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Army Secretary focused on readiness and lethality

By Kimberly Hanson August 21, 2017

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Two weeks after being sworn in as the Army's senior civilian leader, Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy visited commands at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, Aug. 17.

McCarthy, who was sworn in as Under Secretary of the Army Aug. 3 and assumed duties as Acting Secretary the same day, said he needed to hear early on from the leaders of the three Army Commands: Training and Doctrine Command, Army Materiel Command, and Forces Command.

"I need to understand the priorities of the commanders," McCarthy said. "We're in the process of building the budget, so it's important for me to understand the priorities and needs of the major commands so I can best represent the Army in this process."

When it comes to his priorities for the Army, McCarthy was clear.

"Readiness is number one, and there really is no other," he said. "But being ready to fight tonight is not enough."

McCarthy stressed that the Army has to focus on both near-term readiness and modernization.

"It's what I refer to as readiness and lethality. If you look at the world today, near-peer competitors have made tremendous investments over the last 16 years. We need to understand how we can make adjustments to do both," he said.

AMC Commander Gen. Gus Perna highlighted the commands expansive portfolio, from research and development to battlefield sustainment, from contracting to Foreign Military Sales.

"Army Materiel Command is focused on providing materiel readiness in support of the Army's priorities and Combatant Commanders' requirements," Perna said. "We are the Army's materiel integrator."

While at Redstone Arsenal, McCarthy also heard from leaders at Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command about their work in the space and missile defense domains. He made one final stop at the U.S. Army 2nd Recruiting Brigade whose mission is to recruit the next generation of Soldiers from across the Southeast United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Combat arms units and our warfighters cannot survive one day without the support Army Materiel Command and the units here provide," said McCarthy. "AMC and Redstone are enabling forces worldwide, not just for the U.S. military but for foreign partners."

As the Army's senior civilian, McCarthy noted that the predominant civilian workforce, both at AMC and Redstone Arsenal, was not lost on him. He referenced an earlier statement from Perna to recognize their significant role.

"Their proximity to the objective does not accurately reflect their contribution to the overall mission," he said. "There is no better way to describe the important work these quiet professionals do every day."

McCarthy said he leaves Redstone Arsenal with a clear take-away: the need for consistent and predictable funding.

"I will continue to work hard for stable and predictable funding for the warfighters," he said. "The turbulence makes it incredibly difficult for the major commands to meet global demand."

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