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Dunford Sends Message to Joint Force, Stresses Readiness, Warfighting, Education

Oct. 2, 2015 | BY Jim Garamone

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff listed his priorities in a message to the force released today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said the United States has the most professional and capable military in the world because of its people.

“I want to begin by thanking you for who you are and what you do,” he wrote. “Every day, in every task, you answer the nation’s call and you deliver.”

The military must be ready today and tomorrow, the chairman wrote, adding that that posture will guide him during his tenure. Maintaining a flexible and agile military is paramount to carrying out U.S. strategy, he said.

Restoring Readiness

His first priority is to restore joint readiness. “Our fundamental responsibility to the nation is to be a ready force,” Dunford wrote.

It is no surprise to service members that readiness has suffered in the wake of sequestration and continuing resolutions. Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned of the need to rebuild readiness during testimony before Congress in 2010, and the sequester cuts in 2013 seriously hampered service steps to improve readiness.

Improving Warfighting Capabilities

Dunford said his second priority as chairman is to improve joint warfighting capabilities. “We must maintain the ability to deter potential adversaries,” he wrote. “When deterrence fails, we will deliver joint forces that can fight and win.”

Developing ‘Joint Forces Next’

Dunford said his third priority is to develop leaders for what he calls “Joint Forces Next.” The world has changed since he was commissioned in 1977, Dunford wrote. Then, the focus was countering the Soviet Union on land, sea and air. Today, there are threats from nation states and non-state actors, he said, and threats exist in space and in the cyber domain.

“Our leaders must have the training, education and experience to meet those demands,” Dunford wrote.

The chairman said he wants input from all levels of the force.

“Know I welcome your continued inputs and ideas to help advance our joint force and lead us through tomorrow,” he said.