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Milley: Readiness Improving, But ‘Not There Yet’

 
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Jan. 12, 2017

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley says the Army is making significant strides in improving readiness, but there is considerably more to be done.

“Readiness was our priority last year, that’s our priority this year and by necessity, that needs to continue to be our priority,” Milley said at this year’s first breakfast forum sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare.

In many of the ways that the Army measures readiness, “we have made some significant improvements,” Milley said. “Our equipment statuses are better now than they were, our training is better now, we have units rotating through decisive action rotations, there’s a lot of home station training.

“But we are not there yet,” he said. “We are not at the level of readiness that we need to be at to fully execute the National Strategic Plan to the level that I would be comfortable with. We’ve got more work to do as an Army, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Milley said the Army is still “significantly challenged on the manning front,” and noted that he very much wants to beef up his service’s operational forces. But, he added, gaining authority to bring more soldiers into the force without a budget increase to support them will harm, not help, readiness.

Improvements will continue to take time, he said. “Readiness cannot be produced overnight. It’s something that requires steady, predictable funding over time, and steady effort by the force,” he said.

“I’m confident we’re on the right track, we’ve identified the ways to do it, and we’re moving out. Our obligation to the American people is to be ready to … conduct quality ground campaigns against the enemies of our country.”

Milley also made time to salute outgoing Undersecretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy.

He described Murphy as being “in love with the Army—and that’s not an understatement. This is a guy who’s utterly committed to our soldiers and their families. He’s got boundless energy, he’s absolutely tireless in being an advocate for our soldiers.

“I want to thank you for your leadership,” Milley said.