Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey told a gathering of U.S. Army Reserve senior leaders they must execute the Army’s core mission of fighting and winning.
In order to do that, Dailey said leaders must maintain readiness, look to the future of the Army, and take care of soldiers and their families.
He shared his initiatives that echo the priorities of the Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, at the U.S. Army Reserve Senior Leader Conference at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Iron Mike Conference Center.
“At the end of the day, if we fail to do anything else, if we fight and win, we have accomplished our mission for the taxpayers of the United States of America, and have done our part for the joint force of the Department of Defense,” Dailey said.
Dailey said that readiness is the number one in priority in the Army.
“As the sergeant major of the Army, our number one soldier problem across the Total Force is personal readiness,” he said.
Adding, “I know we all have different MOSs (Military Occupational Specialties) and we all are in different roles, but at the end of the day, the first and the last soldier in the United States Army will be behind the trigger. And every soldier has to get on the line and fight.”
Dailey said America hasn’t played a “home game” since World War II, when the Aleutian Islands in Alaska were invaded.
“We have no intention of playing a ‘home game’ so if you’re not on the ‘away bus’ you’re not on the team,” Dailey said. “We pay soldiers to do one thing – fight and win.”
Dailey said leaders should do a better job of addressing the issue of soldiers who are non-deployable.
“We’ve got to get our hands around this deployable problem,” he said.
He added, “What I ask you to do is write down the number of acceptable non-deployables in the United States Army and hand it to me. The goal should be that 100 percent of the Army is deployable. That is the only number you should be writing down.”
Dailey said the secretary of the Army recently signed a memo stating that soldiers are either deployable or non-deployable, and leaders should not go to a unit if they are not fully able to deploy with that unit.
“We can’t do it because what we have found is there is a high probability of individuals in that organization will be non-deployable as well,” he said.
Noting, “We have to take a hard look at this. We have to look internally at whether or not we are ready to fight and win and what we are projecting to our soldiers as a readiness model to ensure we are successful in the future.”
Along the lines of readiness, Dailey said the Army has to take back individual and collective training and put in the hands of noncommissioned officers.
For the reserve components (U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard), Dailey said he and the chief have to look at how to raise the number of training days, saying it was a tough subject.
“We are looking at some creative ways. We have to reduce the mandatory training tasks. That has a huge effect on the reserve component,” he said.
“They come in for their training cycles and they spend a lot of that time just doing a list of things that we [the Army] say they have to do that are more important. But so is fighting and winning. We are looking at that very hard. The [Army] G-3/5/7 is leading a Herculean effort to get rid of some of those things. Some of that is DoD policy, some of that is regulation, and some of that is law. So we’ve found ourselves in a situation where we have to review the entire thing.
“The good news is the chief of staff of the Army has given commanders authority to use mission command to delegate that authority down to be able to say: ‘You need to focus on those things that are most important to your organization.’”
When looking to the future of the Army, Dailey said he looks to people, not gadgets and widgets. Dailey cited initiatives in enlisted and NCO professional development, talent management, and establishing the Army University.
“We are not the only trained and educated enlisted force in the world anymore,” he said.
In 2005, the People’s Republic of China reorganized their entire military education system for enlisted and officers, committing to train and educate their senior NCOs to the three-year collegiate level, he said.
“We are not there. And that was a decade ago,” Dailey said, adding that Russia is doing the same thing with educating their enlisted force.
“So we’ve got to continue to focus on this. Not just focus on it but figure out how we maintain pace on our adversaries as we professionally educate and train our force – officers, warrant officers, and enlisted. We lived under the glory of having the best professional military education system. But I’ll tell you, our adversaries or potential adversaries have learned from us for many years.”
Adding, “That’s why Army University is so important. For many years we’ve been training and educating our soldiers with world-class capabilities but not giving them any [college] credit for it for whatsoever. If we don’t give ourselves academic credit, nobody is ever going to do it.
“With Army University, it would combine all of our academic resources into one homogenous organization and give us the ability to issue the degree.
“That’s the power that we don’t have over our academic partners – we don’t have the power to issue a degree.”
He said the Army is not looking to build mechanical engineers or business leaders but the Army can “stake claims on things like leadership. Many of these [academic] organizations have come to us to use our curriculum and then turn around and give credit for training that we’re giving every single day.”
Dailey said he would be meeting with the Department of Education officials to further discuss how Army University can become a reality.
His final initiative is taking care of soldiers and their families. He said he tells young soldiers that we owe it to Americans to give them a better chance at life.
“So it requires everyone one of us to be deployable. It requires everyone of us to get behind a rifle and selflessly serve,” Dailey said. “It requires the same motivation of those individuals approaching Omaha Beach and waiting for that ramp to go down on Wave 1 on D-Day.”
He said that none of us would have what we have today if those men had no gotten in those landing craft.
“We engage in the crucible of ground combat with the enemy and it is a nasty, dirty business,” he said. “Sometimes we forget that. And that is why we are here – to preserve that – to take care of people.”
He said studies have shown the number one reason young Americans join the military today is to go to college, not because of sense of service.
Dailey said while serving in the military is still perceived by the majority of Americans as an honorable service, the perception of serving in the Army is the lowest of all the uniformed services.
“This is unsustainable, just like non-deployables,” Dailey said.
“We have to get back at becoming an organization that people want to join – and recruiting is not easy right now, it’s hard.”
He also said too often when a soldier is getting out of the Army and they have done a good job, the soldier is not given enough recognition and help to make their transition back to civilian life better.
“We have to really take a hard look into how we are sending our soldiers off to our great communities out there,” Dailey said.
Adding, “Because we are relying on them to regenerate the next soldier who wants to serve.”
U.S. Army Reserve Command