Army chief of staff says budget cuts don’t support global security environment

| March 20, 2015 | 0 Comments


Amaani Lyle
Army News Service

BALTIMORE — While the Department of Defense contemplates some $500 billion in budget reductions, the global security environment continues to worsen, said the Army’s chief of staff.

Ultimately, said Gen. Ray Odierno, there is no parity between what the Army is doing – or may be asked to do – and the resources it will be given to accomplish those tasks.

“We’re being asked to reduce a bit quicker than I think we should,” he said, addressing a March 11 meeting of the Baltimore Council of Foreign Affairs


Army of the future

The general said the increasing “velocity of instability” in a technologically competitive era calls for an Army capable of swift reaction, and possessing a comprehensive, innovative approach to problem solving.

The “Army of the future,” he said, must be able to quickly integrate new technologies and new concepts. He said the Army’s success would result from its ability to adapt and to solve problems.

“We’re about people who operate within organizations, and our success is based on how well an organization can solve a problem,” Odierno said.


Crisis in the Middle East

A current test of the Army’s ability to adapt and solve problems is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terrorist organization that today serves as one of the largest threats to global security.

Odierno said the group takes advantage of disenfranchised populations and ungoverned territories.

The general described ISIL ideology as a deep-seated dissatisfaction with many people in different parts of the world. He said the terrorist group serves as a rallying point for those who join it.

While Odierno said recent military actions have “stopped the advance” of ISIL and are now preventing the group from gaining more territory or improving their position in Iraq or Syria, he balked at a solely military approach to overcome the group.

“I don’t think that will defeat ISIL,” he said. “I think that will encourage it even more.”

Instead, Odierno said people of the Middle East, such as those in Iraq and Syria, must be involved in helping to take ISIL down from both a military and ideological perspective, with economic conditions in mind.

Continued training of Iraqi and Syrian security forces is also critical to create organic deterrence against terrorist threats, Odierno said.

“This is a long-term … generational (issue),” he said, also citing the need to reach beyond borders and continually assess the conditions in regard to terrorist cells ungoverned by geography or international law.


East Asia and Europe

The United States spent more than a decade fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and threats continue to bubble up out of that region. At the same time, new threats have grown elsewhere in the world.

Concerns from North Korea, China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for instance, continue to plague U.S. forces and their allies. As such, Odierno said the Army has fervently assessed NATO capability and the security relationship in order to respond to those threats.

Of the Asia-Pacific rebalance, Odierno noted there is some concern that China’s growing military capability could influence trade in the vast region.

“We want to make sure that trade stays free and open, and that our partners are able to continue to participate in that,” he said.


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Category: Army News Service, News

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