New Army secretary highlights 'character and culture' in first message to service

New Army secretary highlights 'character and culture' in first message to service
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New Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said she would push initiatives meant to better “character and culture” in the force, according to her first message to the service.

“Our people are the priority effort and I intend to champion a full range of initiatives to better the force. Character and culture matter,” Wormuth said in the statement to the force released Wednesday.

Confirmed last week as the first woman for the role, Wormuth added that she will work to “eliminate harmful behaviors that undermine readiness,” stressing, “There is no place in our Army for sexual harassment and assault, domestic violence, extremism or racism.”

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The Army’s new top civilian comes into the service as the Pentagon is grappling with a range of personnel issues, most notably how to attract and retain talent with new, more inclusive policies, root out extremism and overhaul how it handles sexual assault and harassment. 

But conservative lawmakers in recent weeks have knocked Army recruiting ad campaigns, claiming they portray the military as “too soft.”

An ad campaign titled “The Calling,” was launched earlier this month and features animated portrayals of the stories of five U.S. soldiers in an effort to appeal to Gen Z Americans and improve diversity and inclusion efforts among the military’s ranks.

Wormuth said she will continue that open mindset and “making sure the Army can recruit, develop, train and retain the diverse talent it needs to remain the world’s premiere land force.”

She also promised to push modernization efforts so the Army may “adapt and stay ahead of the capabilities of our adversaries.”

“The Army must be manned, trained, equipped, and modernized to be ready to fight today, but also to meet the demands of an uncertain and unpredictable future,” she wrote. “Seeing our modernization programs through successfully will remain a top priority so that the Army is ready to meet future challenges.”