By Gen. George W. Casey, Jr.May 17, 2010
General Casey: Representative Jane Harman [Applause] ... The difference between a politician and a soldier: When you clap for a politician and they say "stop," they mean "go." [Laughter]. When you clap for a Soldier and they say "stop," they mean "stop." [Laughter].
Anyway, it's great to be here with you today. As [LTG] Tom [Bostick] was saying, one of the nice things in coming back as Chief [of Staff of the Army] after you've been the Vice [Chief] is you get to have a second shot at the things you feel you didn't do very well the first time. [Laughter]. That's really where I find myself with this.
[LTG] Tom [Bostick], thanks for your kind introduction. [GEN] Ann Dunwoody, it's great to have you here. And, we've got folks from all across the Army. That's good. In fact they told me there were 600 folks this year, and I said, "Okay, find a bigger room." Last year, it was about half the size of this.
I want to take the opportunity, first, to kind of give you some sense of where this all fits into where we're going as an Army. I think you know that-just last week-we finished up our Posture hearing cycle [on Capitol Hill]. The Secretary [of the Army] and I testified in four hearings. But I wanted to share with you, up front, the messages that I have been sharing with Congress. I think it's important for both external and internal audiences to understand where we are.
The question I get is: How are we doing' And from my perspective, looking across the Army, what I see is that we have made great progress since 2007 in getting ourselves back in balance. And with the 2011 budget-the budget that we're defending on the Hill right now-we have the resources to basically finish what we set out to do in 2004, which is to convert this Army into a 21st Century force, and get ourselves back in balance.
Now, I think you know that since 2007, I've been using that term to describe the condition of the Army: we are "out of balance." I wrestled hard with coming up with the right words to describe our condition because I was hearing we're broken. I was hearing we're hollow. I was hearing that we're not ready. And I still hear that a bit in civilian audiences around the country. It's still out there. But as I travel around the Army, it's clear to me that this is the most resilient, professional combat-seasoned force that I've been associated with in 40 years. And I do come up on 40 years this summer. [Applause]. I can remember as a young Captain standing out there in formation for someone's retirement ceremony, listening to the speaker say, "And General so-and so-has served his country with distinction for 40 years." I'd say...[holy smokes]. [Laughter].
Anyway, we put ourselves on a plan in 2007 to get us back in balance by 2011. And, it was centered on four imperatives -- sustain our soldiers and families, the heart and soul of this force; continue to prepare soldiers for success in [direct combat]; reset them effectively when they come home; and then continue to transform for an uncertain future. And we have been relentless in our progress toward those objectives.
Let me just give you a quick status report on the six key elements that will get us where we need to go. First of all is our growth. Remember back in 2007, President Bush said to increase the size of the Army by 74,000 folks. Originally, that was going to be done in 2012. I would go to all these posts, talking to Soldiers and Families and I'd say, "Yeah, we're going to get bigger, you won't have to deploy as much, and it will be done by 2012." They looked me like, "General, tell me something that affects me."
So we went to Secretary [of Defense] Gates about the first month I was here [in this position as Chief], and said we want to move that forward to 2010. And, he supported it to the tune of a couple of [billion] bucks. We got it done last year. We finished it last summer.
That made a big difference. And, the drawdown in Iraq has enabled us to execute the plus-up in Afghanistan. Our part of the 30,000 [Afghan plus-up] is a little over 20,000, and we don't have to go to 15-month deployments. That's a huge change from where we were in 2007.
The second key element of getting back in balance-and probably the most important one-is dwell; that is, increasing the time that Soldiers spend at home between deployments. I'm convinced after three years now that that is the most important thing we can do to get this force back-in-balance. And, it's not just so Soldiers can spend more time with their family. That's important. It's so they can recover themselves.
