FORT BLISS, Texas (Nov. 17, 2011) -- Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, visited Fort Bliss Nov. 17, where the Army is testing systems that will make up the network of tomorrow.

"It's been about two months since I became the chief of staff but a long time since I've been to Bliss," said Odierno. "I wanted to look at the things happening here."

Odierno became the 38th CSA in September. His visit to Fort Bliss included going to White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to review the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, sessions with brigade and battalion commanders and he received updates on the family and Soldier supports programs here.

The NIE is a key piece in the Army's modernization programs, said Odierno.

The NIE is comprised of a series of semi-annual field exercises designed to evaluate deliberate and rapid acquisition solutions to integrate and mature the Army's tactical network. Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and the Brigade Modernization Command conduct the tests.

During his visit, Odierno addressed the current budget cuts and possible effects on the Army and Fort Bliss.

"The budget cut will restructure how we do business," said Odierno. "Everyone will be affected, though Fort Bliss will see minimal changes."

Odierno said it is important to lower Army costs and work on the overall budget.

Fort Bliss' energy projects and goal of reaching Net Zero by 2015 is projected to save tax payers approximately $2.8 million a year.

"Renewable energy will help us save," said Odierno. "Fort Bliss' renewable energy project is leading the way in renewable energy."

With the brigade modernization and the renewable energy Fort Bliss is vital to the Army, said Odierno.

Before leaving Fort Bliss, Odierno attended a reception with Fort Bliss leaders, El Paso civic and business leaders and representatives from the Association of the U.S. Army.