Providing Relevant and Ready Dominant Landpower Forces

Article excerpt

History will record this as a defining period for the United States Army. Our soldiers engaged hostile enemies in combat, preserved peace on strange frontiers and symbolized American values both at home and abroad. An average of 320,000 American soldiers were deployed to 120 countries this past year in response to their nation's call. This generation of soldiers, like generations before, once again proved to the world that there is no more noble warrior, no better sentinel for freedom and no better champion for peace.

The resiliency of the Army as an institution was also confirmed. While its soldiers executed the global war on terrorism, the Army simultaneously began its most dramatic transformation in 50 years. Winning the war on terrorism is nonnegotiable, and Army Transformation is essential to remaining relevant and ready for the future.

Our nation and its Army are at war. The need for dominant land forces to execute Operations fraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, while maintaining a forward presence in Europe, Asia and Latin America, framed the scope of our 2003-04 global commitments. During the recent transition of forces for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom from January to April, eight of the Army's 10 active divisions and more than 120,000 active and reserve component forces moved into and out of the Central Command theater in Iraq and Afghanistan. This massive transition of forces was the largest rotation of U.S. forces since World War II. This large-scale movement involved seamless coordination with our joint partners from the Air Force, Navy and Marines and showcased our investment in the 15 continental United States power-projection and 12 power-support platforms along with our overseas bases in Europe and the Pacific. The first operational Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) deployed to Iraq last fall. From concept to reality in a period of just four years, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division SBCT represents the beginning of a new era and is tangible evidence of the most important resource we possess: outstanding soldiers, leaders, civilians and partners in industry.

Organizing, equipping and training our deployed and deploying forces continue to be our primary focus. Soldier and aircrew protection was paramount in every decision. All soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are now equipped with individual body armor after changing the basis of issue and increasing production to maximum capacity.

Likewise, to meet increasing combatant commander requirements, Army partners in industry increased up-armored Humvee (UAH) production to maximum capacity; and the Army redistributed its global UAH assets to areas of greatest risk. Where possible, the Army accelerated full operational capability milestones for SBCTs, and Stryker vehicles are now equipped with SLAT armor.

Installation teams are working 24 hours per day to install add-on armor for other wheeled-vehicle types and reactive armor tiles for the M2 Bradley family of tracked vehicles. Aircraft survivability equipment (ASE) was fully funded to make both rotary- and fixed-wing fleets more survivable against the air defense threat, and the Army will accelerate new ASE programs to further enhance aircrew protection.

The Army Strategic Planning Board, formed to support the global war on terrorism, processed more than 750 operational needs statements and approved more than $5.5 billion to support requirements in fiscal year 2003-04. The rapid fielding initiative and rapid equipment fielding programs reached new milestones with recently fielded soldier systems, battle command enablers and vehicle-hardening protective systems, all remaining on track to field deployed and deploying forces with the very best equipment available. Initiatives to reshape and reconstitute Army prepositioned stocks and establish the new Army regional flotilla concept will mitigate risks, improve responsiveness and increase capabilities available to combatant commanders. …