Right now, the Army has approximately 85,000 Soldiers forward stationed in nearly 150 countries worldwide. A typical day for our Soldiers could be patrolling alongside our Afghan National Army partners, standing watch on the DMZ in Korea, manning missile batteries in Turkey and Guam, delivering humanitarian relief to the Philippines, conducting logistics training in Sierra Leone, securing facilities in South Sudan, and responding to floods, wildfires and tornados across the United States.
The mission of the 7th Infantry Division is to provide trained, ready, disciplined, regionally aligned and globally available brigades prepared for deployment in support of Combatant Commanders. We live that mission daily, as Soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division are currently serving in Korea, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other countries in the Central Command and Africa Command Areas of Operation.
As part of a trained and ready Army we must be able to rapidly deploy, fight, sustain ourselves and win against complex threats in austere environments and rugged terrain. Along with our regionally aligned responsibilities, we must be a prepared and globally responsive force. When we get the call to go, we must be ready.
The first step to being ready is to understand and achieve the standard every single day. We do not have to figure out these standards; many of them are published in Army Regulations. We all must get back into the books to ensure we establish systems that help us achieve these known bench marks.
Systems that are based upon the Army standard will allow units to accomplish routine tasks routinely. When the routine tasks are accomplished on a regular basis, we are able to reduce many distracters and focus training on a higher level of proficiency.
Being ready also requires trained forces. Training across our formation has two focus areas: preparing units to support combatant commands worldwide and developing leaders who can adapt to a complex environment.
To prepare for the future and the full range of military operations, we must focus training on rebuilding our war fighting core competencies. We must conduct tough, realistic training using a mix of live, virtual and constructive methods that efficiently and effectively build Soldiers, leaders and team competencies.
Training young leaders is vital, as they will be the next generation that answers the call whenever it may come. We have an incredibly competent and experience cohort of leaders hardened and educated during more than a decade of war. Developing the next generation of Army leaders who have the individual toughness, battlefield skill and fighting spirit that typify the American Soldier is a critical focus of training.
Prioritization is the final key to unit success. All of you have a lot on your plate and sometimes you just cant do it all. Leaders have to know how to manage the resources available, the most precious resource being time. Leaders must be able to identify the top priorities among the myriad of tasks facing units today and determine the best way to align resources to accomplish these. Use only those resources necessary for the task; then apply the remaining resources to different tasks. This type of assessment and analysis is vital to the success of your team. Leaders who cannot prioritize negatively impact their units when faced with crisis.
Our nations history is to draw down the armed forces after every war. The current plan is to reduce the Army end strength from our wartime high even while we are still engaged in the longest war in our history. The challenge is to reshape into a smaller, yet capable, force under the constraint of reduced budgets while responding to continuing demand for operational Army forces.
Weve learned from previous draw-downs that the price of an unprepared force will always be paid by those who must deploy and respond to the next crisis. Our country faces uncertainty and, because of this, needs a strong Army that is trained, equipped and ready. In the face of this daunting challenge, we have the opportunity to ensure our future Army is grounded in Army doctrine and the Army way of life by focusing on the standard, training our young leaders and Soldiers and prioritizing systems and efforts to achieve that end.
You all amaze me every day with your dedication. I have full faith and confidence that you will ensure our Army is ready for the challenges of the future.
Trust in me!