By Jeremy S. BuddemeierMay 9, 2007
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - In his first three weeks as Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey along with his wife and staff, has been traveling to installations around the country gathering input from Soldiers and spouses.
Gen. Casey intends to integrate the opinions and information he receives into his seven initiatives for balancing the Army's strategic requirements and resources.
Gen. Casey developed the initiatives out of concern for the stresses placed on the all-volunteer force and the Army's ability to sustain it, he said.
Gen. Casey's entourage made several stops at installations on Oahu April 27-29, including visiting wounded Soldiers at Tripler Army Medical Center, and interacting with Soldiers, spouses and support program leaders at Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks.
At Schofield Barracks Saturday morning, Gen. Casey toured an Army Hawaii Family Housing model home and visited the Kalakaua Community Center; strolled through the recently remodeled C Quad barracks and dining facility, and addressed concerns of young leaders at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at East Range.
AHFH Director of Property Management Janine Lind and Col. Howard J. Killian, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, escorted Gen. Casey through a two-story model home for officers in the Kalakaua community. Killian mentioned that as an officer achieves greater rank, fixtures such as countertops and cabinets are likewise upgraded.
Then, less than a mile across post, Gen. Casey's cavalcade of officer and sergeants major tour guides filed into single- and double-occupancy rooms at the newly remodeled C Quad barracks.
At both locations, Gen. Casey noted the differences between current living quarters and those available when he was a junior officer.
Later at East Range, 161 noncommissioned officer candidates welcomed Gen. Casey with a booming, synchronized rendition of the Soldier's Creed, which echoed throughout the courtyard.
"Let me take a moment to look you in the eye," Gen, Casey said, as he came closer and stared into the audience. "Old Soldiers like myself need to look you in the eye ... to see your fire."
After sharing an overview of his seven initiatives, responding to Soldiers' questions and joining them for lunch, Gen. Casey attended a town hall meeting with more than 100 spouses of deployed Soldiers in the Post Conference Room.
Many of the Soldiers' and spouses' questions centered on the recent three-month deployment extension and changes in policy they could expect to see from the new chief of staff.
"I don't intend to make any hard left or right turns, ... but [I will] adopt policies to mitigate the impact on you," Gen. Casey told the spouses.
Gen. Casey is no stranger to deployment. Before accepting his current position, he spent almost three years as commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq.
"The goal is to get back to twelve/twelve [12 months of deployment, 12 months of dwell time], and move to a 12/24, but I don't know when that will be," he said. "I don't have any control over the demand for the force."
Gen. Casey will visit a total of nine to 10 installations during his first two months as chief of staff, and plans to implement actions to achieve objectives set forth in his initiatives by July.
Gen. Casey's seven initiatives are:
1. Accelerate growth and readiness improvements. The initiative seeks to build strategic depth and create more of a balance between the Army's requirements and resources.
2. Enhance the quality of support to Soldiers, civilians and families, including the standardization of services such as family readiness groups, and mitigation strategies for the effects of parent's deployment children, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
3. Sustain the momentum of modernization. Capitalizing on this momentum involves implementing current technology to fill capability gaps the fighting force is experiencing and improving the Army's forces incrementally and continually.
4. Complete reserve component transition to an operational force. This initiative seeks to smooth the transition from reserve to active components, promote unit cohesion, and operationally align units and resources to enhance deployment rotation predictability.
5. Improve leader development to grow leaders for tomorrow's strategic environment. The proposed changes include adapting the educational system to support the expeditionary Army, and establishing institutional activities to retain leaders.
6. Adapt Army institutions to support and expeditionary Army at war. Adaptations include making training programs more responsive to the pace and operational tempo, and standardizing care for quality of life programs across installations.
7. Build strategic communication capabilities to effectively communicate with internal and external audiences. This initiative proposes increasing the level of participation in the current public affairs process, speaking with one voice in telling the Army's story, and embracing a culture of engagement.
Soldiers and family members can submit suggestions to the chief of staff via e-mail at : email@example.com.