Message from Secretary of Army talks Anakonda, Army’s 241st B-day, priorities as secretary

Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning and Pvt. 1st Class Jacob Hauser earned their cake doing push-ups. Hauser starred in two of the #EarnYourCake clips that sparked Fannings impromptu visit to LSA Warhammer, June 14. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Hilary Klotz, 16th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Officer)

Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning and Pvt. 1st Class Jacob Hauser earned their cake doing push-ups. Hauser starred in two of the #EarnYourCake clips that sparked Fannings impromptu visit to LSA Warhammer, June 14. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Hilary Klotz, 16th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Officer)

Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning sent a message to the Army team concerning his priorities as the secretary. His priorities include taking care of Soldiers, Civilians, and their Families; developing capabilities to counter emerging threats; and meaningful acquisition reform.

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You can read the message in full below.

Army team,

It took a little longer than expected, but it’s great to be back.

When I was growing up in Michigan, I did not envision a career in defense and national security policy. But, with a family that includes two West Point graduates and an Army Ranger, it is no surprise to them that I found my way to the Pentagon. After serving in the Air Force, Navy, OSD, and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, holiday conversations were getting a little uncomfortable. I saved the best for last.

If my Pentagon experience has taught me anything, it is that time outside the building is much more informative than time inside. More than any other part of this job, I look forward to visiting Army Soldiers and Civilians where you live and work. I know that unless I can see the impact of my decisions through your eyes, they are unlikely to be very informed decisions.

Last week I celebrated the 241st birthday of the U.S. Army in Poland to meet the Soldiers supporting Operation Anakonda, the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. This was a Total Army effort, with 20 Army Reserve and National Guard units from 14 different states joining our forces in Europe. Together, over 31,000 Soldiers, partners, and allies came together to demonstrate the strength of NATO as well as set the world record for the longest amphibious vehicle bridge.

Later that week, I joined our teammates at Fort Hood to remember our nine warriors recently lost in a tragic accident as a result of torrential flooding in Texas. It was a stark reminder of the stakes our Soldiers face each day, whether engaging ISIS in the Middle East or preparing to support disaster relief in Middle America. The Army is a dangerous business. We must remain vigilant.

To help you understand how I intend to shape the Army during our time together, I am including below my priorities as your new Secretary (you can also find them at I intend to focus on taking care of people, developing capabilities that prioritize emerging threats, and providing both the warfighter and the taxpayer with the equipment and value they demand.

As we begin the Army’s 242nd year, I look forward to meeting many of you and hearing your stories. Be sure to reach out and engage with me and my team on social media. Together, we will make our Army stronger…and this year, I assure you, we will finally beat Navy!

– Eric Fanning


I am deeply honored to return to America’s Army. Our Army, Active, Guard, and Reserve, is the finest Army the world has ever known. While it is great to be back, the Army is not new to me. Over the course of 25 years, I have seen Army leaders from every seat at the table, including all three military departments, all four services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Capitol Hill, and the White House. Through these interactions and the relationships developed as a result, I have earned an appreciation of the complexity of ground warfare and the challenge of sustaining and advancing a ready Army.

People – Soldiers, Civilians, and Families – are the strength of our Army. As your Secretary, I will demonstrate my commitment to our people through what you’ll see me do, what I’ll say, and where I’ll say it. I commit to you that I will work every day to ensure you are trained, equipped, and ready to complete your mission. When you’re deployed, you can be confident we are taking great care of your Families, and that you come home safely.

I will work closely with General Milley to ensure the readiness of our formation so that we have the right capabilities, and training and will prioritize those necessary actions today that guarantee our readiness for tomorrow. To accomplish each of these tasks, I have identified three broad focus areas:

  • Taking Care of Our Soldiers, Civilians, and their Families: The Army’s strength comes from the care and respect we show each other. Our Army must continue to be an institution that rewards merit, while placing equal value on diversity of our ideas, experiences, and backgrounds. We will support both Soldiers and Families while they are deployed, and take care of them when the return home. This means invigorating efforts to eradicate the cancer of sexual assault and harassment, doing more to recognize the warning signs and stressors associated with suicides in our ranks, and in particular, advance our understanding of, and care for, those with mental health issues.
  • Developing Capabilities to Counter Emerging Threats: The Army’s value is not measured solely by past victories. Tomorrow’s Army depends on its success in exploiting the best technology today. As global threats evolve, the Army must accelerate its own capabilities in areas like cyber, electronic warfare, and protecting our communication networks. Today, and in the future, our Army depends on maintaining a technological edge over our adversaries.
  • Meaningful Acquisition Reform: The decision to send Soldiers into combat is the most difficult decision a leader will ever make. We ask our Soldiers and Civilians to do incredible things, and part of that basic bargain demands that our units have the best equipment when they need it. This requires an adaptive and agile acquisition process. I will take immediate steps to improve Army acquisition so we can rapidly provide the force with the equipment it needs to get the job done, on time, and within budget.

As I travel the world during the next few months, I’ll be looking forward to meeting many of you and hearing your stories – learning about how you are making our Army, and as a result, our Nation, stronger. America’s Army has a long and storied history. As we write the next chapter together, I am confident we will continue to advance the sacred trust the American people have bestowed upon us.

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