FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- "The U.S. Army has become a Family business for many of us, with our sons and daughters also now serving," said Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston to those gathered at the meeting of the Alamo Chapter of the Association of the United States Army at the Sam Houston Club Jan. 7.

"Today's Soldiers bring unmatched skills, far beyond their MOS (Military Occupation Specialties).

They also bring their values to the Army, and those values started at home," Preston added. "We now have 230,000 Soldiers deployed in 80 countries around the world. I am very proud of their service and what they do for the Army and for our nation."

In addition to attending the AUSA luncheon, Preston was also in San Antonio to take part in activities related to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome Jan. 8. He awarded the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award to East running back Demetrius Hart during the game and also presented the Herman Boone Championship Trophy to the winning East team after the game.

"In February 2010, we had the Quadrennial Defense Review which concluded that the U.S. military must balance resources and risk among four major objectives," said Preston, who serves as the Army Chief of Staff's personal adviser on all enlisted-related matters, particularly in areas affecting Soldier training and quality of life.

The QDR is a legislatively-mandated review of Department of Defense strategy and priorities. The QDR will set a long-term course for DOD as it assesses the threats and challenges that the nation faces and re-balances DOD's strategies, capabilities, and forces to address today's conflicts and tomorrow's threats.

"The first is to prevail in today's wars and protect against counterinsurgency strikes. Second, we must engage other nations to increase their capacity and help countries to protect themselves," said the sergeant major, who has served as the U.S. Army's top enlisted leader since Jan. 15, 2004.

"Third, we need to partner with non-government organization, home and abroad, like with the Red Cross' efforts in Haiti, where 5,500 Army Soldiers were there to help the country recover from their devastation.

"We also need to be able to defeat hybrid threats and hostile states," said Preston, a Mount Savage, Md., native who is the longest serving Sergeant Major of the Army. "There are many organizations trying to bring about our downfall."

"Now is the time to be a recruiter for the U.S. Army," Preston said on a lighter note. "There is a waiting list to enter the service and we can be proud as we look to the future."