Future.

I’d like to end with an update to a story I told the last time I was on this stage.

Two years ago, I told you about an American hero named Jim “Pee Wee” Martin – a member of the Greatest Generation and Screaming Eagle who jumped into Normandy on D-Day at the young age of 23 and fought across Europe with his band of brothers.

I had the honor of meeting Jim when he jumped back into Normandy for the 70th anniversary at the ripe age of 93.

Two years ago, I told you he had jumped in AGAIN for the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. He was 98!

This year I am happy to report that Jim is still going strong. Last April, he celebrated his 100th birthday near his home in Ohio with “Pee Wee’s Jump Fest,” a mass parachute reenactment celebrating Jim and his fellow 101st veterans.

We stand on the shoulders of heroes like Jim “Pee Wee” Martin…and every one of us in uniform carries an obligation to live up to their legacies. To the men and women of the United State Army, past and present, you are doing just that.

And let me take a moment to speak directly to the Soldiers and Soldiers for Life who served in Afghanistan over the past twenty years.

What you did matters. What you did made a difference, and nothing will ever change that.

You did your job. You did it incredibly well. And you can be proud of your service in combat, because I certainly am.

I could not be more proud to serve with the greatest Soldiers in the world’s greatest Army, and it remains my honor to be your 40th Chief of Staff.

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