NCO Corps will be the key as Army transitions to the Future Force

Monday, April 01, 2013

"Seems to me I’ve Heard this Song Before," is the title of one of Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan’s favorite songs and is how he began his remarks to the students of the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Much to everyone’s relief, he did not sing it for the class. And he’s right: America’s Army has been through this before, not the same, precise set of circumstances, but close.

As our national leadership sorts out our latest financial problem du jour, America’s Army must and will adjust accordingly.

We must learn (relearn) to do more with less.

Our Army in 2013 is an "Army in Transition." And just as in years past, the Noncommissioned Officers Corps will be key. Our great noncommissioned officers will once again hold us together as we face an uncertain future.

Sullivan shared his experiences as a former Army chief of staff, and his thoughts on what the future may hold.

Class 63, whose motto is "All In," was all ears.

Six-hundred-forty-eight students, including 41 international students were on hand for what has become a very popular annual noncommissioned officer professional development session at the Sergeants Major Academy.

A few hands shot up in response to the question: "How many of you jumped into Panama in 1989?"

More hands went up when the same question was asked about the Balkans, Haiti, Desert Storm and the long list of things our Army has been asked to do for the last 25 years.

The point is: Our world-class Army was moving at 100 miles an hour long before 9/11.

Our senior noncommissioned officers have been all in for the last quarter of a century. And, I’m not sure that our national leadership and the American people understand and appreciate that fact.

America’s Army is without question the "Strength of the Nation," and if we cut too deeply, we are in danger of making the same mistakes of the past.

We can’t let our guard down because to do so in these perilous times would jeopardize that strength. And, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that we are still an Army at war supporting a nation at war.

Read that: We have soldiers in harm’s way!

As a great man once said: "No more Task Force Smiths."

And, I guess we should update it by saying: "No more 9/11s."

We must maintain a high state of readiness within America’s great Army and when called upon, we must be victorious. The citizens of America expect nothing less.

The senior noncommissioned officers of Class 63 and the many soldiers and noncommissioned officers they have trained have the future of our Army in their hands.

I have every confidence that we will once again rise to the challenge; the backbone of the Army will make it happen.

To the students of Class 63 and all of our great soldiers that you represent – active, guard, and reserve – just let me say: "Thank you for your selfless service to the nation. Thank you for what you do and for what you will do to ensure that no matter what happens, we will remain a world-class Army."

And, thank you for your support of AUSA.

Remember: "Tough times don’t last, tough soldiers do."

PS: If you ever needed a reason be a member of the AUSA team, just pick up any newspaper.

AUSA has – for over 63 years – been a voice for the Army and provided support to the soldiers and their families.

We need AUSA now more than ever!

Still Serving!