On October 22, the 21st Century Defense Initiative held a lunch and discussion with Nelson Ford, undersecretary of the Army. He offered his perspective on the challenges of resourcing the current mission of his service and how the Army’s current structure and size affects the U.S. ability to meet future security needs.
Over the past three years, Secretary Ford has been wrestling with the financial and organizational challenges of the Army, including guiding the service through the transformation to a modular force structure while sustaining a high operational tempo in non-traditional missions. He has also transitioned the service from a threat-based planning structure to a capabilities-based planning model. Both of these trends currently point to a mismatch between sustainable force supply and growing demands placed on Army capabilities that will have to be addressed in the near future.
Dr. Peter W. Singer, senior fellow and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings, introduced the secretary and moderated the discussion. After the presentation, Secretary Ford took audience questions.