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Vice Chief: Readiness Means Trade-offs

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U.S. Army
Monday, June 13, 2016

The Army’s call to place a priority on near-term readiness means accepting risks in modernizing weaponry and equipment over the next few years, the service’s vice chief of staff says.

“We can’t have it all—that’s just a raw fact,” Gen. Daniel Allyn said at a June 13 discussion about challenges facing the Army. “In a suppressed fiscal environment, readiness must remain No. 1. That means we have a tendency to consume our readiness as fast as we can generate it, and in many respects, we mortgage our ability to build the force we will need in the near future.” The discussion was hosted by the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Allyn called the Army’s situation “fundamentally … a math problem” that has forced officials to begin considering how to prioritize delivery of new hardware capabilities to fewer units at a time when instability is on the rise in “virtually every combatant command area of responsibility.”

Despite these challenges, and even as the Army has shrunk by 120,000 soldiers since 2010, Allyn said he is satisfied with how the service in recent years has built the leadership experience of tactical commanders to be able to respond to high-intensity combat, should that be necessary.

“What enables me to sleep very well is the quality of the leaders that we have in the United States Army at every echelon,” he said. “On a daily basis, those leaders are performing extraordinary, heroic actions, making tough decisions in very complex and unpredictable environments, and making extraordinary contributions to stability around the globe.”