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JFCOM Commander Odierno on Doing ‘Less with Less’

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JFCOM Cmdr. Gen. Ray Odierno, Photo: Defense.gov

Forget doing more with less.

Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who heads up the soon-to-be-defunct U.S. Joint Forces Command, said he believes because of lean defense budgets and evolving priorities, the Pentagon and the services “may have to do less with less.”

“We must avoid the trap of doing more with less, which is a recipe for creating a hollow force,” Odierno said at the annual Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach, Va.

Last year, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered JFCOM’s closure as part of his far-reaching efficiency initiatives. DoD announced earlier this month JFCOM’s essential functions would be dispersed throughout the department and services.

Odierno, who is lauded as one of the chief architects of the successful 2007 Iraq War troop surge, is selling a a tough message, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. The ongoing fiscal crisis is “perhaps our primary threat to national security,” he said, echoing remarks also made by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen.

“We’re now forced to make decisions that previously we could avoid,” Odierno said. “We have to have a national security discussion about … what are we going to stop doing?”

“Effective leadership today doesn’t mean protection of a service budget, or a particular weapons system,” he added. “Effective leadership during strategic uncertainty means navigating painful changes with moral and ethical courage, with physical and mental toughness, with an appreciation for the greater goal of our nation’s long-term prosperity and security.”

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