U.S. Army Secretary Visits Darden

Secretary of the Army, Dr. Francis Harvey told Darden students and faculty that the U.S. Army will continue to transform and improve business operations "to meet the dangerous and complex challenges of the 21st century."

His Oct. 24 remarks were a featured event of the Darden 50th Anniversary Speaker Series.

The Army is, and will remain, "strong, ready and relevant," he said, while acknowledging that the new realities of war require an adaptable military that can change quickly to meet evolving circumstances. With 260,000 troops deployed overseas in 70 countries, the Army will continue to "fight the global war on terrorism while building the army of the future," Harvey said. 

Secretary of the Army Frances Harvey

To fulfill these needs, Harvey said the Army is following four broad strategies:

  • Maintaining ready and relevant land power.
  • Training and equipping soldiers and their leaders.
  • Providing infrastructure to support other armed U.S. forces.
  • Continuing with an all-volunteer force.

With 1.5 million employees and a projected 2006 budget of almost $167B, as a corporation the Army would rank #5 on the Fortune 500, with a workforce three times the size of McDonald's Corp.

While he said the Army has "a good history" of privatization, especially in the areas of housing and utilities, Harvey also noted that his organization is looking for ways to transfer more of the Army's needs to the private sector for management.

"We need to change the Army business culture to process focused and outcome based," he said.

Recruitment and retention strategies are working, he added, saying annual Army attrition has been 6-8 percent. This year, the Army exceeded a recruitment target of 80,000 people by 635 for active personnel, or 101% of the goal. Retention reached nearly 105% of the goal, Harvey said.

The war on terrorism is an "asymmetric war," Harvey said, meaning a confrontation between unequal forces that use dissimilar tactics to achieve victory. As a result, battlefields and destruction of enemy lines become antiquated concepts of war. Pentagon analysts describe a key strategy of asymmetric war as the erosion of popular support for the war within the society of the stronger power.

"This is a war we did not ask for, but a war we must win," Harvey said.

Harvey was sworn in as the 19th Secretary of the Army on Nov. 19, 2004. He has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to Army manpower, personnel, Reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications and financial management. He is responsible for the Department of the Army's annual budget of more than $160 billion. He leads a work force of over one million active duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers, 230,000 Department of the Army civilian employees and 280,000 contracted service personnel. He has stewardship over 15 million acres of land.

Prior to his appointment as secretary, Harvey spent much of his career with corporations that provided products and services to the federal government, particularly the Department of Defense. He has been involved in over 20 major defense programs and was a member of the Army Science Board in the late 1990s.

Harvey earned his doctorate in Metallurgy and Material Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science from the University of Notre Dame.

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