Army Must Prioritize Resources to Maintain Readiness

Army Must Prioritize Resources to Maintain Readiness

Photo by: U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook

The Army has managed to balance its priorities of readiness, modernization and soldiers’ safety during a “challenging” year, senior leaders said.

Despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, junior leaders “found ways to generate readiness” while protecting their troops, according to Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general of Army Forces Command.

“That's a pretty big deal in light of the enduring and emerging requirements that we've lived over the past eight months,” Garrett said Oct. 13 during a contemporary military forum as part of AUSA Now, the Association of the U.S. Army’s virtual annual meeting.

Speaking on the same panel, Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen said the Army needs to be able to operate during the pandemic—a complex but “temporary” condition.

“We cannot discount or ignore the risk associated with COVID-19, but we must ensure we are prepared to operate in the COVID-19 environment,” Jensen said. Right now, more than 22,000 Army Guard soldiers are supporting response efforts for COVID-19, natural disasters and civil disturbances.

Jensen said up to two-thirds of exercises could be “lost” this year because of movement restrictions, but prioritizing time and resources will be critical moving forward.

The Army should prepare soldiers going to combat first, he said, then identify training events that’ll provide near-term readiness a year from now.

“The time and money that we spend on one requirement comes at the expense of another,” Garrett said. “We have to think through how we will continue to prioritize our resources in order to achieve desired readiness requirements.”

While readiness and modernization will “consume” the Army’s intellectual energy, people remain the Army’s top priority, he said.

“We certainly have more to do in terms of our ... performance, our modernization requirements and taking care of our people,” Garrett said.