Retired Soldiers play a crucial role in shaping the Army’s future
[You are currently seeing] news reports almost daily about our nation’s struggle to find a way ahead for our military and the generations of Americans who have kept us safe and protected our freedoms here and abroad. The arguments may seem to be new to many who read them, but not to the one percent of our citizens who have devoted decades of their lives wearing a military uniform.
Our Army has faced these significant fiscal challenges and transformational changes in the aftermath of every major conflict since the Civil War. As the Army returns from Afghanistan to garrisons across the country, we will transition to meet the needs of the American people and our nation.
As retirees, each of you has seen and lived through these types of budget cuts and draw downs. Our Army has been well supported recently by both the American people and our elected officials — in fact, more than in the past. When Army leaders asked for pay raises, cost of living increases and monies for readiness and modernization since 2001, almost without exception we were given more than was requested.
The concern of senior Army leaders during these transition periods has been and continues to be ensuring our political leaders understand the dynamics of reducing the size of the Army and the subsequent impacts it has on readiness, capability and capacity. With the loss of each Soldier and the reduction in force structure, effects are felt on every installation, in every classroom and during every individual and collective training opportunity. Similarly, Army leaders are concerned about changes that may affect those who have left the Army after serving proudly.
As you are aware, Congress recently passed a bill to better fund the Department of Defense over the next two years. This support does allow us to buy back some of our lost readiness, but it does not address the long-term challenges our Army and nation face. Your Army leadership is actively engaged with elected officials, the Department of Defense and other stakeholders to ensure any proposed changes are thoughtful, necessary and affordable.
Throughout this current transition period, I am confident in and proud of this most professional Army in our history, and the leadership teams in the Pentagon and across the Army that will guide us as we move forward. Over the past 12-plus years, the Army has been successful in everything the nation has asked of us, and I am sure that will continue as we move forward. But Army leaders cannot do this alone. We need the support of our partners, including businesses, organizations and community leaders at all levels across the nation. And, of course, you.
We know you want to be actively engaged with the Army and we are developing plans to improve two-way communications with our retired community. Over the next year of Army Knowledge Online transition, we urge you to look for announcements about this and how you can be a “Soldier For Life.” While we’re developing new communications methods, please voice your concerns and ideas through your installation retiree council or the U.S. Army Facebook page or Twitter.
You also can play an important role as part of our Army’s historical knowledge. You can be proud of today’s generation of Soldiers, but they have much to learn from you and your cohort. As we look to “get back to the basics”, the Army — including Guard and Reserve units in thousands of hometowns across the nation — can benefit from your leadership lessons. I encourage you to explore opportunities to volunteer on posts or with Junior Reserve Officer Training Candidate programs across the country.
National veteran and military service organizations are also great places to get involved and make a difference. You know from experience that the budget drives our Army and that our nation needs a strong and ready Army during both times of peace and war. Use that knowledge to educate and shape important decisions to be made this year. As an individual retiree or as a member of an organization, you are free to share your experiences and opinions with your elected leaders.
The Army will face many tough challenges this year and beyond, and your Army leaders need your input and support. As past Army leaders have done, we will fight to ensure our Army remains strong and that the commitment and sacrifice of every generation of Soldiers is respected and honored.
FH Retiree Council meets quarterly
The Fort Huachuca Retiree Council meets quarterly in January, April, July and October. The next meeting will be held on July 11, 10 a.m., in the Director of Human Resources Conference Room, Building 41421.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Fort Huachuca Retiree Council Facebook page for regular updates, events and miscellaneous information of interest at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Huachuca-Retiree-Council/357858980975547.
For additional retirement services information, visit the Retirement Service Office website, https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/IKNWMS/Default.aspx?webId=2230.