The Army is on track to realize the Army of 2030
Good morning, everyone – it is terrific to be here! What an inspiring opening ceremony to kick off this year’s annual meeting!
Thank you, GEN Brown for the introduction and thank you to the entire AUSA and Army teams for all your hard work to make this event possible. Teams form the foundation of our Army, and I am fortunate to work with the highest-caliber Army leadership team – starting with GEN McConville, the Vice Chief GEN George, Undersecretary Camarillo, and the SMA.
Coming together here at AUSA gives us the opportunity to reflect on important Army accomplishments, take stock of where we are and where we’re going, and look ahead to the future. It’s a time to identify challenges and get inspired about all that is possible for the U.S. Army.
As I reflect and take stock of where we are, I’m confident the Army is on the right track to realize our vision for the Army of 2030, and enable our Soldiers, families, and civilians to excel and thrive.
Just look at all the Army has done this year. Since the day Russia invaded Ukraine the Army has answered the President’s call without fail – reassuring our NATO allies and helping Ukraine in its fight to defend itself.
I’ve seen for myself in trips to Europe the tremendous work our Army is doing under the leadership of the new SACEUR, Army General Chris Cavoli, and the tremendous leadership we have in theater.
In Latvia, I was able to meet with the 1st Infantry’s division artillery and the 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade at Camp Adazi where I heard about the valuable training they are conducting with Latvian forces. 4th SFAB has been doing a phenomenal job in the European theater, deploying advisory teams on short notice to Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. They are the tip of the spear for Security Cooperation and their efforts are paying significant dividends along NATO’s eastern and southern flanks.
In Lithuania, I met with Soldiers from 1-66 Armor Battalion at Camp Herkus. These Soldiers are among the many supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve, demonstrating their proficiency in real time while downloading equipment from multiple ports, drawing vehicles from pre-positioned stocks, and transporting all of it across Europe to re-enforce our NATO Allies and partners. While training, the Soldiers from 1-66 Armor successfully completed a wet-gap crossing exercise, which is no easy feat.
In Germany I met with Special Operations Forces, and in Poland I met with Soldiers from our renowned 101st airborne division who are taking in equipment from all over Europe and getting it to our Ukrainian partners.
And on the other side of the world, the Army has been busy in INDOPACOM as well, building partnerships through the multiple exercises that comprise Pacific Pathways. Reflecting the Army’s strategic focus on the Pacific, we will stay busy in that region because China is our pacing challenge. We must strengthen deterrence in the Pacific by building out our logistics and sustainment support over the region’s vast distances and by demonstrating what ready, combat credible Army forces can do, working in concert with our allies and partners.
Closer to home our National Guard and Reserve Soldiers have helped communities in need, whether as part of the pandemic response, at the southwest border, or in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian a few weeks ago.
All of this shows that this year, like the last few years, the Army keeps rolling along, doing amazing things.
But even as our Army deploys all over the world, training, exercising, and conducting missions, we are working hard to build the Army of 2030 – the theme of this year’s annual meeting.
Army of 2030: Warfighting
Despite the many other things the Army does, the Army exists to fight and win the nation’s wars. We cannot lose sight of that fundamental purpose.
And to make sure we remain the dominant land force on the battlefields of 2030, the Army is undergoing a once-in-a-generation transformation that will position the Army to deter and defeat future threats.
Transforming into the Army of 2030 means adopting new operational concepts, reorganizing our forces, and developing new capabilities so that we maintain superiority over any future adversary. And we are well on our way there.
To succeed on the future battlefield and continue to dominate the land domain, the Army of 2030 needs to do six basic things:
· First, see and sense more, farther, and more persistently at every echelon than our enemies.
· Second, we have to concentrate highly lethal, low signature combat forces rapidly from dispersed locations to overwhelm adversaries at a time and place of our choosing.
· Third, we’ve got to win the fires fight by delivering precise, longer-range fires as part of the Joint Force to strike deep targets and massing enemy forces.
· Fourth, we have to protect our forces from air, missile, and drone attacks.
· Fifth, we have to rapidly and reliably communicate and share data not just with ourselves, but with our sister services, and coalition partners.
· And sixth, we’ve got to sustain the fight across contested terrain for both short, sharp operations as well as for protracted conflict.
