Whether it is defending the country at home or overseas, our nation counts on the United States Army to be the first line of defense. We stand ready to deter and defend around the globe, as the tip of the spear in Europe and the backbone of joint operations in the Indo-Pacific. The Army surges in times of crisis and is ready when called upon to fight and win the nation’s wars.
We are navigating an unpredictable future, and our nation and our Army are at an inflection point. Building on our strong foundational priorities of people, modernization, and readiness, I have defined six objectives to help guide the force through these shifting times. Through these objectives, my goal is to enable the Total Army to achieve specific and tangible outcomes that we can continue to advance in the years ahead.
As we emerge from two decades of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, my first objective is to put the Army on a sustainable strategic path amidst this uncertainty.
The Army must find a way to field the cutting-edge formations we need to conduct multi-domain operations while facing increased fiscal pressures. This means difficult choices must be made to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence with China as the pacing challenge and Russia as an acute threat we also confront.
Charting this path requires a commitment to innovation and experimenting with new ways of operating. The work that is being done in Project Convergence to bring together our sister Services to test new operational concepts and digital technologies is the kind of innovative approach we need to win the future fight.
My second objective is to ensure the Army becomes more data-centric and can conduct operations in contested environments, which will enable our ability to prevail on the future battlefield. Doing so will allow us to embrace emerging technologies to become a more effective and efficient force that can project power in cyberspace and defend our networks, weapons, and data from cyber threats.
My third objective is to continue our efforts to be resilient in the face of climate change. As the planet warms, the polar ice caps melt, and extreme weather becomes commonplace, the Army must adapt its installations, acquisition programs, and training to be able to operate in a changing environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our future readiness depends on it.
The cornerstone of America’s Army is our people. Three of my six objectives are focused on caring for our Soldiers, families, and Army civilians who are the very foundation of Army excellence.
My fourth objective is to build positive command climates at scale across all Army formations. This starts with continued Army leadership and must be developed both from the top-down and the bottom up. Character and culture matter, and I am committed to ensuring that we select the best possible leaders and give them the tools and resources to care for their Soldiers.
My fifth objective is to reduce harmful behaviors in our Army. This is integral to sustaining a positive command climate at scale. We need to shift from responding to harmful events after they have happened to finding ways to prevent them.
To do that we must develop and institutionalize prevention-oriented approaches that year after year will reduce the frequency of harmful behaviors such as sexual harassment and assault, extremist activity, racism, and domestic violence.
We need to do more to prevent suicide in the Army. I call on leaders to continue making clear that there is no stigma associated with taking care of yourself and your family. We should strive to connect our Soldiers with the necessary resources for their wellbeing. The Army is its people, and a strong, healthy, resilient, trained force is the most important indicator of our readiness.
Finally, the Army is the world’s premier land fighting force because we have brought the nation’s best into our ranks. But the talent and recruiting landscape is changing rapidly, so my sixth objective is to strategically adapt the way we recruit and retain talent into the Army in order to sustain the all-volunteer force. We need to tell the Army’s story in new ways to ensure we remain the first choice for Americans who want to serve their country.
We need to reach out to Americans from all backgrounds, talents, and geographies and give them multiple reasons to come in and stay in our great Army. My goal is to help all Americans to be able to see themselves in what the Army has to offer.
I am excited to continue working with Gen. (James C.) McConville, Sergeant Major of the Army (Michael A.) Grinston and senior leaders throughout the force on the extraordinary opportunities that lay before the Total Army. I look forward to hearing from all of you about how things are across the force.
The tasks ahead of us are bigger than any one of us and need every Soldier’s and Army civilian’s efforts if we are to be successful. Army Strong.