Army chief of staff outlines global security challenges

Casey says globalization and technology among factors intensifying fight

The changing nature of the world is contributing to the challenges of the troubled U.S. offensive in Southwest Asia, and the Army needs to streamline operations to deal with the shifting realities of today's warfare, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey.

“The protracted conflict is being exacerbated, not ameliorated, by globalization, which has created a spectrum of have and have-nots,”  Casey said  Nov. 16 at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s annual banquet. Other factors aggravating the continuing battle include technology and changing demographics, particularly in cities, in places where the population is doubling such as Pakistan, and in areas such as China and India, where the middle classes are quickly becoming larger than the entire U.S. population, he added.

Despite what he characterized as the Army’s lack of agility, Casey outlined four key areas that must be addressed for global security.

“We have to win the wars we’re in,” he said, highlighting the need to sustain the current fight. He also called on the United States to engage other countries and help build up their security forces, support civil authorities at home and abroad and to deter and defeat the “hybrid threats” in hostile states.

And though the 21st century war has changed considerably from the wars he grew up fighting and planning to fight into unconventional and asymmetrical threats, Casey said he does not necessarily believe the recent Fort Hood shootings are an indicator of an Army stretched to a breaking point.

However, the tragedy does represent an ugly truth: that the U.S. military is in uncharted territory amid the longest war fought by a voluntary force.

“We’re so weighed down with our current commitments that we can’t prepare for the future,” Casey said.

Still, in the face of an eight-year war and a long-standing ideological struggle unlikely to end soon, the Army is on track for one key goal for 2011, Casey said.

A deployment policy of one year out, two years back is looking plausible for 2011 implementation, said Casey, who also said the Army is now better prepared for the fight in Afghanistan than it was two years ago.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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