We've been at one year out, with one year back for five years. If you asked me five years ago if we could we sustain that, I would have said, "no way." But, it's remarkable what the force has done. And we just completed a study last year that shows us what we already knew: that it takes two-to-three years to recover from a one year combat deployment. That's the reality. That's why it's so important to get to one year out and two years back for the Active force, and one-to-four for the Guard and Reserve. With the drawdown in Iraq and the plus-up in Afghanistan, we actually get there, one-to-two for 70 percent of the Active force, and 80 percent of the Guard and Reserve get to one-in-four. And the rest get there in 2012.
I'll tell you, I've traveled all around the Army and I've visited units. When I go visit a unit that's got 18 months at home, the difference between 18 months at home and 12 months is huge. And I look at their progression and it's just such a better tempo. That's where we need to get. I think 24 months is as different from 18 as 18 is from 12. So that's where we have to get. We need to take care of ourselves.
[I'd now like to talk about] two big items of organizational change: modularity and rebalancing. In 2004, we set out to convert every brigade in the Army. Do you know how many brigades we have in the Army' About 303-give or take. We set out to convert every one of those brigades. We'll be 98 percent done with that by the end of '11. We're 90 percent done with that now. Those modular organizations are already proving their capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Regarding rebalancing: We are moving Soldiers out of skills that we needed in the Cold War into skills more relevant today. And, as you know, that involves training. It involves equipping. It involves everything. We are doing this for about 160,000 Soldiers. We're about two-thirds of the way through accomplishing that. And, by way of example, we've stood down about 200 tank companies, artillery batteries, and air defense batteries, and we've stood up an equivalent number of civil affairs, psychological operations, special forces. These are huge, huge changes.
Together, modular conversion of the Army and rebalancing represent the largest organizational transformation of the Army since World War II. And we've done it while we're sending 150,000 Soldiers over and back to Iraq and Afghanistan. No other organization in the world could have done that. You think Google's good' [Laughter]. They couldn't do what we do.
The next element of balance is BRAC. BRAC-combined with the Global Defense Posture Realignment-means that we're moving 380,000 Soldiers, Families, and Civilians across the Army in the next several years. We're just kind of hanging on. We'll give you a new phone book here in a couple of years once we figure out where everybody winds up. [Laughter].
There's a lot of pressure. There's no doubt about it. But the upside of that is the improvement in the quality of the facilities on our installations. I can't go on an Army installation without seeing cranes. That's brand new stuff [being built]. I was at Fort Sam Houston yesterday. I saw a new hospital going up, new clinics going up, and new headquarters for IMCOM going up. It's like that all across the Army.
Lastly, we're moving to put the whole Army on a rotational cycle. You've heard of ARFORGEN. And we started in 2009. But the fact of the matter is that demand has never allowed us to execute it the way we intended. With the drawdown in Iraq and the plus-up in Afghanistan, for the first time since I've been the Chief, I can see a clarity in our force structure demands that tell me that we can put the Army on a one-to-two cycle in '11, and we'll get about an 85 percent solution soon. By '12, '13 and '14, we'll be able to stabilize ourselves at one-to-two. That's a huge accomplishment for us, but it means that we have to adapt all our institutions and our support mechanisms to that model. There's a big change there...and big change that needs to happen.
And just so you know, in about the next 50 days, the G3 will publish the force packages that will be available for deployment in '11, '12, and '13. And as I said: in '11, we're at about an 85 percent solution. In '12 and '13, we're better than 90 percent. What that will allow us to do is to prepare units for deployment much more routinely and much more predictably. That's where we have to get.
As I look at all that and I look at where we are as an Army and the fact that the '11 budget is in the can on the Hill and we've got the money to finish what we set out to do in 2007, it's time for us as an Army to kind of consolidate where we are. You don't make this global change that we've been through here in the last seven years without having some loose ends to tighten up. And we've got to do that. Then, we have to assess where we are and compare it to what we're learning in the current fight. Then, we have to refine and assess. That's the direction we're headed. We've begun a series of focus area looks at our mix: do we have the right numbers of heavy, light, Strykers, aviation, civil affairs, and engineering forces' You've got to have the right mix of forces so you can package them for the uncertain future.
