AUSA News: Lethality, Readiness Top Priorities for New Army Chief
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Recently confirmed Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George outlined his four priorities for the service at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference Oct. 9.
The number one purpose of the Army is to defend the United States, “and that's what everybody expects our Army to be able to do, to be absolute experts at our warfighting mission. And so, I will have an incredible focus on making sure that we can do that,” George, who was confirmed as chief of staff Sept. 21, told reporters at the conference.
George’s first focus area for the Army is building cohesive teams, which he said ensure lethality and preparation to conduct warfighting missions. He has been asking Army commanders for feedback “on how we can stop doing things that don't contribute to lethality and building cohesive teams.”
His second focus area, delivering ready combat formations, involves a number of factors, such as magazine depth, maintenance and ensuring soldiers have the information they need on a daily basis, he said.
Building up magazine depth will require “putting a lot of effort into our industrial base,” George said. The Army announced Oct. 6 it had awarded contracts worth $1.5 billion to increase production capacity and inventory of 155mm artillery munitions.
“We have recognized here for quite some time that we need to get after building up our industrial base and making sure that we have magazine depth,” he said.
The service is in the process of determining if and what it will provide Israel following the attack by the militant organization Hamas on Oct. 7, and George said he is confident the Army can provide whatever is needed.
On maintenance, the Army has acknowledged that “we're servicing our vehicles too much,” George said. “By making some very simple, common-sense changes,” the Army is hoping to reduce its maintenance workload by 632 man-years, he said.
Regarding soldier information, the Army Software Factory at Army Futures Command is developing an app to give soldiers information on and access to the resources that are available to them, he said.
“We want to make sure we can communicate with our soldiers and families,” he said. For example, if a soldier is transferred to a new base and needs to know how to get in the gate or the location of different buildings, they can use the app to get up-to-date information, such as “which gate has too much traffic … So, what we're trying to do is do things that will help improve the lives of our soldiers and families.”
George’s third focus area is continuous transformation, he said. The Army has set ambitious modernization goals such as its commitment to have 24 technologies in the hands of soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2023, and along with George, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth emphasized the need for the service to continue to innovate and transform.
Between World War I and World War II, the Army “really made some important strides in innovation — and I hope that we're not in an interwar period now, but you never know — and I think it’s our responsibility as leaders to make sure that we are innovating in terms of our modernization programs, innovating in terms of our force structure and frankly reinventing how we recruit, since our recruitment efforts are the foundation of the Army house,” Wormuth said.
“This is a crucial moment for the Army to summon our ingenuity, to innovate and invest in emerging technologies, to test and develop in uncharted areas like artificial intelligence and contested domains like space and cyber, to reshape and transform the force to be more adaptable and flexible,” Wormuth said during keynote remarks at the conference. “We've got to ask the tough questions and make the hard decisions on what our force needs to fight in the future.”
In the last year, the Army has “moved dozens of systems into advanced prototyping, production or fielding,” she said. “This steady process shows we can and will succeed on critical modernization programs. With the introduction of each new system, we continue our force's capability to respond to various threats and serve as a credible deterrent against our adversaries.”
Additionally, the service announced sweeping changes to its recruitment enterprise Oct. 3, including expanding its focus to a larger share of the youth labor market, creating a specialized talent acquisition workforce and initiating an experimentation and learning capability, according to an Army release.
George said continuous transformation doesn’t just involve equipment. “It's about making sure that your education is changed to make sure you're training people for the new environments that they're in, both at units in the professional military education and what we need to do to adapt our acquisition processes to make sure that we're doing things quicker.”
The fourth focus area, strengthening the Army profession, is the “foundation to everything,” he said. “Discipline is the foundation of any good unit,” whether in war or peacetime, and the Army is focused on maintaining discipline standards, he said. George said the service has rolled out a new initiative called the Harding Project to renew the Army’s professional publications.
Wormuth said she and George “have already built a close working relationship this past year while he was serving as our vice chief. I look forward to building on that foundation and leading our Army together as a united team.
“Although I was pleased that the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Gen. George last month, I am keenly aware that there are another 150 Army general officers whose nominations are stalled because of the blanket hold that's still in place,” she continued. “This hold is hurting our military readiness and causing needless uncertainty for those officers and their families. … It is long past time for the hold to end and for our exceptional nominees to be confirmed.”
Wormuth also urged Congress to “provide more budget certainty for the Army and the rest of the Department of Defense by passing a full-year appropriations bill.
“Under a short-term continuing resolution, we face a host of challenges — and as you all know, we're confronting the possibility of another government shutdown in mid-November,” she said. “These issues can be distracting and time-consuming for those of us in Washington, but I'm proud to say that through all of this … our soldiers across all three components remain focused on mastering their warfighting skills, building relationships with our allies and partners, deterring our adversaries and defending this nation.”
Topics: Army News