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Garrett: Army Must Modernize or Risk Irrelevance

LTG Michael Garrett greets an attendee at the ILW Forum Readiness panel discussion at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2019.
Gen. Michael Garrett greets an attendee at the ILW Forum Readiness panel discussion at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2019.
Photo by: 
Rebecca Sell for AUSA
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Army is ready to fight today, but it will not be ready for the future fight unless it modernizes the force, Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, said Oct. 14.

After seven months in his job of ensuring the Army is tactically ready, Garrett said, the “Army is ready to fight and win today … but the challenge is, how do we maintain sufficient amounts of readiness to meet our national defense strategy requirements?” 

And the bigger question, he said, is, “how do we ensure that we will be ready for the future fight? To do that ... we have got to modernize our force, or Army risks irrelevance.”

“Modernization is readiness – future readiness,” Garrett said during a forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. While the Army will never back off from its push for readiness, he said, “it may require intermittent shifts from force readiness to modernization.”

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Gen. Michael Garrett listens as an audience member queries the panel at the ILW Forum Readiness panel discussion at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2019.
Gen. Michael Garrett listens as an audience member queries the panel at the ILW Forum Readiness panel discussion at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2019.
(Photo by Rebecca Sell for AUSA)

That view was reinforced by retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, who said the need for future readiness “may justify the importance of investment in modernization.” You can have units with all the necessary personnel and training, “but they would be slaughtered by a force with modern weapons.”

Garrett also said the Army must improve the way it measures readiness, because it is “assessing and evaluating readiness today, very similar to the way when I came into the Army 35 years ago. … There has to be if not a better, certainly a more modern approach.” 

- Otto Kreisher for AUSA