The second thing we've got to do is to look at our organization. Everybody knows how the organization could be a little bit better. The intellectual work was done in 2002 and 2003. I think we've learned a little bit in the intervening eight years, so we need to apply that knowledge.
We're going to look at the network. One network on the garrison to combat and back. We're going to look at routinizing the ARFORGEN cycle and we're going to build an achievable and affordable modernization strategy. Those are the things we're going to have to refine in this great Army that we have built, and all that work will be done in the out years.
As I look at that, it strikes me that it's also pretty [workable] to what we're doing here. We have been at this particular program going into our third year here, and we've had two years of focused effort, and it's a time to try and consolidate and say to ourselves okay, have we gotten where we want, and make an assessment of where we are. Then refine it and go forward with a better program.
I'm going to talk about what I think that constitutes-because if you think back to my four imperatives, the first one is sustain. Sustaining Soldiers and Families and Civilians is the most important element for us as an Army. It is the American Soldier supported by our Civilians and Families that gives us the asymmetric advantage toward any enemy we face. And we have to hold that force together. And sexual assault is something that eats away at the fabric of that force from the inside. And it's something that everybody in this room understands that we can't tolerate. By the same token, that same commitment and that same feeling have got to be pressed down across the force.
And like I said, one of the things you learn as the Chief [of Staff of the Army] is you don't get anything done quickly around here. I looked at some of the programs that we had, and I looked at the Army Family Covenant, and there was a lot of activity. Everybody was working together, but until we got the structure set-until we hired the people in the field-we didn't have enough structure out there to move the program forward. That took about a year.
The same thing happened with the Survivor Outreach Services. Increasing what we're doing for our Surviving Families-and especially spouses-took about a year to get the structure set, and then start the moving.
I kind of think we're in about the same position here. We've got a good [SHARP] program. We have some things in place, but we're kind of at a seminal point. We got the leadership on board the year before last. Now we've got to push it down. I think that's what this is about here [at this summit]. It's about pushing it down.
...Now, General Bostick stirred some memories here. I remember when I was the Vice [Chief of Staff] and I got the call. [I was told,] "Alright, we're all going to go over [to Capitol Hill] to testify about the sexual assault programs in front of the Senate Personnel Subcommittee." So, as anyone who's been called to Congress, you [know to] start circling the wagons and figure out what we're doing.
That's when I was introduced to Army silos. And I started asking around, and everybody was well-intentioned and working hard, but they were all working hard in their own silos. Yes, personnel folks were doing their stuff. Yes, the military folks were doing their stuff. Chaplains were doing their stuff. You had the doctors doing their stuff. You had the lawyers doing their stuff. And [there was] all this stuff, but [it was] not connected. I said, "This is a problem."
So we set out to start breaking down those silos. We really didn't get a decent database...and [so, we got] that moving. Shortly thereafter, I went to Iraq for 32 months and came back, and about late 2007-or early 2008-I had the opportunity to review the 2007 data. And as I looked at it, we were the highest of anyone in the Department of Defense on sexual assaults. And I said to the OSD folks, "Wow, that isn't where I thought we'd be after four/five years."
So I got the troops together and I looked at what we were doing. What struck me was the program was well put together with a very good program for the "response." It was focused on after-the-fact; it wasn't focused on the prevention. And I talked to [Army Secretary] Pete [Geren] and said, "Mr. Secretary, I'm looking at this and we need to do something. He said, "You know, it's funny. I've been thinking about the same thing." And the Secretary brought with him some experience he'd had in the Air Force when he was there [as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force]. He said, "Look, the Air Force didn't get a handle on this until they changed the culture." So that's what we set out to do with the "I Am Strong" program. I've been at this a long time, and changing the culture is never easy. And we're a microcosm of society. We're not just changing our culture. We're also going to change society's culture. But, that's where it starts and it starts with little steps. So we laid out the "I Am Strong" program. And we recognized it was going to take awhile-that it was going to take some time for us to get it integrated.
