• Army undersecretary visits Fort Leavenworth

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  • Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr. | Combined Arms Center Public Affairs
    Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran spoke to students of the Command and General Staff College during a visit to Fort Leavenworth Feb. 21. McCarthy’s visit was part of a larger trip, which included briefings from other Combined Arms Center organizations and initiatives.
    McCarthy became the 33rd undersecretary of the Army Aug. 1, 2017, and served as the acting secretary of the Army until Nov. 16, 2017. He is the secretary of the Army’s senior civilian assistant and principal adviser on matters relating to the management and operation of the Army, which includes development and integration of Army programs and budget. He is responsible for the effective and efficient organization of the Army’s operations and initiatives for the business transformation of the Army. McCarthy served in the U.S. Army from 1997 to 2002 and was involved in combat operations in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Special Operations Command.
    “Fort Leavenworth is a jewel in the military system,” McCarthy said. “They are training our midgrade officers how to become staff officers — one of the most critical functions we have in the Army. CGSC teaches those Army staff processes, how to shape and tee up decisions for senior leaders, and the movement of information. It’s always great to get out of the Pentagon and talk to soldiers who are going through a major transition in their careers from company commanders to staff officers. It’s a very unique group of professionals as they joined the military at the height of the surge in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a tremendous amount of combat experience and education.”
    Addressing the CGSC students, McCarthy said there are two fundamental factors that make a successful staff officer: understanding the process and relationships.
    “Relationships survive because you take a risk by exposing yourself to invest in the other person and build trust,” McCarthy said. “Trust is the foundation of our institution. Trust is what gets you through hard times in relationships. If you’re in this business long enough, people you know are going to rise to the top. You deal with hard times together, but hard times don’t last; hard people do.”
    McCarthy said conversations were key to any relationship where trust is to be established and maintained.
    “Just pick up the phone and have conversations,” McCarthy said. “It makes it a whole lot easier when you’re going into someone’s office to ask for help, because they will understand the problem, they will be invested and will be with you along the way.”
    Page 2 of 2 - McCarthy also touched on relations between military and civilian personnel, which all staff officers will have to build and maintain throughout their careers.
    “As you continue to progress through the enterprise, you’ll have more and more relationships with civilians — political appointees when you’re in the Pentagon and Civil Service employees spread throughout the Army,” McCarthy said. “We each have a fundamental role. There are responsibilities we share and we have to work through them together.”
    McCarthy spoke about the two-year budget agreement signed by President Donald Trump Feb. 9, not only its positive impact on the military, but how he is working to prepare for Army operations beyond that.
    “The advantage of an 8 percent increase for the U.S. Army is we will be able to invest heavily in the next two years,” McCarthy said. “But inflation will make it difficult to sustain over future years. My first task is to figure out how to keep the funding stream first and foremost. I will look at what choices we can make in the near-term to increase future vertical life. Some will be based on technology, some will be how we are organized to fight. So, it’s not just about the materiel we procure, it’s about the manner in which we employ it and fight threats in the future.”
    As part of the visit, McCarthy received briefings from CAC, CAC-Training and Mission Command Center of Excellence senior leaders. He talked about the vital importance of these organizations’ missions.
    “Mission command is going to help us bring our Multi-Domain Battle doctrine to the force,” McCarthy said. “A big part of Multi-Domain Battle is how we run combat operations, but decentralize the authorities. It’s a massive undertaking to make this transition from AirLand Battle to Multi-Domain Battle with generations of knowledge going back to the 1970s. It will be a huge metamorphosis of the Army.”
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