Milley: Readiness – Army’s top priority – wins, deters wars
Readiness is the Army’s top priority because "readiness wins wars," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said.
Readiness also deters wars by making potential adversaries think twice before attacking, he added.
"Our Army has never been the largest in a war and, at times, we have not been the best equipped," Milley told the Senate Appropriations Committee in late February.
"But since World War II, we have recognized that ready soldiers properly manned, trained, equipped and led, can beat larger or more determined forces whether confronting the barbaric arts of ISIS or the desperation of North Korea. Our Army must be prepared to execute and to win," he said.
Milley’s comments came in defense of a budget that would increase operations and maintenance spending from $43.8 billion this fiscal year to $45.2 billion in fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1. Those totals include the base budget and overseas contingency funds.
The Regular Army would receive $35.4 billion in fiscal 2017, a $1.2 billion increase over the current 2016 budget.
This includes money for 19 combat training center rotations, maintaining 30 brigade combat teams, and converting one Stryker brigade into an infantry brigade. It also increases funds for depot maintenance and prepositioned stocks.
The Army National Guard would receive $6.9 billion for readiness in 2017, a $300 million increase over 2016. The Army Reserve would receive $2.7 billion, about the same as current year funding.
"We train like we fight, and our Army must always be ready to fight tonight," Milley said.
But he quickly added that not having to fight is a good thing.
"Readiness deters our most dangerous threats. We are reminded, with alarming frequency, that great power conflicts are not dead. Today, they manifest on a regional basis."
Adding, "Both Russia and China are challenging America’s willingness and ability to enforce international standards of conduct.
"A ready Army provides America the strength to deter such actions."