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waiting for orders, and they will fight, and they will win decisively this war on terrorism and any other we might ask them to fight.
I am daily reassured of my assessment. America's Army remains the most respected land power to our friends and allies and the most feared ground force to those who would think about threatening the interests of the United States.
We want to project that degree of respect and readiness of this great Army we have today into the future. To do so, over the last three plus years, we have described a need to be more responsive, more deployable, an Army that is more agile and versatile, an Army that is as lethal as this great Army is today and more survivable but a lot more sustainable to reduce our foreign footprint.
Three and a half years ago, we knew that there was a war in our future. We didn't imagine what the situation would be today, but we knew there was a war some time in our future. We just didn't know when, where or against whom. The relative predictability that I guess we may say we got used to during the years of the Cold War, that relative predictability had given way during the 1990s to a continuing chaos of unpredictability. Voices inside and outside the Army suggested a need for change, and some of those voices were right here.
Because of that fundamental nature of change, it was more than just modernizing a platform or two. It asked for the Army to take a fundamental, comprehensive look at itself and make some decisions. We didn't call it modernization. We decided to call it Transformation because it was so broad reaching and would reach for a long period of time. With the unwavering support of the Administration and this Congress, we are transforming today rapidly to be more capable of dominating any future crises.
To mitigate the risk that is inherent in any comprehensive change, no matter the institution, we structured Army Transformation along three broad and mutually supporting vectors. There is a near-term, a mid-term and a distant far-term vector.
On the near-term axis, we- preserve the readiness of today's legacy fighting force to fix the long-standing operational gap between the light and the heavy components of today's Legacy Force.
We created a requirement for an interim capability which has come to be called the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. We are fielding six of them. We have described the requirement for six. We have put aside the funds to do that. That is on the mid-term axis.
Ana it is on the third and final axis that we are readying the Army for the long term. We are developing future concepts and technologies that will provide consistent capabilities of overmatch through the middle of the century.
Our Future Combat System Milestone B Defense Acquisition Board decision. This first acquisition decision comes up in May of this year, and we intend that that will be a successful event, and we intend to begin fielding the Future Combat System in 2008.
Our Secretary White has noted balancing these requirements over time dictates difficult but prudent choices. Recognizing the constraints that come with finite resources, the Army has had to make and we believe we have made prudent calls on how to balance those risks. We have terminated and restructured programs to help fund Transformation to the degree we can from our own internal resources, carefully weighing the operation of the demands of today's missions while preparing for the future.
Your support, which has been vital, will continue to be vital as we explain to you why we are doing the things we are and to gain your understanding and support as we go forward.
FISCAL YEAR 2004 BUDGET REQUEST
The Army's fiscal year 2004 budget strikes the essential balance to maintain readiness throughout the Program Objective Memorandum, POM, period and beyond. We are confident that we have done that well.
We are already seeing dividends from our own investments in future readiness. Monies that we have invested in the last three years are generating technologies that are coming on-line early today: Superior body armor for dismounted soldiers today, robots in caves and antitank warheads on unmanned aerial vehicles today, unprecedented blue force tracking capabilities today.
Then, most recently, during the last joint exercise, the largest joint exercise in our history, something called Millennium Challenge 2002. With the help of the United States Air Force, the Army air-delivered a Stryker platoon onto a dirt strip in a place called Fort Irwin, California. Just three years after the Army described its requirement for an Interim Force, we are demonstrating increased strategic operational and tactical versatility that Stryker Brigade Combat Teams will provide to combatant commanders.
This summer the first Stryker Brigade Combat Team will join us on the war on terrorism. So it is not just about capabilities we intend to field in 2000 and beyond. It is also about enabling soldiers fighting this war on terrorism and preparing for any future mission we may give to them. It is about reducing the operational risk borne by our soldiers today and in the future.
Now, having said all of this, Mr. Chairman, people remain the engine behind all of our magnificent moments as an Army. That has been true throughout the 200-plus year history of this Army. It is true today. It will continue to be true in the future.
Their well-being is inextricably linked to our readiness. Thanks to your help on things like pay, health care, retirement benefits, housing and other well-being programs, we are doing better than ever at taking care of our people. Our soldiers, our civilians, our veterans, our retirees and their family members appreciate your support more than I can say. We are grateful for your unwavering, bipartisan leadership and for your unyielding devotion to our soldiers. With your continued strong support, we will win this war against global terrorism. We will meet our commitment to our friends and allies. We will remain ready to contend with the unpredictability. There are certainly unpredictable events in our future, and we will transform ourselves for those decisive victories on future battlefields. You keep us the most respected land force in the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to your questions.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, General Shinseki.
[The joint statement of Secretary White and General Shinseki follows:]
THE HONORABLE THOMAS E. WHITE
GENERAL ERIC K. SHINSEKI
CHIEF OF STAFF
UNITED STATES ARMY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEFENSE
COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ON THE POSTURE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY
FIRST SESSION, 108TM CONGRESS
MARCH 12, 2003
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNTIL RELEASED BY THE
CHIEF OF STAFF
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to report to you today on the Posture of the United States Army.
America's armed forces are the most powerful in the world. And America's Army remains the most respected landpower to our friends and allies and the most feared ground force to those who would threaten the interests of the United States.
Since before the birth of the Nation, American Soldiers have instilled hope in a noble dream of liberty. They have remained on point for the Nation through nine wars, and the intervals of peace in the years between – defending the Constitution and preserving freedom. Magnificent in their selfless service, long in their sense of duty, and deep in their commitment to honor, Soldiers have kept the United States the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is our legacy. Our Soldiers who serve today preserve it.
In October 1999, we unveiled our vision for the future – “Soldiers, on point for the Nation, transforming this, the most respected army in the world, into a strategically responsive force that is dominant across the full spectrum of operations." The attacks against our Nation on September 11, 2001, and the ensuing war on terrorism validate The Army's Vision - People, Readiness, Transformation - and our efforts to change quickly into a more responsive, deployable, agile, versatile, lethal, survivable, and sustainable force.
While helping to fight the Global War on Terrorism, The Army is in the midst of a profound transformation. Readiness remains our constant imperative - today, tomorrow, and the day after. Transformation, therefore, advances on three broad axes: perpetuating The Army's legacy by maintaining today's