AUSA-CSIS Event Focuses on Relevance of Land Power

AUSA-CSIS Event Focuses on Relevance of Land Power

Secretary of the Army Wormuth and Gen. Randy George speak at CSIS - AUSA event
Photo by: CSIS

Land is the domain where battles are decided, and as the world’s premier land power, the U.S. Army will remain a relevant force in any future conflict, the service’s senior leaders said.

At the inaugural event in the Strategic Landpower Dialogue series hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George enumerated the ways in which the Army will remain a winning land power.

“Land is the domain where people live,” Wormuth said. “We have not yet figured out how to get to Mars, we have not yet figured out how to live underwater. People live on the land, and the sovereignty of nations is generally decided on land.”

George, who is nominated to be the next Army chief of staff and is performing the duties of the position while he awaits Senate confirmation, said that “in combat, all the decisive actions happen on land, and I think the Army will continue to be a big part of that.”

The Army, he said, “is going to handle problems at scale, … whether that’s battalion all the way up to corps and theater, that will be the Army. Same for integrated air and missile defense. It’s very, very hard to kill land-based long-range fires hiding in the clutter.”

While skeptics have long claimed that land power is at an end, the critical role of land forces is evident in the “obscene war launched by Russia against Ukraine,” John Hamre, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in his opening remarks.

Wormuth echoed Hamre’s remarks, adding that in Ukraine, where neither side has achieved air superiority and ships have been sunk, land power “remains extremely relevant today,” she said.

The Army also has a role to play in the Indo-Pacific, Wormuth said. In that region, deterrence will be carried out by the Army as “the most enduring manifestation of American combat power in that theater,” she said.

“I do not think that war with China is inevitable, but the way to make sure that we don’t have to fight that war is to deter it,” she said.

Retired Gen. Bob Brown, AUSA president and CEO, noted that “people are always looking for the precise, neat solution, but land power will always be critical.”

As the Army continues to modernize and transform, Wormuth said, it must double down on recruiting as it adjusts its force structure and builds new formations with the right capabilities.

Acknowledging that the “recruiting headwinds are strong,” Wormuth noted that many of the initiatives the Army created over the past year have helped, and she predicted that the service would “finish this fiscal year pretty strong.”

But more change is needed. The Army plans to make some announcements “in the relatively near future” about recruiting changes that will “allow us to take the progress we’ve made this year and build on it so we can get back to a point where we are recruiting 60,000 or more young Americans” each year, Wormuth said.