Field Manual 3-0, our newly released capstone doctrine, elaborates on these six main ideas and will reshape the way we organize, develop, train, conduct exercises, and build out our formations.
To realize this vision and build the Army of 2030 we are transforming our force structure and evolving how we fight. We must do this to prepare for the challenge of large-scale combat operations, strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, and to be ready if deterrence fails.
After two decades of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, focused on brigade and below operations, the Army is shifting its organizational focus to larger formations more capable of integrating with our sister services, and our allies and partners around the globe.
Our study and analysis of recent conflicts, exercises, simulation, and training tells us that brigade commanders must focus fully on winning the close fight. To allow front-line leaders to concentrate on the close fight, division and corps commanders will have the responsibility and the capability to visualize the larger picture.
To ensure they can do this, our Theater Armies, Corps, and Divisions will gain the personnel, organizations, and equipment they need to disrupt and defeat peer adversaries on the future battlefield. These force structure redesigns go well beyond building SFABs and additional Multi-Domain Task Forces.
By consolidating fires, engineer, and military intelligence at the division level, we will maximize the Division’s ability to shape the fight and enable brigades to close with and defeat peer enemy threats. At the Corps level we will provide the additional personnel and organizations necessary to fully converge effects across all domains. Our Corps will be Joint Task Force certified, capable of commanding and controlling joint and multinational formations.
And these organizational investments will be multiplied by leveraging advances in commercial data-analytics to improve the speed and accuracy of our leader decision-making.
As we make these organizational changes, the Army of 2030 must also equip its forces with new and different capabilities. We are working closely with you all in industry to develop advanced equipment that incorporates cutting edge technologies.
With systems like ARES, ARTEMIS, TITAN, and Air Launched Effects we are developing a network of manned and unmanned sensors that will enable us to sense more, farther, and more persistently than our enemies.
With platforms like the AMPV and Mobile Protective Firepower, we will deliver more lethal, and more survivable maneuver forces across the battlefield.
With systems like ERCA, PrSM, Mid-Range Capability and the long range hypersonic weapon, we will deploy new missiles able to reach new distances, increasing the range of our fires and their ability to avoid traditional air defense systems.
And speaking of air defense systems, we are modernizing our own air defense capabilities – M-SHORAD and IFPC – using a new battle command system that integrates LTAMDS and other sensors. We are harnessing the potential of directed energy to protect our forces from air, missile, and drone attacks.
With new modern watercraft fleets and experiments like the hybrid Stryker vehicle, we will push ourselves to embrace the challenge of contested logistics.
To ensure we can meet this challenge, I’ve asked GEN Daly at Army Materiel Command to lead a comprehensive effort to strengthen the Army’s ability to provide logistics and sustainment in support of the Joint Force in the Indo-Pacific. Leveraging experimentation, wargames and exercises, this effort will bring together our logistics community with the commercial sector to look at our requirements and focus on the opportunities presented by autonomous distribution, energy efficient combat systems, and predictive analytics.
In the last year, we have made real progress toward building these new capabilities. We have prototypes on factory floors. We are testing and experimenting with new technologies – not by ourselves, but with our sister services and industry partners – during events like Project Convergence. And for some of these capabilities, we are already signing contracts to begin low rates of initial production.
We’ve been able to sustain momentum across all six of our modernization portfolios because we’ve been consistent in our priorities across two administrations, and with support from Congress, we’ve applied consistent funding to our efforts. We are getting new systems into the hands of Soldiers.
2023 will be a big year for Army modernization – we will deliver prototypes or begin fielding 24 different systems. So, I am particularly pleased that GEN Jim Rainey has just taken command at Army Futures Command in Austin. There’s no shortage of work to do! And we will do it as one Army team.
While we continue to deliver these capabilities to support the Army of 2030, we must push ourselves to think even farther out in time. How should we be thinking about warfighting in 2040? What next generation capabilities will that warfight require? Given evolving threats and the pace of technological change, we always have to think about what the Army needs next.
So, I’ve asked GEN Rainey to lead and accelerate our efforts to begin developing next-generation operating concepts, defining gaps and requirements for our next-generation weapon systems, and leading the design of the Army of 2040. We will need to take the long view to determine what foundational investments in technology are needed today so that we are ready for tomorrow.
