Secretary of the Army Mark Esper spent his Wednesday exploring Fort Hood.
“This is obviously a very big base. 39,000 plus soldiers and also, a very important one. The units here, III Corp itself, is on the cutting edge of front line forces,” Esper said.
It’s Esper’s first time on the nation’s largest Army post. He’s been visiting military bases across the country working to become re-acquainted with the Army he now oversees.
“Again, I served 21 years. The last time on active duty was 1996. And secondly, make my own assessment of the state of the Army, with regard to readiness, with regard to our modernization efforts, and with regard to how we are taking care of soldiers, civilians and our families,” Esper said.
After being sworn in last November, one of the issues Esper addressed was military pay. Congress recently approved a controversial 2.6 percent pay raise for soldiers.
“We can always do more for our soldiers and their families. Clearly the Chief of Staff and I want to do more. As we look ahead to FY19, we see good dollars ahead there as well,” Esper said.
Esper also outlined his long-term goals for the branch, which includes numerous equipment upgrades.
“We’ve outlined six priorities. They begin with long-range precision fires. It includes next-generation combat vehicles, integrated air missile defense, etc., all the way down to number six, which is soldier lethality,” Esper said.