In a post-conference keynote address interview session with the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Carter Ham (ret.), President and CEO of the Association of the U.S. Army, asked General McConville what the current budgetary situation — where a flat defense budget is viewed as optimistic — means for the Army’s planning moving forward. General McConville said that most Chiefs have to grapple with three big “resources buckets — end strength/force structure, readiness, and modernization.”

  • On end strength, McConville conceded “I don’t see us growing… in fact, we are probably going to flatten out end strength where we are right now, which is 485,000/486,000 in the Active Force, a little over a million in the Total Force. And that’s about the size of the force that we had at 9/11. We really don’t want to make it any smaller, we’d like to make it bigger, but what we have to do is prioritize. I’ve got to make sure that the Army is ready to fight today.”
  • With regard to readiness, the Chief said that he was taking a hard look at how these dollars are spent. “One of the things about doing a lot more small unit training is that it is actually less expensive, so if you can get more readiness out of doing [lower] level training and then use your Combat Readiness Centers to get the higher level training, we might be able to be more efficient with the money that we spend on readiness.
  • Force Modernization – “I believe that we must modernize the Army. I’ve talked about this before, but about every forty years the Army needs to transform. It did in 1940, it did in 1980, and we are in 2020 right now and I think that I owe it to my successors that I have the Army on a good path to transformation… and we see many of the systems that we are taking about getting fielded in 2023.