The Dual Imperatives

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In their Febmary testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, both the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) emphasized the need for the Army to find balance. In his opening statement, GEN George W. Casey Jr. suggested that this balance was centered on four imperatives, two of which are directly in the purview of the G-8 - preparing our forces for success in the current fight and transforming to meet the demands of the 21st century. The senior leaders provided further direction when they published their vision to:

Build an Army which is a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations, operating on a rotational cycle, to provide a sustained flow of trained, equipped and ready forces for full spectrum operations and to hedge against unexpected contingencies - at a tempo that is predictable and sustainable for our all-volunteer force.

Here is an in-progress review of how the G-8 is contributing to these Army-wide efforts.

Preparing Our Forces for Success in the Current Fight

This is the most important aspect of what the G-8 is doing today - supporting our soldiers in Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The G-8 has been intimately involved with the buildup of forces in OEF over the past year as well as the drawdown of forces from Iraq. All the while, we have been supporting our soldiers and commanders by infusing new and relevant capabilities into their battlespace.

In advance of the December 2009 presidential announcement of a 30,000-soldier "surge" in OEF, military planners had been working furiously to come up with the plans to designate, transport and distribute the more than 4.000 major pieces ot equipment necessary to outfit the units scheduled to start arriving less than two months later. These plans had to overcome not only the physics of moving this small mountain of materiel, but also the political, contractual and security challenges of moving equipment into one of the most isolated countries on Earth, as well as the physical and logistical limitations imposed by the small, rustic footprint occupied by coalition forces in the country. U.S. Army Centra/ Command has done a terrific job in executing its portion of the plan, especially since it is simultaneously executing the Iraq drawdown, moving several hundred mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) and other vehicles and support equipment out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. The G-8 has coordinated the movement of more than 2,700 vehicles from the continental United States in support of the surge, most of which have already arrived. This includes more than 1,100 MRAP all-terrain vehicles (M-ATVs), which were specifically designed for the Afghan operating environment, and more than 1,000 armored medium and heavy trucks, all outfitted with the radios, blue force trackers and counter-improvised explosive device (IED) equipment necessary to be combatready upon arrival. The precise execution of this plan allowed these surge units to have the equipment they needed immediately.

Another Herculean effort that the G-8 is supporting is the drawdown from the Iraq theater. In fiscal year (FY) 2010 alone, the Army had projected the need to retrograde more than 18,300 pieces of equipment out of Iraq. As of early July, the Army Materiel Command (AMC)-led effort was right on track, having retrograded more than 11,000 pieces with several thousand more already in the pipeline. To provide some perspective on the magnitude of the task that AMC is executing, in the last week of June alone, more than 4,000 items were turned over by units for retrograde. In support of ensuring that this equipment returning to Army inventories ultimately gets redirected to the right place, Forces Command has done a fantastic job in terms of priority and property accountability during this time of significant equipment movement and redistribution.

In addition, the G-8 has had an important role in providing the soldiers and commanders in the fight with the capabilities they have identified as missing from their kit bags. …