Newly confirmed Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth released her first message to the force Tuesday, saying that quality of life initiatives and personnel issues will remain a priority.
Wormuth’s predecessor and current Army leaders have championed modernization programs, like long-range precision fires and future vertical lift, as key to competing against adversaries like China and Russia in the coming decades.
“The Army must be manned, trained, equipped, and modernized to be ready to fight today, but also to meet the demands of an uncertain and unpredictable future,” Wormuth wrote. “Seeing our modernization programs through successfully will remain a top priority so that the Army is ready to meet future challenges.”
But to maintain readiness in the force, Wormuth added, the Army needs to eliminate harmful behaviors that undermine it.
“There is no place in our Army for sexual harassment and assault, domestic violence, extremism, or racism,” she wrote.
Wormuth comes into the Department of the Army with less connection to the ground service than secretaries Ryan McCarthy and Mark Esper, both former soldiers. Still, she has a significant background in policy making.
Wormuth was a member of the Biden administration’s Pentagon transition team and also served as undersecretary of defense for policy — the Pentagon’s top policy role — from 2014 to 2016 during the Obama administration.
But Wormuth’s tenure will be marked by a reduction in resourcing, at least in the near-term.
President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget cuts the Army’s top line funding by $3.6 billion, and trims the Army’s end-strength across all three components, with a requested total reduction of 1,800 troops.
Wormuth is also coming into the Army’s top civilian post after her immediate predecessor, McCarthy, dealt with troubling revelations about Fort Hood’s sexual misconduct response program and its CID detachment, both of which have had implications across the force.
Managing those issues and implementing a litany of suggested reforms will be at the top of the docket for the new secretary.