Dempsey Lays Out Themes for Tenure as Army Chief

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)

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