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Senior Enlisted Leaders Acknowledge Military Risks

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Mr. Patrick A. Albright
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Army needs help in a busy and complex world, Sgt. Major of the Army Dan Dailey said Monday in a forum on readiness. “To say that we don’t assume risk in places would just not be true,” Dailey said at a rare Pentagon press conference where he appeared with the Pentagon’s other senior enlisted advisors.

“What I worry about in 2018 is to make sure that we have predictable and consistent funding in order to make sure that our soldiers are resourced appropriately,” Dailey said. "That means being prepared to face immediate threats and those that are emerging," he said.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the joint chiefs, said the combination of 16 years of high operational tempo and unstable budgets has hurt the armed forces. “We have not been able to get after modernization or maintenance like we would like to,” Troxell said.

But even with those challenges, Troxell said he was confident in what he called “three absolutes.” The U.S. can, “defend our homeland and our way of life. It can absolutely meet our alliance commitments and support our partners.” And, it has “warfighting advantages in every warfighting domain.”

Troxell added, as you’d expect from a command sergeant major, that one of the chief advantages of the U.S. is in leadership because, “no other nation in the world empowers and entrusts enlisted leaders like we do.”

The senior enlisted advisors for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard also appeared at the press conference.

The Defense Department is concerned about a rising number of casualties in combat and noncombat incidents, Troxell said in response to a question. “We have had a lot more noncombat-related deaths so we really have to look internally at ourselves with a critical lens to see where we need to get better,” he said.

While this is a serious matter, Troxell said, “I do not think we are in crisis right now.”

Dailey said the same. “I have not had a single soldier tell me in three or four years that we are in crisis.”

“We live in a complex environment,” Dailey said, “That complex environment is going to create, you know, challenges for the military. But we have and continue to overcome each one of those challenges.”