Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth's Opening Remarks to the Atlantic Council: The Army's Role in the National Defense Strategy (May 31, 2022)(As Prepared)

By Dontavian HarrisonMay 31, 2022

Hi everyone, good afternoon! I’m delighted to be back here with all of you at the Atlantic Council.

I’ve spent the last several weeks testifying in front of Congress and meeting with Members from both houses and talking a lot about how the Army is allocating resources across our top three priorities: people, modernization, readiness, and essentially how we plan to strike a balance between the requirements of today and tomorrow as we transform to the Army of 2030.

But given this audience, I thought I’d focus my remarks on the National Defense Strategy.

The three primary lines of effort in the NDS are campaigning, integrated deterrence, and building enduring advantage.

The Army has a role to play in all three of these areas.

NDS: campaigning

First, we are campaigning every day.

Campaigning strengthens deterrence and “enables us to gain advantage against the full range of competitors’ coercive actions.”

[More from NDS - paraphrased]: The crux/core of campaigning is operating forces and synchronizing and aligning USG activities with other instruments of national power – to undermine acute forms of competitor coercion, and to complicate adversaries’ military preparations, as we develop our own warfighting capabilities together with Allies and partners.

The Army is campaigning every day in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific, and in other regions around the world.


In Europe, the Army invested $2.4B (total Army funding across 5 lines of effort) in the European Deterrence Initiative in FY22 alone, and we all saw the return on several years of investments when our troops deployed in rapid order this past February and were able to fall in on Army Prepositioned Stock in Germany which allowed us to move quickly from port to live-fire exercises within a week’s time.

We re-established V Corps in 2020 to focus on Europe and stood up a forward HQ element recently in Poznań, Poland.

EDI has also allowed for the buildup of infrastructure, and training with allies.

The signature/marquis exercise for the region – Defender Europe 22, which just wrapped up – took place across 9 countries and included more than 3400 U.S. and 5,100 multi-national service members from 11 Allied and Partner nations. And this is on top of everything we are doing to deter aggression against NATO and assist Ukraine in defending itself.

These kinds of activities are central to campaigning.


In the Indo-Pacific, through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) we’ve dedicated over $1B to our campaign activities in FY23.

Our marquis event in the Indo-Pacific is Operation Pathways which encompasses – 7 major exercises in the region:

COBRA GOLD 22 – Thailand

BALIKATAN 22 – The Philippines

KERIS STRIKE 22 – Malaysia

TIGER BALM 22 – Singapore

TALISMAN SABRE 23 – Australia


SALAKNIB 22 – The Philippines

GEN Flynn the Commander of US Army Pacific is working closely with allies and partners to increase the complexity of exercises in the region, and to be build greater interoperability.

We’re looking at how we use our prepositioned stocks most effectively and we are looking at how we can use APS afloat to the maximum degree given the vast distances of the Indo-Pacific region.

In parallel with these exercises, our Security Force Assistance Brigades operate regularly with Armies in the region.

In FY21 and FY22, 5th SFAB deployed 40 advisory teams to 14 different countries further building interoperability with allies and partners throughout the region.

Another important part of our campaigning efforts in the Indo-Pacific is our Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center – I would describe this as a kind of exportable combat training system.

For troops in Hawaii, it serves as a combat training center experience.

The capabilities we have resident in the JPMRC can be used to train as well with allies and partners in theater, and many of our allies and partners are eager to do more training with us.

The Army is also campaigning in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, whether in Iraq and Syria, or through SFAB teams all over the world, or through the work of our Army Special Forces.

In the Europe, over the course of the last seven and a half years, Army SOF deployed to train and assist Ukraine’s military and help build their resistance and resilience capabilities. And we certainly see that work paying off in real-time now.

And following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February – 10th Special Forces Group led a Coalition Planning Cell of over 20 nations to coordinate information with international SOF partners and Allies.

Integrated Deterrence

Everything the Army is doing in campaigning today contributes to building integrated deterrence.

Combat credible forces that potential adversaries can see – helps build integrated deterrence.

And right now, Russia can see more than 48,000 Army troops in Europe, standing firm in defense of NATO territory.

But we’re not just thinking about the combat credible forces we need today; we’re also developing and building the forces we need tomorrow.

A large part of my focus is making sure we are investing enough in the enduring systems we need as well as developing new capabilities for the future battlefield.

