Leipold, Army News Service
D.C. ó The Armyís chief of staff said Jan. 14 that the Year of
the NCO actually consolidates two decades worth of thanks to
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George
Casey Jr. prepares to present a campaign streamer during a
ceremony Dec. 22 in Baghdad. Casey said the Army must be
prepared for two more years of heavy deployment tempo. (Photo
by Staff Sgt. Gabriel Morse)
George W. Casey Jr. began his breakfast speech to members of the
Association of the United States Army (AUSA) by reiterating that 2009
was the Year of the NCO, something that hadnít been recognized since
1989. Speaking at AUSAís Institute for Land Warfare breakfast in
Arlington, Va., he said NCOs have been the glue that keeps the Army
together, particularly since Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
said the Army set out to show its appreciation this year to NCOs on
three tracks ó to recognize them for what they provide the Army and
country, to inform the country about what a national asset it has, and
to enhance what the Army can do for NCOs.
you go around the world and talk to different armies, they say they
want to be like us, like our sergeants. I watched the Iraqi soldiers
who were just mesmerized by what our sergeants are doing," Casey
said. "We want to enhance what we are doing for the NCOs, so we
have initiatives that weíll bring on line this year that will
enhance how we develop our noncommissioned officers and enable them to
gain even more skills."
a round of applause for the NCOs at the breakfast, Casey told the
400-strong audience the Army still has two tough years ahead, saying
that he sees deployments and "committed strength going up
slightly and staying up maybe until about the middle of (2010) when we
start seeing a net reduction in deployed forces."
"We want to enhance what we are doing for the NCOs
Army Chief of Staff
going to put continued pressure on the force," he said, "so
weíre not out of the woods yet."
said the Army has been "out of balance" since the summer of
2007 because the Army is deploying at an unsustainable rate. He
explained it is "unsustainable from the perspective of sustaining
our Soldiers and families and developing the flexibility to do other
things." He added that while the Army has made progress over the
last year and a half, there are still two tough years ahead for the
Army is on track with recruiting and retention and expects to meet
both goals by year end. Last year, he said, 290,000 men and women
enlisted or re-enlisted in the Army, Guard and Reserve. "Thatís
a staggering number," he said.
also said the Army needs to increase the dwell time Soldiers have.
Iíve looked at this over the last 20 months or so ... itís become
clearer and clearer to me that increasing the time Soldiers spend at
home is the most important element to getting ourselves back in
balance," he said. "Soldiers will need increasingly more
time at home because of the cumulative effects of repeated deployments
to get themselves back in balance."