One year ago, I published "Marching Orders" to outline my intent and priorities for sustaining our high-quality, All-Volunteer Army and to describe my guiding principles and the fundamental characteristics of the future force.
The purpose of "Waypoint #1" is to highlight the progress of Army initiatives, programs, and modernization efforts over the past 12 months and provide greater detail on where we are going this year.
Like a navigational aid, it marks our current location and orients the force for the next leg of the journey.
We remain fully committed to current operations while ensuring the Army remains the world’s preeminent land force, capable of many missions, at many speeds, in many sizes, under many conditions.
Where we are
First, Afghanistan remains our top priority; we will ensure that the nearly 60,000 Soldiers deployed there are fully trained, equipped, and ready for the current fight even as we prepare for the force drawdown and retrograde.
Second, to be better prepared for the complex environment of the future, we are refocusing our training on the core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security.
Third, as we manage the deliberate reduction in end strength, we are looking to refine our Brigade Combat Team structure based on our experiences in combat. We are also adapting our force generation process to better harness the unique strengths and capabilities of the Total Army.
Finally, we are preserving our collective lessons learned by capturing our experiences over the past eleven years of war in new doctrine and updates to our professional military education system.
The road ahead
As we move towards the future, our Army begins from a position of strength. We have the most experienced and combat ready force in our Nation’s history.
To build the Army of tomorrow, we will increase our responsiveness to Combatant Commanders through the regional alignment of forces.
Our modernization strategy will provide the Soldier and squad with the equipment, vehicles, and integrated network necessary to ensure tactical overmatch in all situations.
Our Ready and Resilient campaign integrates multiple Army programs to promote the comprehensive fitness of our Soldiers, civilians, and their families in each stage of their career of service.
Finally, we will expand our strategic leadership education and opportunities to ensure we develop leaders with the breadth and depth of experience necessary to meet tomorrow’s demands.
Adapting for the future
Waypoint #1 highlights a wide range of initiatives already underway to improve the current force and set the conditions for the Army of tomorrow.
From our force’s organization and development to its employment and sustainment, what unifies each of these initiatives is the centrality and the empowerment of the U.S. Army Soldier in the accomplishment of our mission at home and abroad.
Becoming a force capable of engaging around the world requires a modernization strategy that is centered on the Soldier and the squad.
The Army Network provides an overarching network architecture that connects all echelons – from squad to brigade to joint task force – to ensure leaders have the right information at the right time to make the best possible decisions.
It includes network-ready combat and tactical wheeled vehicle fleets designed to maneuver our formations with increased lethality and mobility, while optimizing survivability.
Programmed aviation improvements will improve the mobility and responsiveness of our special operators, conventional forces, and our partners.
In total, our modernization efforts will prepare the entire force for the complex and uncertain battlefield by putting squads with precise information and overmatch capability at the decisive time and place to achieve dominance of the operational environment.
Together, our Army initiatives, programs, and modernization efforts will ensure that the Army is ready today and prepared for tomorrow to be the Nation’s force of Decisive Action.
As we set our sights on the road ahead, I thank all of you for your service and dedication to the Army.
The strength of our Nation is our Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our Families; and that is what makes us Army Strong.
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno
Chief of Staff of the Army
(Editor’s note: A copy of the "CSA’s Marching Orders: Waypoint #1" can be found at http://www.army.mil/leaders/csa/)