|White: Army, Soldiers Ready for War on Terrorism |
White: Army, Soldiers Ready for War on Terrorism
By Joe Burlas, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) September 21, 2001 -- While the Army stands ready to decisively conduct a sustained land warfare campaign in support of the country's new war on terrorism, it is looking for ways to accelerate getting the six authorized interim brigades equipped and trained, Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White told reporters during a Pentagon media conference Sept. 20.
In fact, the Army is already deploying soldiers to the Persian Gulf region along with the aircraft and crews the Air Force started sending Sept. 19, he said. Citing operational security concerns, White said he was not ready to identify which units are on the move.
"I would remind you that the president and the secretary of Defense have made it clear that we are in a campaign, that this is a multi-faceted campaign, aimed at destroying international terrorism from a number of different perspectives -- economic, political, military, operational, communication," White said. "...The Army is engaged and is fully ready to execute its part of that campaign as it flows up. We have wonderful soldiers and they are trained and ready and confident that we will, in fact, get on with this as a part of our joint team."
And that campaign includes strategic mobility which the Army's new Interim Brigade Combat Teams are designed to improve with lighter armored vehicles that are more easily transported via airlift than the heavier combat vehicles currently in the Army's traditional legacy force. That means getting the six authorized IBCTs the equipment and training they need as quickly as possible, White said.
"I would say that the (fiscal year) '03 POM build will have things in it that we intended in our Transformation to emphasize anyway because they are totally relevant to the post-September 11 environment we face," White said. "...You will see transformational technologies that we think are directly relevant to this asymmetric threat environment, and they will be front and center in the POM development."
The Program Objectives Memorandum, more commonly referred to as the POM, is the planning document that details what Army requirements will be two to three years out for budgeting purposes.
Just because the military is preparing for war and Congress has approved a $40 billion supplement for homeland defense and disaster relief at the Pentagon and World Trade Center doesn't mean the services' senior leaders believe they have a blank check to do whatever they want, White said. They still plan to conduct another round of base closures and review weapons acquisition to see which systems might be put on hold, he said, while the Army will move forward on consolidating it's staff directorates and Army Secretariat into one streamlined organization.
"Let me be very clear that we have a bunch of initiatives on better business practices that we as service secretaries, in particular as the business managers of the departments, are pushing hard on," White said. "...We have to drive the business case to squeeze every last dollar of inefficiency out of this if we're going to buy the capability that we think is necessary."
The secretary talked briefly about his visit Sept. 19 to New York City, calling his stop at the World Trade Center disaster site a sobering experience and mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani an incredible leader. He said the emergency preparedness officials he met were "quite pleased with the support we've provided."
White touched on his recent trip to Germany, Bosnia and Kosovo in the week prior to the terrorist attacks where he said he saw National Guard and Reserve soldiers working seamlessly with their active Army counterparts.
"You had to cheat a little bit and look at the (unit) patch on the shoulder to figure out whether it's a (reserve-component) or an (active-component) soldier," he said.