WASHINGTON — U.S. Army leaders will head to Capitol Hill after this week’s Association of the U.S. Army conference to share its planned force structure changes, meant to ready the service to fight high-end adversaries, according to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

“We need to align structure with end strength over the next several years to ensure we can field the right formations and ensure they are properly manned, trained and able to deliver lethal results,” Wormuth told an audience at AUSA’s opening ceremony Monday. “This transformation must take place, and we look forward to briefing Congress right after AUSA.”

The Army is preparing to provide modernized weapon systems to soldiers in the 2030 time frame in a bid to transform the Army into a force capable of taking on high-end threats. Part of that effort is ensuring the Army is ready to use that new equipment within the right force structure.

However, the service is struggling to meet its recruiting goals, making it tough to achieve its desired end strength, much less add force structure.

In an interview with Defense News before the conference, Wormuth said she could not discuss specific force structure changes or detail the support the Army will seek from Congress.

But, she said, “we are trying to do two things in terms of force structure. Most importantly, we’re trying to build out the force structure for these new capabilities, whether it’s air defense or whether it’s for maneuver, for example. And the other thing we’re trying to do, obviously, is bring down the amount of over structure we have … as we’ve had recruiting challenges.”

The Army is reexamining its recent force structure, designed for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. In those areas, the Army could make “some reductions because they’re not as relevant for large-scale combat operations,” she said in the interview.

Additionally, Wormuth noted, modernization efforts will also drive how the service makes changes to its force structure.

“We’re likely to probably see some of the reductions come sooner, meaning shedding some of the more [counterinsurgency- and counterterrorism]-related functions. And then the growth of the new force structure will come in some cases in a couple years, as we have these new capabilities reach low rates of initial production,” she said.

As the Army continues its “most significant modernization effort in generations,” Wormuth said at the conference, “we are building an Army that can dominate in large-scale multidomain operations. Building this Army also requires transforming our force structure to ensure that we have the capabilities we need to meet current and future strategic requirements.”

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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