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Outgoing Army Secretary calls for larger U.S. land force

By Ryan Maass
Outgoing Army Secretary calls for larger U.S. land force
John McHugh, secretary of the Army, left, and Lt. Gen. R. Steven Whitcomb, Army Inspector General, testify before the House Armed Services Committee in 2010. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh warns that recent situations like the rise of the Islamic State and Russian aggression are reasons to expand the U.S. land force.

McHugh spoke Monday alongside Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at a media briefing held by the Association of the United States Army. Defense News reports both senior Army officials agreed that while the United States presents a very formidable force for air and sea platforms, long-range attacks alone do not win wars.

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"There are a lot of things going on around the world today that present very real threats to the security of the United States," Milley told reporters. "As we look to the future, it is incumbent that we maintain our capability and capacity, and for the Army, that means the total Army."

McHugh agreed, citing the rapid mobilization of the Islamic State, Sunni militants also identified as Daesh and by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, and the political turmoil in Syria as reasons that having a strong ground force is an invaluable asset for an armed force.

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"If the last 18 to 20 months haven't proven the necessity of a viable land force, I'm not sure what will," he said.

McHugh is finishing his seven-year service as the secretary of the Army. The position serves as an advisory to the Secretary of Defense on manpower, personnel, weapons systems, acquisitions and other areas.

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