The Army is currently updating and investing in the Abrams SEP version 3 (SEPv3). This is the same tank, by the way, that we have agreed to sell to Poland.

The Army will continue modernization and procurement of the Apache Echo Model to improve its lethality and survivability. The AH-64E program is the latest Apache and is equipped with an open systems architecture to incorporate the latest communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems.

When it comes to developing new capabilities, we’re focused on 6 modernization portfolios: long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, air and missile defense, soldier lethality, and the network which underpins all of our efforts.

The Army has been working hard on modernization in the last few years, and today, we’ve arrived at the point where we’re starting to deliver prototypes and systems into the hands of Soldiers.

In FY23, we’ll deliver 24 of our signature modernization efforts into the hands of Soldiers, either for experimentation, testing, or fielding.

For example, we’ll field four long range precision fire systems: the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, our ship sinking Mid-Range Capability, PrSM, and ERCA. We're also modernizing our air and missile defense systems, and funding both the development of FLRAA and FARA which we plan to field several years from now.

We’re building new formations like the MDTFs and working to get other force design updates to build the Army of 2030.

All of these new systems will help build integrated deterrence today and into the future.

But we also have to build enduring advantages over time – we can’t stop trying to outpace our competitors.

To build this advantage we need to experiment and innovate with new warfighting concepts and build increasing levels of interoperability with our sister services and our allies and partners.

One way that we are doing this is through the Project Convergence series, which we started two years ago.

PC is an opportunity for the Army to conduct larger-scale experimentation, focusing on operational scenarios that are directly relevant to challenges we would face in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific.

Through PC we are working with sister services to streamline data and identify how to connect the best sensors to the best shooter in a dynamic environment. The sensor data could be an early warning radar that is sent to the best shooter (F-35, Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA)) which then neutralizes the threat.

PC22 will include our allies (i.e., UK, Australia) as well as industry partners.


And finally, building enduring advantage isn’t just about technology, it’s also about our people, which are our greatest weapons system.

In that vein, we are looking at how to develop and manage our talent differently through new talent-based approaches to assignments, to selecting leaders (BCCAP, CCAP), and to providing professional development to our people (Project Athena).

UKR lessons learned for the Army

In closing, I’d like to say a few words on the lessons we in the Army are taking from what we see in Ukraine.

First, the Russian military’s failures underscore the importance of leadership, training, and discipline. The Russians don’t train like us, and the civilian atrocities we’ve witnessed point directly to a lack of discipline and training among their ranks.

The fact that we have an NCO corps is a compelling contrast to the Russian and other militaries and is directly correlated to the level of training and discipline in the US Army ranks.
Delegation of responsibilities down to lower echelons – is something that we do very well, and it is one of the unique strengths of the U.S. military. The Russians have struggled to adapt and show initiative at the tactical level.

Logistics, logistics, logistics. Amateurs discuss strategy and experts talk logistics.

You can be the best equipped military in the world, but if you can’t sustain your forces, it doesn’t matter. The Russian military displayed a notable deficiency in logistics and sustainment operations.

Their experience underscores the importance of focusing on logistics.

And the Army is doing just that. As just one example, we are placing a higher premium on water craft capabilities. The Army is modernizing its watercraft platforms such as the Maneuver Support Vehicle – Light (MSV-L) because these systems are going to be critical to theater logistics and sustainment which will be particularly important given the vast distances in the Indo-Pacific theater.

We’re also seeing the importance of secure communications and the consequences of soldiers using their cell phones and this makes them targetable. In the future, we’re likely to face even more contested environments, and the Army will need to be very disciplined about reducing signatures whenever possible.

Events in Ukraine underscore yet again the growing drone threat. Drones and other unmanned systems pose new challenges for integrated air and missile defense, with both overseas and homeland security implications.

The Army is the executive agent for the Joint c-UAS Office and is working hard to address this challenge. But there is more work to be done.

And finally, we’re also seeing the importance of maintaining the health of the industrial base and munitions stockpiles. We’ve just signed contracts to start production to replenish our Stinger and Javelin stockpiles and we’re talking with industry more broadly about how to accelerate delivery timelines for critical munitions in the future.

There are undoubtedly more lessons to be learned looking at Ukraine but let me stop here and turn the floor over to Vivian.

Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.