WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wanted an Army chief of staff willing to challenge the status quo, and he believes he has one in Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.
Dempsey succeeded Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the Army chief of staff during a ceremony at Fort Myer, Va., today. Due to a family tragedy, Casey and his family did not attend the event.
“Whatever challenges confront us in the future, your Army will respond with the same courage and resolve with which it has responded over the past 235 years,” Dempsey said.
Gates extolled the new chief of staff saying that he was impressed with Dempsey’s “keen mind, strategic vision, quiet confidence and the energy he brings to every assignment.” Dempsey served as the commander of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad in 2003. He then helped put in place the Iraqi army and police. He served as the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command and stepped in as acting commander when Navy Adm. William Fallon resigned.
“While serving as acting Centcom commander, General Dempsey reorganized the headquarters, published new theater strategy and campaign plans, all the while managing the rotations and deployments of tens of thousands of troops throughout his command’s [area of responsibility],” Gates said.
He moved to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command where he “spread the gospel of adaptation in a world, where, as he is fond of saying: ‘Uncertainty is the only certainty in life in this century,’ ” the secretary said. “He has pushed the Army to become more versatile and decentralized, and overhauled its approach to war-fighting, publishing a new capstone concept that elevates adaptation to an institutional imperative.”
Today the Army is in transition, which is not a new phenomenon, Dempsey said in his remarks. The Army is always in transition, but this one is unique because the Army is entering its 10th year of war with an all-volunteer force. The general called that an “incredible testament to America’s soldiers and their families.” The way ahead will be tough and the service must “center its sights on who we are as an Army.”
Dempsey spoke about themes important to him and the service moving forward. “We will provide whatever it takes to achieve our objectives in the current fight,” he said. “We will win in an increasingly competitive learning environment — that’s the domain in which we must prevail.”
The service must develop a shared vision of the Army in 2020. “We will design units and prepare leaders to over match their adversaries,” he said. “We will master our fundamentals and develop deep global expertise.”
He said the Army will continue to change, but that the service will change only when it contributes to the versatility and relevance of the nation’s military instrument of power. In an era of constraint, the Army must maintain a reputation as a good steward of America’s resources. “We will remain connected to America, and we will succeed in all of that because we will re-connect, engage, empower and hold our leaders accountable,” he said.
Between now and June 14, the Army Birthday, Dempsey said he will engage the senior military and civilian leaders of all services. He will publish “a document that charts our way ahead including a portfolio of initiatives that chart our way ahead to deliver on the themes.”
Trust is the heart of the military, the general said. “My commitment and expectation to this great Army is that we will work on strengthening the bond of trust among those with whom we work, among whom we support and among those who march with us into battle,” he said. “On the foundation of trust we will overcome any challenge we confront in the future.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)