Our combat-seasoned Army, although stressed by seven years of war, is a resilient and professional force—the best in the world. The Army—Active, National Guard, and Army Reserve—continues to protect our Nation, defend our national interests and allies, and provide support to civil authorities in response to domestic emergencies.
The Army is in the midst of a long war, the third longest in our Nation’s history and the longest ever fought by our All-Volunteer Force. More than one million of our country’s men and women have deployed to combat; more than 4,500 have sacrificed their lives, and more than 31,000 have been wounded. Our Army continues to be the leader in this war, protecting our national interests while helping others to secure their freedom. After seven years of continuous combat, our Army remains out of balance, straining our ability to sustain the All-Volunteer Force and maintain strategic depth. The stress on our force will not ease in 2009 as the demand on our forces will remain high. In 2008, the Army made significant progress to restore balance, but we still have several challenging years ahead to achieve this vital goal.
As we remain committed to our Nation’s security and the challenge of restoring balance, we remember that the Army’s most precious resources are our dedicated Soldiers, their Families, and the Army Civilians who support them. They are the strength of the Army—an Army that is The Strength of the Nation.