|Story and photo by J.D. Leipold, Army News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In firm words, the Army chief of staff said Soldiers
deploying after Oct. 1 could expect to have 24 months at home upon
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George
W. Casey Jr., addresses attendees at the Association of the U.S.
Army Land Warfare Institute’s winter symposium and exhibition.
“That’s a huge step, it’s a place we needed to go because our studies
tell us it takes 24-36 months to recover from a one-year deployment,”
said Gen. George W. Casey Jr., before members of the Association of the
U.S. Army at their winter symposium and exhibition, Feb. 25 in Fort
“We had to get there, and once we’re there, we need to hold ourselves to
that,” he continued, adding that he’d sent Secretary of Defense Robert
M. Gates a note stating that for the first time in more than five years
the global force management allocation plan for 2012 would allow the
Army to meet expected demand at an acceptable deployment tempo.
Casey said that while Soldiers could expect 24 months “dwell time” when
they get home, the Army is actually aiming to give them 36 months — time
to spend training and with their Families. While Casey said the Army
wasn’t in a bad place to begin looking at the transition into sustaining
balance in a period of declining resources, he reminded the audience
that the war is not over.
“We know the budget has to come down; we know we need to be more
efficient in how we execute, but we have to be very, very careful that
we don’t inadvertently hollow out the force as we’re trying to reduce
the resources,” he said.
Casey added the most important element the Army needs to maintain its
combat edge is a continued focus on versatility.
“The one thing we know about the future is we never get it exactly
right,” he said.
“With modularity we’ve taken a huge step toward being able to put
together versatile force packages to deal with different challenges ...
we need to carry that over into our equipment, into our training and
into our leader development,” he said.
Casey said giving Soldiers at the lowest level the information they need
to execute their mission is critical to maintaining the Army’s combat
“That’s all empowered by the network,” he said. “We’re going to see the
Joint Tactical Radio System family of radios start coming out next year
and we’re going to see the reality of what we know we need to achieve.”
Another element to maintaining the combat edge, he said, is
“We’re just starting to do that,” he said. “The more we practice it, the
more we’re going to inform ourselves on whether that’s right and how we
need to adapt and adjust.”
The final element to maintaining combat edge, he said is ensuring the
reserve component is resourced and used in a way that allows the Reserve
and Guard to maintain the skills they’ve built over the last decade.
“Half our Guard and Reserve are combat veterans,” Casey said. “We have
reduced the training time for brigade-sized units from 180 days to 66
... that’s a huge accomplishment and that will be one of the main things
that we’ve got to maintain as we work our way through and go forward
Casey is slated to retire April 11, after nearly 41 years of service.