We started off getting leadership on board. As with any program, you've got to get the leadership out...The next level is "Army-wide conviction." We're starting our second year on that. That is hard. Believe me. With every program I've started, it's been relatively easy to get the leaders on board. It's been harder to get conviction all the way down the line.
And I've learned some stuff as I've built other programs. Have you heard about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness'
One of the things that I've gotten from Soldiers [in talking about stress] is, "General, stop putting us in a theater with 150 of our closest friends and showing us viewgraphs. That doesn't help us come to grips with post-traumatic stress." All this has got to be done at the platoon level. And-as I was thinking about this-it struck me that that's where we ought to be with this. If we're going to have Army-wide conviction, not only does it have to come from the top down, it has got to come from the bottom up. And folks make it happen at platoon level.
As you think about that, recognize it is going to take us a long time. It's got to be both a top down and a bottom up approach.
Now we've been at this for a bit. How are we doing [with sexual assault prevention]' We're about the same as we were five years ago. We've increased about 11 percent in the reports last year, and we're still more than half of the Department of Defense. Now that makes it uncomfortable. But, what I'd tell you is that I'm not focusing on the numbers and I don't want folks out there doing things to adjust the numbers. You know this is the most under-reported crime across the country. I think what we really have to do is create an environment and a culture where every Soldier and Army Civilian rejects sexual assault and is comfortable coming forward to report it. That's where we have to get-environment and culture.
Whenever I see a project, the more sunshine you get on it, the more visibility you have on it, the faster it gets fixed.
Right now, I'm less concerned about the numbers. I expect the numbers may go up.
There are all kinds of estimates floating around. Some say only 18 percent [of the assaults] are reported. I've seen other estimates that say, in the Army, we think we have about a third actually reported. Well that's good. But, we've just got to keep pushing it until everybody rejects sexual assault and is willing to come forward and report it.
So, how do we move ahead' We've got a lot of new programs out there. And, I commend you for what you have done. We're at the point now I think we're starting to get the structure out in the field so that we can begin to implement it.
One of the things that I also notice from these other programs is there's a lot going on out there. And so when we're talking about the requirements, we're talking about the Commander and First Sergeant having to do it. And while we've got to get a little structure there, it's not until we get it down at platoon level where platoon Sergeants are doing it. And you make more money there than you do putting 2,000 Soldiers into theater and have them watch a briefing. So, somehow over the course of the next year or so, we have to make that transition. We have to use the structure we put in place and then push it down into platoon level. And we won't be successful until every leader sees sexual assault as fundamentally contrary to our values...to our Warrior Ethos...
Now, the Warrior Ethos: I want to take it back to something else and talk about it in combat in Iraq. We talked about having an offensive mindset in Iraq, and I think you can get an offensive mindset for this.
For an offensive mindset, we talk about focusing on the enemy and being opportunistic. The enemy is sexual assault. The opportunity we have is that we are a combat-seasoned, resilient force. We're a band of brothers and sisters who have fought in combat. We need to take advantage of that opportunity so that every leader-all the way down to platoon leader level-embraces the need to combat sexual assault. That's where we have to get. And that's where we have to get over the course of this year.
I'm going to ask you to think about three things as you go into your groups, and I'm sure you will have at least ten things you are thinking about.
The three things I want you to talk about and think about in your groups is:
One: How do you build conviction' How do we get in there and break down stereotypes and build conviction in our junior leaders that this is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed'
Two: How do we build and sustain momentum' One of the things I've found with these big programs is it's hard to sustain momentum...You've got to find a way to sustain the momentum of the program-to keep it on people's screens. So I want you to think about that.
Three: I want you to think about how we enhance what we're doing and change the culture. That's what we have to be about-committing ourselves to building irreversible momentum to sustain the structure and stand down sexual assault.
With that, I will stop and ... I'd be happy to take your questions.