Soldier Readiness Remains High Despite Challenges

Soldier Readiness Remains High Despite Challenges

Photo by: U.S. Army/Kevin Sterling Payne

The Army continues to have trained and ready troops and units despite cultural and fiscal challenges and busy operational requirements, the commander of Army Forces Command said.

Gen. Michael Garrett, who took command of Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, two years ago, said his top responsibility is to provide troops to “fight tonight,” but he and his team also have worked hard to create opportunities for important conversations between leaders and soldiers across the force and provide stable and predictable deployment cycles.

“We’ve asked a lot of our Army, a lot of our soldiers. They may not be deploying in the same numbers to the Middle East, but we’ve been deploying the same numbers to Europe, we’ve increased the deployments to the Pacific” for brigade combat teams, aviation brigades and support brigades, Garrett said April 16 during a virtual meeting with reporters organized by the Defense Writers Group.  

Pointing to the independent review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, Texas, the renewed efforts to root out extremism and the importance of getting soldiers to talk about the internal culture in their units, Garrett said he has engaged with soldiers of all ranks by joining them for their morning physical training and having deliberate conversations afterward.

“We have over 1 million soldiers in our Army, 485,000 in the active component, and most of our soldiers every single day represent the absolute best of our country,” he said. “There are folks out there that don’t necessarily live up to our values, so we’re taking time to provide opportunities for leaders to know their soldiers better, and I really do believe this is the change.” 

Though Garrett acknowledged that the favorable funding the Army has received in the past two years may change, he thinks there are ways “for us to be more efficient in how we think about readiness.”

“I’m not overly concerned about the resources that we’re going to have, and predictable funding is what all of us need, because once you tell me what we have, then we can tell you what we’re going to be able to deliver readiness-wise,” he said, expressing confidence that his “bosses,” the secretary and chief of staff of the Army, will “fight for the resources that we need to maintain our readiness.”