There are many hallmarks of military service, but one that stands out is change. If you like doing the same thing day after day, year after year, military service is not the best profession to choose. If you stay in the same place for three years, you are nigh unto a homesteader. Even if you are in one place for three years, chances are you will have three jobs during those three years. If you don’t like a boss or a job, just hang on because the boss and the job will change soon enough.
In the Army, the top job of Chief of Staff is normally a four-year stint which has the unique characteristic of having no active duty follow on. It is not up or out, - it is just out. As a former occupant of that position, I can attest to the fact that there is life after a career of Army service.
In a time-honored tradition, the current chief, General George W. Casey, Jr., will soon relinquish his position to a new chief, General Martin E. Dempsey. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has recommended that President Obama nominate General Dempsey to be the 37th Chief of Staff of the Army. Before that change happens of course, Congress will conduct hearings to satisfy itself that General Dempsey will lead the Army in appropriate fashion.
I have known General Dempsey for many years and can tell the Congress that their hearings need not be too time-consuming. In General Dempsey, our Army will get a true warrior-visionary who, with his dynamic leadership ability, unmatched talent and unparalleled organizational abilities, will lead with compassion and a unique awareness of the complexities our officers, noncommissioned officers, soldiers and their families face in these uncertain times. You won’t find a better leader to guide an Army that is fighting two wars and transforming into a Future Force.
On behalf of AUSA’s more than 100,000 members, I congratulate General Dempsey and pledge our support while he leads our Army. At the same time, I wish General Casey well as he concludes more than 40 years of selfless service to our nation and our Army.
He has led the Army during one of the most its most challenging times – fighting the longest war in its history with an all-volunteer force.
During his last appearance as Army chief of staff at an AUSA Institute of Land Warfare breakfast, General Casey described the Army by saying, “We are starting to get healthy again…fundamentally it is a different Army from [the Army] in 2004.” What he did not say, but I can, is that his leadership is the reason for the healthier, new Army we see today.
So change at the top comes to the Army again. It is inevitable and it is good. The Army has been well-led and will be well-led in the future. Hooah!