As we make these generational investments to prepare for the future fight, we must do so sustainably, maintaining readiness while transforming at a pace informed by the resources we have. As I said last year, this will require some hard choices about the pace of our modernization versus maintaining our ability to respond to crisis, while taking care of our people.
The Army of 2030: Taking Care of People
And speaking of our people, a critical part of realizing our vision for the Army of 2030 is ensuring our Soldiers and their families are well taken care of. Where our Soldiers live and work is a fundamental part of their quality of life, and it is something that as Secretary of the Army, I am especially focused on
As I’ve visited our installations all over the country this year, I’ve heard a lot about the rising costs of housing, substandard barracks conditions, and difficulties getting children into our child development centers.
I am committed to fixing these issues, and I know that every Army leader shares that commitment.
We are building on initiatives like Secretary Austin’s recent decision to increase BAH across 28 military housing areas where rental costs have sharply increased.
We are working with OSD to look at how BAH is calculated so that it accurately reflects the real housing market.
We are investing $1.5 billion in the next five years to build and improve Army owned housing. We are investing $3.1 billion through FY 26 to replace, renovate, and build new privatized housing.
After visiting Fort Bragg in July and hearing about the barracks at Smoke Bomb Hill – which we will demolish and rebuild – I am more convinced than ever that we must stay committed to investing at least $10B for the next 8 years, to improve our barracks for active, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.
To realize the Army of 2030, we also have to make sure our Army families have access to quality childcare – I know how important this is as a mom myself. I know how hard it can be to find, and how expensive it can be when you find it.
We’ve funded five Child Development Centers in the last two years, and one is already under construction. And I’m pleased to announce that working closely with the Air Force, we now have plans to build a new CDC at Camp Bull Simons in FY 25 for our 7th Special Forces Group families. Once these CDCs are built, we will significantly increase childcare capacity.
And, we are working hard to hire great staff for our CDCs. Our goal is to increase staffing at our CDCs to 90 percent, which would help get families off the waitlist more quickly. We know housing and contracting costs are rising and the labor market is tight, but our Army is working hard to adapt to these challenges. Supporting parents who serve in the Army is critical to recruitment, retention, and the readiness of our Force.
But let there be no mistake, taking care of our people isn’t just about housing and childcare, it’s also about making sure that we’re creating positive command climates and building cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined, and physically fit.
In talks with Soldiers across the country, from Fort Drum to Fort Wainwright, I’ve heard how important it is to have access to mental health resources and to rebuild confidence in the Army’s ability to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
In the last year we’ve made multiple changes to help us reduce harmful behaviors in our Army and better support our Soldiers who need help.
This year in Alaska, we’ve surged behavioral health resources, specialists, chaplains, and Military and Family Life Counselors to ensure the Soldiers of the newly re-established 11th Airborne Division have the support they need to thrive in the unique and demanding environment that is the Arctic.
Other commands across the country are also conducting 100 percent wellness checks to promote resilience.
Our efforts are beginning to show results. One suicide is still one too many, but this year we have seen fewer suicides than last year. And, that is welcome news.
In addition to redesigning the Army’s SHARP programs, this summer we also established the Office of the Special Trial Counsel, which will be led by a 1-star who will report directly to me, and who will take the lead in trying cases of sexual assault.
As part of Secretary Austin’s Independent Review Commission, we are building a specialized prevention workforce to assist our commanders in their efforts to reduce harmful behaviors and to get resources to Soldiers and their families who may be struggling. We have already hired over 80 prevention specialists, who will serve in three Army Commands, and five installations. We plan to hire another 200 prevention specialists in FY 23, and by FY 27 we will hire more than 1,300 specialists across all three Army components.
We are committed to taking care of Soldiers and families, but I know that more work remains, and we will keep working on these issues.
The Army of 2030 not only has to ensure its families thrive, it also has to unlock the full potential of our Soldiers so they can excel.
We must transform the way we train, educate, and prepare America’s sons and daughters for an increasingly complex battlefield.
The Army is investing in programs and professional military education to improve how leaders identify their own strengths and weakness and to add to their intellectual kit. Whether it’s a year spent at one of the nation’s premier war colleges or top civilian institutions, the Army is committed to helping Soldiers further their intellectual pursuits as they prepare to face the increasingly complex threats of the future battlefield.
