Top Army General: Terror Threat Hasn’t Diminished Since 9/11

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the terror threat America faces hasn’t diminished since 9/11 Saturday at the annual conference of the National Guard Association.

“Those people, those enemies, those members of that terrorist group, still intend — as they did on 9/11 — to destroy your freedoms, to kill you, kill your families, they still intend to destroy the United States of America,” Milley said, Air Force Times reports.

Milley spoke the evening before the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Since then, the U.S. has waged a global war on terror that isn’t going to be over anytime soon.

“All our lives, all our destinies were forever changed in those moments and we have been at war for 15 consecutive years,” he said. “And so many soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, so many guardsmen have given their lives and their limbs and all of you have made sacrifices in the defense of that freedom.”

“That mission, that task, is likely to remain for quite some time,” he added.

For Milley, the unceasing nature of the war on terror means that the Army’s first priority is combat readiness, which also extends to National Guard units.

“The possibility of armed conflict is real, and the time available to mobilize and deploy … might not be available in the next conflict,” he said.

As a result of this very real prospect of renewed conflict, Milley said he’s taking steps to boost the readiness of the National Guard.

What this means concretely is that two Guard brigade combat teams will go through training in 2017. That figure should jump to four teams in 2018, Milley hopes.

Milley also wants to increase the number of training days for guardsmen.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, also speaking at the conference, noted that no other force had changed as much as the National Guard in the last 15 years since 9/11.

“Since 9/11, you’ve had nearly 700,000 individual deployments to the CENTCOM AOR, and guardsmen are there right now as we speak, and they are bringing the fight right on home to Daesh,” James said, referring to Islamic State as its Arabic name.

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