by Sgt. 1st Class Connie E. Dickey
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 12, 1999) - The Army needs to deploy quicker and change to meet new threats, Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera told a standing-room only crowd as he officially opened the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting Oct. 11.
Caldera said change is needed so the Army can respond quickly to the changing world, meet the needs of the nation, to fight and win wars and face new challenges -- terrorism threats, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction.
"Change is never easy. Change is difficult. It is threatening," Caldera told the AUSA members and said the Army stands at a crossroads to be prepared for humanitarian missions as well as for battle.
"We are committed to change," Caldera said. "We are committed to making the Army the force of choice for the nation."
Stating that change for the Army means a restructuring of the force, Caldera said, "We must be a full-spectrum force in which every unit is capable of contributing along every point of the spectrum from humanitarian assistance to high-intensity conflict."
In response to the view that the Army's heavy divisions are too slow Caldera said, "The new timetables of this new world dictate that to be the relevant force of choice for the nation for emergency response, for deterrence by putting soldiers on the ground or for warfighting, we have to get there faster."
The secretary stopped short of outlining any restructuring changes but said the Army's Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki is a leader of tremendous ability who will lead the Army in its change.
He said Shinseki would unveil the Army's vision Oct. 12 during the annual meeting and said, "It is a bold vision. It is a new direction for a great Army. It is the right vision for America."