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White: Army Transformation on schedule in MC02

by Jim Caldwell

SUFFOLK, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 2, 2002) - Secretary of the Army Thomas White told reporters and members of the Joint Forces Command that Army Transformation is on schedule when he visited the JFCOM headquarters Aug. 1.

White received a briefing and updates on Millennium Challenge 2002, an exercise and experimentation involving all branches of the armed forces. White then told JFCOM leaders that parts of the Army Transformation Plan announced by Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki in October 1999 "are part of our fundamental objectives today."

The goals of Army Transformation include creating network-centric organizations, lightening logistics trails, and creating the Future Combat System platforms that will be more lethal with more personnel protection. They will be combat platforms to increase strategic-tactical deployment and operational mobility.

The interim armored vehicle, the Stryker, is now being delivered to Stryker Brigade Combat Teams at Fort Lewis, Wash.

A Stryker company deployed to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., is operating with an 82nd Airborne Brigade in the Army Transformation Experiment 2002, part of MC02.

"The Stryker Brigade is really one component of the overall Transformation we started three years ago," White said. "And, I think the Strykers being involved in their first joint exercise ... is evident of the fact that we're bringing [Transformation] to fruition."

The secretary stressed that the Army will always operate as part of a joint team.

"The Army exists to be the land component of joint forces," White said. "There is nothing more important than what we're doing than operating in this joint environment. And we look forward to future exercises in support of JFCOM and the enhancement of our ability to operate as a member of the joint team."

When he was asked about the four soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., who murdered their wives, White said, "We're tremendously concerned because it represents a tragic loss of life from the Army family. We are a married Army and the welfare of soldiers and their families is of paramount concern to us."

In response to a question about if there was some connection between duty in Afghanistan and the murders, White pointed out that one of the four soldiers had not deployed to Afghanistan.

He also pointed out that family advocacy programs are active throughout the Army and that they are supported by chaplains and leaders.

"We do an enormous amount with families on a daily basis, but, obviously with the extraordinary situation we've had at Fort Bragg, we've taken it up several notches," White said. "Those issues are under investigation by our leaders at Fort Bragg."

(Editor's note: Jim Caldwell is a senior correspondent for the TRADOC News Service.)

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