Active-Duty End Strength Above 500,000 Top Priority for Army
Contributed by Debbie Gregory
Major modernization reforms are underway in the Army to create leaner and faster processes. In fact, modernization and adding more active-duty, Guard and Reserve soldiers are among the Army’s top priorities for 2020, according to Army Secretary Mark Esper.
Although Secretary Esper is the civilian head of the Army, he has considerable experience on the ground. A graduate of West Point, he deployed to Operation Desert Storm, and was part of the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
“For me, the big picture is continued support from Congress in regard to our modernizations initiatives, particularly the stand-up of Army Futures Command,” Esper said. “The second is improving the capacity and capability of the Army, and that means continuing to grow end strength.”
Secretary Esper’s objectives, in his own words:
“We must grow the regular Army above 500,000 soldiers with associated growth in the Guard and Reserve. And we must recruit and retain the very best.”
“We must ensure adequate quantities of Infantry, Armor, Engineers, Air Defense, Field Artillery…Our units from Brigade through Corps must also be able to conduct sustained ground and air intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and cyber operations. And we must have aviation combat support and robust logistics available to all formations.”
“We must be focused on high-intensity conflict, again, in urban terrain, under persistent surveillance, and in electronically degraded environments. It must incorporate battlefield innovation and continuous movement to frustrate enemy observation and intelligence collection. And it must include combined arms maneuver with the joint force, as well as our allies and partners.”
“We have identified six modernization priorities; I am sure you’ve heard of them. They are in order: First, long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, the network, air and missile defense, and the one closest to my heart, soldier lethality.”
“We must reform our outdated personnel system to one that develops smart, thoughtful, innovative leaders of character who are comfortable with complexity and are capable of operating from the tactical up to the strategic level.”