Washington: Wasting no time, Army Chief of Staff nominee Gen. Ray Odierno made it clear his vision for the Army once he takes the reins.
If you want to win a war, you send the Army to do it. Not the Marines, the Air Force or the Navy.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing today, Odierno said the Army would remain America’s “national force of decisive action,” even after the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan finally wind down.
“Our leaders at every level have displayed unparalleled ingenuity, flexibility and adaptability,” he told lawmakers. “They have transformed the Army into the most versatile, agile, rapidly deployable … strategic land force in the world today.”
His comments are only the latest to come from service leaders, who are all trying to carve out their own safe place in a Pentagon where, increasingly, nothing is safe from the budgetary ax.
All the services are “struggling to redefine themselves” as essential to national security, says Dan Goure, a senior defense analyst at the Lexington Institute.
If you are essential, he continued, you are “therefore immune” to the whims of the Defense Department’s number crunchers. “You are beginning to see jointness fraying” in favor of service-specific interests, he said.
The Marine Corps say they are America’s 911 response force. The Navy and the Air Force preach their unmatched global reach and presence. But during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army did not have to say a thing — their importance has played out every day on the evening news.
But times are changing, and to find their own safe place, the Army is taking square aim at the Navy and Air Force, according to Goure. To make their case, he added, one has to look no further than U.S. and NATO operations in Libya.
Months of airstrikes and naval bombardments have done nothing to break the stalemate between rebel forces and troops loyal to Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
Entering its sixth month, the Libyan conflict has made one thing clear, Goure said: “If you have to win the war, you send [the Army].”