COLORADO SPRINGS — This week soldiers, commanders, and family members on Fort Carson got an opportunity to meet up with the Army's top commander and provide feedback on the quality of life and other issues facing those soldiers and families on the mountain post.
This week, a visit from General James McConville, the Army Chief of Staff, who spent several hours speaking with our troops.
He vowed to improve their living conditions, saying the Army must meet the level of service they're providing, with the best possible living conditions. Housing, in particular, is a pressing issue within the ranks on Fort Carson, and General McConville said that funding is being provided to upgrade barracks and housing on post. He added that more needs to be done, he will listen to the soldiers and take that information back to Washington.
"We're very concerned about the quality of life for our soldier's families," said General McConville, "so we are investing in housing, we want to talk to the soldiers and non commissioned officers and the officers and see how the policies are being implemented and get some good feedback in the things we can take back to Washington, D.C. and fix.
As for the most immediate threat facing our nation, General McConville said it's the COVID-19 pandemic. He called it the "invisible enemy", and that the U.S. Army has been proactive in not only the roll-out of the nationwide vaccine, but the Army has been working with civilian and private companies to develop a vaccine to use in the current environment and as the variants evolve.
The General also told reporters that the Army is in the midst of a transformation, one that he says only happens about every forty years due to changing circumstances around the world, and the advancement of technology. He says the focus now is on technology, speed, range of troops, and what he called decision dominance.
Conventional warfare is not going away, but the way these battles are fought is changing, and the military needs to adjust, "We're taking advantage of the technology that is out there, the ability to train in virtual and augmented realities, the ability to use synthetic training environments", he said.
In addition to new strategies in fighting, more money is being spent to develop longer-range missiles, air and missile defense upgrades, new combat vehicles and gear, and highly trained men and women.
As far as worldwide staffing is concerned, General McConville said it's in good shape, with troops employed in 140 countries around the world, "Its peace through strength, and so we must have a strong military, we must have a strong Army, we must be able to do large scale ground combat operations," he said.
Regarding the announcement recently from President Biden of total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war there and in Iraq following 9/11, General McConville said that it's the President's order, and the Army will execute it to the best of their ability. He made those comments as the top U.S. General for the Middle East.
General Frank McKenzie said today that he's concerned about the Afghanistan government's ability to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul, and that Afghanistan's military will "certainly collapse" without some continued American support once the troops are withdrawn by September 11th, a process that will begin May 1.
Finally, General McConville was asked about issues related to harassment among soldiers, in the wake of the murder of a Fort Hood private last year. As a result of the investigation of that death and the scathing review on the lack of adequate protocol to deal with such issues, what's called "The People's First Task Force" was created within the ranks of the U.S. military. General McConville said it is being aggressively implemented at Fort Carson and installations around the country and around the world, to address safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom from sexual harassment.