Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr. | Combined Arms Center Public Affairs
Acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Speer spoke to students of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College during a visit to Fort Leavenworth April 6.
The visit was a part of a larger trip, which included participating in the centennial commemoration of the U.S. entry into World War I at the National World War I Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., as well as a new soldier swearing-in ceremony at the Kansas City Military Entrance Processing Station.
While addressing the students of CGSC at the Lewis and Clark Center, Speer discussed the importance of readiness — the Army’s No. 1 priority.
“One of the challenges we face is how do we sustain readiness,” Speer said. “It’s not just about training alone. It’s the people around you. People have to be ready as well as the Army structure.”
Speer discussed the challenges of readiness in the current political and global environment military leaders face in today’s complex world.
“(Army Chief of Staff) General (Mark) Milley spoke to Congress about this very subject,” Speer said. “He told them readiness is about predictability and time — predictability in funding, predictability in training, predictability in family and predictability in force structure to deliver modernization capability.”
Additionally, Speer discussed the change in force reduction recently because of the rising amount of volatile areas popping up around the world.
“We were on a glide path to go down to 450,000 soldiers by the end of this fiscal year 2018,” Speer said. “We convinced then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that we were just too busy in the world with growing concern in the Balkans and North Korea. So we were able to convince him not to drop down to 450,000 and bring the force to 476,000.”
Before the presentation, Speer met with selected CGSC students and faculty over lunch. He then met with Soldier’s Medal awardee Sgt. Jeremy Dahlen, and the Secretary of the Army Award of Valor recipients Deanne Kilian and Dr. Adela Ganacias, all from Munson Army Health Center. The three recipients were recognized for their vital roles in responding to a serious incident at MAHC Sept. 7.
The visit concluded with a stop at the National Simulation Center. Brig. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general of CAC – Training, greeted Speer and showed him the latest Army virtual training and simulators, including the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer, Synthetic Training Environment and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Training Simulations.
“Gaming and virtual and augmented reality are how the soldiers of today and tomorrow consume information,” Gervais said. “It is incumbent on us to make sure we are providing realistic training at the point of need whenever possible. Additionally, these innovative training aides provide low cost, scalable, multi-echelon training optimized for human performance.”