Service Secretaries Link Reform to Greater Lethality

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By David Vergu, Defense.gov

8 February 2019

WASHINGTON — Army Secretary Mark T. Esper, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson spoke about reform today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.

“Reform is the means by which we free up time, money and manpower to do modernization and readiness better,” Esper said. Modernization has to do with producing more lethally effective weapons and equipment, and readiness includes such things as training and exercises between the services and with the nation’s allies and partners.

U.S. Air Force Col. Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing commander, right, helps Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson strap into an F-15D Eagle before a familiarization flight Nov. 4, 2018, at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. The secretary’s visit provided her a first-hand look at the wing’s mission as the sole provider of F-15C air superiority pilots to the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Riley Johnson)

The Army last year stood up Army Futures Command, the biggest organization in the Army in 45 years, Esper said. The command, he explained, will focus on the Army’s six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires; a next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; network, air and missile defense; and soldier lethality.

Those are areas needed to counter high-end threats from nations such as Russia and China, he said. The reform aspect had to do with eliminating, downsizing or delaying other programs that, while important, didn’t directly contribute to the six focus areas, he added.

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