Odierno Questions Army's Ability to Maintain Readiness

By Sarah Sicard

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said Oct. 14 the service may not be able to maintain readiness in the face of expected budget cuts.

“For us to achieve the amount of sustainable readiness necessary to meet ever-increasing requirements, we must have consistent readiness funding every single year. And unfortunately that simply has not been the case,” he said at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I have repeatedly testified that the continued accumulation of budget reductions as a result of sequestration requires us to make difficult choices,” he added.

The Army has so far acted accordingly, ”in a time where the velocity of instability is increasing around the world,” he said. In order to operate in similar capacities and maintain its global influence, the Army needs to perform at continuously high levels, he said. This may not be the case in the future, he added.

“We recognize that to deter enemies, reassure allies and influence neutrals, the Army must conduct sophisticated expeditionary maneuvers,” he added.

“We are reducing the size of our ground forces, we are not fully resourcing required readiness and we are slashing our modernization and procurement programs,” he said.

“We should be reinvesting in order to rebuild … a force capable of conducting the full range of operations on land,” he added.

He held that Army training is the primary key to future success.

“Our number one priority is and will continue to be leader development,” he said. “Leader development and optimized soldier performance is directly linked to the Army’s ability to operate in the future.”

He added: “Our investment in leader development is critical as we look to the future operating environment.“

That new environment is one that will be markedly different from anything before seen in warfare.

“This new environment that we think we will be able to have to operate in is one that consists of diverse enemies, which will employ traditional, unconventional, and hybrid strategies to threaten U.S. security.”

Hybrid warfare may be used by state actors and non-state actors including insurgents, criminal groups, and transnational terrorist organizations, he said. 

"We must ensure that the Army stays manned, postured and equipped in order to contribute to the joint force and protect our nation’s interests in the years to come,” he said.

Topics: Defense Department, DOD Policy

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