Army Faces ‘Crucial Moment’ in History

Army Faces ‘Crucial Moment’ in History

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth speaks at the opening ceremony for the AUSA 2023 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (Pete Marovich for AUSA)
Photo by: Pete Marovich for AUSA

The U.S. Army is at a critical moment in history, and it must use this moment to ask hard questions and make big decisions, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Oct. 9 in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Association of the U.S. Army’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Exposition.

“It is a crucial moment for the Army to summon our ingenuity, to innovate and invest in emerging technologies, to test and develop in uncharted areas like artificial intelligence and contested domains like space and cyber, to reshape and transform the force to be more adaptable and flexible,” Wormuth said. “We’ve got to ask the tough questions and make the hard decisions on what our force needs to fight in the future.”

The Army needs to think big, she said. “As we pursue the most significant modernization effort in generations, we’re building an Army that can dominate in large-scale multidomain operations.”

She also spoke of still cloaked plans to realign force structure, making certain that in times of challenging requirements the Army can field “the right formations and ensure they are properly manned, trained and able to deliver lethal results.”

Wormuth expects Congress will be briefed on organizational changes in the next few weeks.

Recruiting is another priority. “Simply put, we are changing who we recruit, how we recruit them and who we recruit them with,” Wormuth said. “We’re going to broaden our prospect pool to include more of the available labor force.”

She added, “The United States Army cannot and will not be irrelevant. I am confident that what we’re doing today and in the years ahead will ensure that we remain the greatest land fighting force in the world.”

Wormuth made a continued plea for Congress to pass full-year Army appropriations so it can avoid a looming late-November government shutdown, and to confirm more than 150 Army general officer nominations. Delays are causing “needless uncertainty,” she said, adding that promotion delays are a “discouraging signal.”

Progress is being made on transforming the force with new capabilities, she said. “We've got to continue to embrace innovation and transformation or risk failing to address future threats,” Wormuth said.

“The good news for our Army is that across the force, I see us embracing change, looking to the future and becoming the more modern, more lethal and more adaptive force we need to be in close partnership with industry,” Wormuth said. “The Army has pressed ahead and stayed on track to implement our most ambitious modernization effort in 40 years.”

— Rick Maze