We are also reinventing how we unlock the talent of our Soldiers, better empower our NCOs and officers to manage their own careers and select the best leaders for command.
It’s taking time, but we are building a twenty-first century, data-driven personnel management system to transform how we develop and manage the talent that is the bedrock of our military advantage.
Complementing this new personnel management system, the talent marketplace allows officers and NCOs to express their preferences for open assignments.
The ability to express preferences for units and locations based on individual skills as well as family preferences has been a game changer.
The marketplace lets everyone play a more active role in managing talent for the Army and has increased trust in the assignment process. And that helps us keep our talent right here in the Army where our nation needs it.
And finally, we have profoundly changed how we are selecting individuals for command, giving us more ability to develop and select leaders who are truly ready for these demanding assignments.
This new selection process ensures that those going into these critical leadership positions are strong communicators, physically fit, able to effectively develop those around them, and achieve results through productive leadership styles.
We are well on our way to building the Army of 2030 – and like our Army today, it will be the best trained, best equipped, and best led Army in the world. It will be an Army that takes care of its Soldiers and families and ensures everyone can…be all they can be.
But we have to do a better job of telling Americans about what is possible in our Army, today and in the future. We’ve got to do more to get the word out on just how much the Army has to offer young Americans, and we need to debunk some of the misperceptions that are out there about what it means to serve in our Army.
Only 9 percent of young Americans ages 16-21 even express an interest in serving in the U.S. military. In this kind of recruiting landscape, we need a full court press to get out into communities all around the country to talk about the U.S. Army.
We have to reach not just young people who already know about the Army because they’re part of a military family or they live near a big post in the South or have a JROTC program in their school.
We need to reach young Americans - and their parents - who don’t know about us. Who live in the Northeast or the Midwest and who don’t come from military families.
We are not waiting to get out there and tell the Army story. FORSCOM has already partnered with TRADOC and USAREC to align five of our great divisions with our Recruiting brigades. This will help USAREC extend its reach into communities all around the country.
Going into the next fiscal year, we’re going to build on recruiting initiatives we started in FY 22, most notably the Future Soldier Prep Course at Fort Jackson. The Prep Course demonstrates the Army’s commitment to invest in young Americans who do want to serve, offering the chance to raise their academic and physical fitness qualifications so that they can join our ranks. And so far, the early results look promising.
We’ve also launched a recruiting task force, led by a 2-star general, that will report directly to me and General McConville to give us actionable recommendations to improve how the Army recruits future talent.
The task force will look at everything from how we select, train, and incentivize recruiters to what we can do to interest far more than 9 percent of young Americans to serve in the military. We’ve told the task force to think big and think outside the box – because we won’t solve this problem by just doing more of the same old, same old.
This will be a longer-term effort but given the significant demographic and generational changes that are underway in our country, we can’t afford to accept the status quo.
Today’s Army, now more than ever, needs data scientists, coders, and engineers, as much as we need our tankers, aviators, and infantry soldiers. We need to reach a new generation of Americans and share with them the life changing opportunities that come with service in the U.S. Army.
The trends that have reshaped the recruiting landscape didn’t develop in just a year, and it will likely take more than a year to put all the needed changes in place, but I’m confident that we are going to get this right. We can’t afford not to. And we need all of you to help us tell the Army story and inspire more Americans to serve.
Before it even became a nation, America had an Army and for the past 247 years, America’s Army has fought and won our nation’s wars. Our Army has weathered the challenges of world wars, the end of the Cold War, the war on terrorism, and today, we are ready to defend this country as we once again face nuclear-armed, near peer competitors.
We are living in challenging times. Social, economic, demographic and climate changes are reshaping our country and countries all around the world. And we face a wide and sobering range of national security threats.
But I have confidence our Army can and will meet these challenges. We will forge ahead, building the Army of 2030 so that we are ready for the stark realities of the future battlefield. And we will look beyond 2030 to start preparing today for what lies ahead in 2040.
I am inspired each and every day as Secretary of the Army by what I see our great American Soldiers doing all around the world. Their commitment, their grit, their ingenuity, their trust in each other, and their leaders cannot be found anywhere else.
Because of all I see in them, I am confident we will remain the world’s greatest land fighting force for many generations to come.