US Army Looking to Reverse ‘Downward Slope’ of Readiness

Dr. Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army, and General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army briefing media on the first day of AUSA, Washington DC. (Photo: Andrew Drwiega)

AUSA Day 1: The US Army leadership is emphasising once again the need for readiness and modernisation. The Army Future Forces Command was created with the objective of “developing and delivering future force requirements, designing future force organisations, and delivering materiel capabilities.”

Dr. Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army, and General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army were united in their confirmation that reforms were necessary and that they needed to deliver on the strategies announced 2018 National Defense Strategy. The core of this was to develop a “competitive approach to force development and a consistent, multiyear investment to restore warfighting readiness and field a lethal force.

Gen Milley “When I became Chief of Staff, readiness was on a downward slope,” stated Gen. Milley, adding “because of Congress and the Army we are now on an upward swing. We have not got the readiness yet – but we are in a steady climb from where we were a few years ago.”

Milley stated that modernisation was not something that could be achieved in the short term but, referring to standing-up of Futures Forces Command, said that the reorganisation of the institutional army was a requirement to effectively modernise for the future.

Milley admitted that recruiting objectives had not been met in the previous year, attributing this to a more vibrant economy and highly competitive workforce environment. But he asserted that the Army would not sacrifice quality for quantity.

“The gradual increase in end strength is essential to fill out the Army…achieving up to 90 percent strength, then 95 percent then 105 percent – and then flat line it there.” This was taking into account a five percent non-deployable element within the force. The non-deployable figure had been subject of recent fluctuation in numbers, climbing up to 15 percent at one point, but stated that filling the holes applied to both the operational and institutional Army.

by Andrew Drwiega, Editor