George: ‘We’ve Got to Be Ready to Go’

George: ‘We’ve Got to Be Ready to Go’

Gen. Randy George speaks
Photo by: U.S. Army National Guard/Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely

As they travel across the force, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Weimer are reinforcing the importance of an Army that’s focused on warfighting and able to respond to any contingency anywhere in the world.

“Our Army exists to fight and win our nation’s wars. That’s why we exist, that’s why we’re in this uniform,” George said. “We are a global Army. We’ve got to be ready to go anywhere on short notice.”

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, and Weimer, who was sworn in Aug. 4 as the 17th sergeant major of the Army, spoke Sept. 12 at the 2023 Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Moore, Georgia, formerly known as Fort Benning.

Their keynote address was the latest in a series of engagements the leaders have conducted as they travel to meet with soldiers across the Army.

From the rise in sensing—“There’s really nowhere you can hide anymore” on the battlefield, George said—to rapid advancements in unmanned systems, the Army faces an increasingly complex future battlefield, George and Weimer said.

To maintain the Army’s edge, George and Weimer have four focus areas—warfighting, continuous transformation, delivering ready combat formations and strengthening the profession.

“I expect you to focus on what makes you more lethal and cohesive,” George said. “If there are things that are on your training schedule that are not making you more lethal or a more cohesive team, … then you need to have a discussion about taking that off your training schedule.”

Predictability for soldiers and their families is another critical area to work on, George said. “We know we’re going to have to respond to some unforeseen circumstances, but a lot of times, these are self-inflicted because we don’t have good training and maintenance management, so, we’re going to focus on that,” he said.

Weimer agreed, adding that the Army must transform how it develops NCOs, trains and manages time. “You can’t be good warfighters if you don’t take care of your family. You can’t be good warfighters if you don’t take care of your teammates,” he said. “You can’t be a premier warfighter if you don’t manage your time.”

NCOs are responsible for taking care of their soldiers, Weimer said. “Take that ownership,” he said.

Maintaining standards and discipline is another focus for NCOs and leaders. “I think everybody in here knows disciplined units are the units that are successful in combat,” George said. “This is an absolute requirement.”

George urged the audience, which included students in the infantry and armor Basic Officer Leader Courses and the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, to be innovative as they train and prepare. “Most of the great ideas always came from the bottom up,” he said.” What we have to do is capture them.”