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A Conversation with the Secretary of the Army

  • 214 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

The new U.S. National Defense Strategy (NDS) highlights the need to confront an increasingly complex global security environment, focusing on great power competition with China and Russia. The Strategy describes an environment impacted by rapid technological advancement, contests in every operating domain, and efforts by potential adversaries to undermine the international order.

But years of underfunding and a heavy operational pace have taken their toll on the force. Last year, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army testified that the Army was “outranged, outgunned and outdated.”

Following his confirmation on November 15, 2017, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper set out to accelerate the Army’s transition to a more lethal, ready force. He has referred to the current Army system of modernization as “Industrial-age” and announced the formation of a new major command, Futures Command, to achieve better unity of command, established Cross Functional Teams to integrate modernization, and has set goal to bring 66% of Army Brigade Combat Teams to high readiness. Longer term, Esper has expressed frustration with the Army’s talent management program and laid down a marker for an improved system. Given the increases in the FY2018 and 2019 Army budgets, it appears that years of underfunding are, at least for the time being, over.

Learn how our nation’s largest military service now intends to meet the expanded needs of the new defense strategy, improve modernization outcomes, and increase readiness of the force.