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Ray Odierno

30 - Army Gen. Ray Odierno
2012 Rank: 11

Army Chief of Staff
Intense and driven, Odierno has had to manage a force that is drawing down from a wartime high of 570,000 to about 490,000 — or possibly as as low as 420,000 by the end of the decade.Others suggest the Army will drop to 390,000 in the future. That leaves Odierno caught between an administration and Congress bent on cuts and the Army’s influential retired brass, which is pressing to preserve the size of the force at all costs. The 38th Army chief of staff has used every bit of the integrity, gravitas and passion earned over nearly seven years in Iraq to defend his service from sequestration's thoughtless attack. Odierno insists that he won’t make the mistakes of his predecessors who traded away modernization programs to keep force structure, only to lose both — and got rid of the wrong people in the bargain. He stresses it’s better to have a smaller, ready and well-equipped force than a larger one that isn’t — at a time when some 30,000 soldiers are in Afghanistan. Still, Odierno, like his fellow service chiefs, is dancing a delicate line. Straight-talking and not averse to mixing it up to make his point, he has continually made the case against sequestration and raised the specter that expectations must change if spending drops sharply. He also recognizes that the impact of this downturn will be far worse than past ones because everything, from people to gear, is far more expensive this time around. 
 


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