We have been an Army at war for the past decade. Our Army has proven itself in what I consider to be the most difficult conditions this nation has ever faced. I can proudly boast that this incredible Army is truly one Army. Like no other time in recent history, the synergy between our components – Active, Guard, and Reserve – as well as the relationship between Special Operations Forces and conventional forces is as strong as it has ever been, bonded together by a decade of war.
We will work together as we move forward to ensure that these bonds stay very strong.
Our leaders’ focus and our troops’ morale remain high. Our Soldiers continue to bravely fight and defeat the Taliban. At the same time, they remain dedicated to training the Afghan forces and helping them assume responsibility for their own security. Truly, it is our Soldiers that make us Army Strong.
We now have direction for the way ahead with the President and Secretary of Defense publishing their updated strategic guidance. The creation of this strategy was a highly collaborative and inclusive process, in which the Secretary of the Army and myself were deeply involved. The collaboration was unprecedented and a true mark of the great leadership provided by Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey. I am confident it provides the Army the right focus to continue to contribute as the decisive arm of the Joint Force.
We will be an Army in transition over the next five years, or maybe even more. As we face evolving threats and strengthen our future force, we must apply the lessons learned over the past decade.
Going forward, our Army has three principal and interconnected roles in my mind: Prevent, Shape and Win. First, we must prevent conflict. We do this by maintaining credibility. This credibility is based on our capacity, our readiness, and our modernization to avert miscalculation by potential adversaries. Our standing as the most dominant land force on the planet can never be up for debate. We must be able to operate across any operational environment, in a broad mission set, including regular and irregular warfare, stability operations, counterinsurgency, humanitarian assistance, and any other mission that is out there. Second, we shape the international environment through strong military relationships with allies and by building partner capacity. It is through these sustained relationships that we will be able to gain future access when needed. And finally, when necessary, we stand ready to win our nation’s wars. We must win dominantly and decisively.
I have established five priorities for the Army. First, as always, we will continue to provide trained, equipped, and ready forces to win the war in Afghanistan, which will remain the Army’s top priority until the end of 2014. We are totally committed to winning that fight. Second, we will develop the Army for the future as part of Joint Force 2020, a versatile mix of capabilities, formations and equipment. Third, we remain committed to our all-volunteer force. We must continue to fill our ranks with high quality volunteers and retain the right ones. Next, we do a great job of this already, but we will fine tune and adapt our leader development in order to better develop leaders at all levels that will thrive in complex environments. This is based on my thought that strong leaders, well-developed leaders can solve many problems that we face. And finally our Army will reinvigorate our commitment to the Profession of Arms. This is one of the Army’s cornerstones, a noble calling founded on the bedrock of trust.
To help lay this foundation for our Army as we move forward, I have published my marching orders. They outline my intent and guiding principles of where we are headed, and the fundamental characteristics that will get us there. My intent is steadfast and resolute. We will sustain a high-quality, all-volunteer Army that remains the most decisive land force in the world. It will remain the best manned, best equipped, best trained, and best led force that you have ever seen.
The Army has and will remain a vital component of the Joint Force. As we develop this future force, we will ensure it is responsive to Combatant Commanders, providing depth and versatility to our national security decision makers.
We must ensure that our Army, as part of the Joint Force 2020 is: adaptive and innovative, flexible and agile, integrated and synchronized, lethal, but discriminate.
The Army provides depth through a trained and ready land force that includes a viable operational reserve. It is imperative that the Army provide scalable options to meet our nation’s security needs in this complex, dynamic and uncertain global environment.
I thank all of you for your support and dedication. 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 this is what makes us Army Strong.
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno
Army Chief of Staff