FORT MEADE, MD.
The No. 1 priority for the next Army chief of staff will be people, whom Gen. James C. McConville says are the Army's greatest strength.
"Winning requires unit cohesion, a cohesion built on a foundation of trained, disciplined, and fit Soldiers who treat each other with dignity and respect," McConville said, May 2, at his confirmation hearing.
On May 23, senators agreed and confirmed McConville to be the Army's top officer, a position he said will allow him to ensure the service remains the most lethal and decisive land force in the world.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next chief of staff of the Army," he said after the announcement. "I look forward to the honor of having another opportunity to lead the Soldiers, civilians and Families serving our nation's Army."
A senior aviator who has qualified on several helicopters, McConville was the vice chief of staff under Gen. Mark A. Milley, who has been nominated for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Prior to his assignments to the Pentagon as the Army's G-1 (personnel) and chief of legislative liaison, McConville was the longest serving commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
"General McConville is an extremely accomplished Army officer and I'm supremely confident in his abilities as the next Chief of Staff," said Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper. "He has played an instrumental role in almost every major decision the Army has made since becoming the Vice Chief of Staff and is the perfect leader to carry on our mission of preparing the Army for the future."
In his hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the general said he is committed to eradicating sexual assault and harassment among the ranks, reducing suicides, and making sure Families have quality housing, healthcare and childcare.
"The Army expects a lot from their Soldiers and Families and really to maximize the readiness of our Soldiers, they must know that the Army is caring for their Families," he said.
With 37 years of service, McConville also stressed the Army faces a critical point as it shifts from irregular warfare to great power competition.
"We will win by aggressively pursuing our priorities of readiness, modernization, and reform," he told lawmakers.
Among the Army's six modernization priorities, McConville highlighted long-range precision fires as a key to gaining overmatch against near-peer competitors.
An extended-range cannon that can shoot rounds at least 70 kilometers is being developed, he said, as well as a precision strike missile and a strategic long-range cannon and hypersonic missiles.
"Future chiefs will no longer have to say that they are outgunned or outranged as we go into the future," he said.
Modernization efforts, he added, will not only be about new equipment, but also implementing the multi-domain operations concept and a new talent-management system.
He said being part of a joint force, the Army can also effectively deter Russia and China, the two largest threats mentioned in the National Defense Strategy.
"The way we do that is working with our partners and allies," he said, "and also having forces present or an ability to react to any type of malicious behavior."
At the start of the hearing, McConville recognized his wife, Maria, a former Army officer herself, whom he said is responsible for all of his success.
"She is the foundation and strength of our Family," he said. "She often says to me, 'don't thank us for our sacrifice, thank us for our commitment.' And I want to thank all of the spouses for their commitment in serving."
The couple has three children -- all now serving as officers in the Army.