OUR LAST PAST CAR
speaking for all times, told us:
of Army Reserve Soldiers serves the nation with honor and distinction, and our current Soldiers are no exception.”
Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve, Commander, U.S. Army Reserve Command.
Sustain Commitment; Prepare for Unexpected
Army Reserve reshapes the force to serve Soldiers and the nation better.
By LTG Jack Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve, and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, our last past CAR/CG.
The year ahead will mark our ninth year at war. Our adversaries will not quit, they will not give up, and they will not go away. National security experts predict a future of persistent conflict: protracted confrontation among state, nonstate, and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends. These conflicts will strain our ability to maintain the all-volunteer force.
As our nation continues a long-term ideological struggle against these forces, we must sustain commitment and prepare for the unexpected, and we must do both at a tempo that is sustainable and predictable to our all-volunteer force. Against the backdrop of the second-longest war in our nation's history and the longest ever fought by an all-volunteer force, the Army Reserve has evolved from a strategic reserve to an operational force.
At the same time, the end-strength of the Army Reserve grew by more than 20,000 Soldiers. Despite a competitive recruiting market, we achieved our end-strength objective of 206,000 in April 2009, more than a year before we projected.
Perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been developing an operational mindset throughout the Army Reserve. Today, the force has more combat veterans in its ranks than at any point in its history, and Army Reserve Soldiers expect to mobilize once every five years and to train for another four years until they are called up again. These Army Reserve Soldiers-full-time patriots who serve part time-are one of the best returns American taxpayers get for their money. They make the Army Reserve a positive investment for America.
With our transformation essentially complete, the time is right to shape the force to meet the challenges of the future; the needs of the Army and the nation; and the needs of our Soldiers, their families, and their employers. Capturing the vision of the contemporary Army Reserve is essential. So, we crafted a new vision for our force: The Army Reserve is recognized and resourced as America's premier reservoir of shared military-civilian skills and capabilities that supports and defends the nation.
Our vehicle for shaping the force and realizing our vision, the enterprise approach, will bring about improvements in core management areas of readiness, services and infrastructure, materiel, and human capital. This approach has already reaped significant progress toward that end.
By arraying our forces across the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle, units are placed in year groups to give more predictability to stakeholders. Combatant commanders can predict how much and what types of capability can be generated each year to provide forces trained for the full range of missions. Soldiers, families, and employers can predict training and deployment cycles, which allows for family, career, and business planning.
To ensure that the contemporary Army Reserve supports the one-year-in-five deployed ARFORGEN cycle, we have converted training resources and infrastructure to design regional training centers and combat support training centers.
Services and Infrastructure
We are strategically allocating resources-such as information technology, facilities, personnel, medical care-to provide the best possible support to our families and our Soldiers.
For example, as part of the Virtual Installations program, we opened our first pilot Army Strong Community Center in Rochester, N.Y., in September (The Officer, November 2009). The center is resourced and staffed to provide families from all branches of the military with information, services, and the support they'd have to drive 120 miles to find at Fort Drum.
In the year ahead, we plan to open four or five more pilot facilities in different areas of the country to serve geographically isolated military families. Additionally, we will hire 127 full-time family readiness support assistants down to battalion level in support of Family Readiness Groups. These new employees will provide administrative assistance to deploying units and work closely with community resource agencies to facilitate timely access to information for families, commanders, and Family Readiness Group leaders.
Supporting the operational Army Reserve requires more than attending to the program objective memorandum, the current budget, and the appropriations structure. The Army Reserve continues to experience shortages in the most modernized equipment necessary to train our Soldiers. To maximize the use of these high-demand, low-density items, the Army Reserve is taking an enterprise approach to our equipping strategy. The strategy is based on aligning allocation and stationing of assets according to the Army Reserve's mission priorities, training strategy, and where the units are in the ARFORGEN cycle to place equipment where required. In the year ahead, the Army Reserve will refine that strategy. Our goal is to make the most effective and efficient use of equipment while ensuring that the Army Reserve deploys its limited resources effectively to produce units that are trained and ready to fight and win on the battlefield.
In 2010, we will engage human capital management strategies to shape the Army Reserve into an affordable and effective force capable of supporting national security objectives and our combatant commanders' warfighting needs.
The Army Reserve achieved its end-strength objective, but human capital management faces other challenges. Successful recruiting added a welcome abundance of Soldiers in pay grades E-3 and below, but recruiting new Soldiers as privates cannot fill the thousands of mid-grade noncommissioned officer vacancies that currently exist. Additionally, because the current recruiting system lacks precision, the current force has unnecessary imbalances. For example, the Army Reserve is authorized about 30 E-3 chaplain assistants but has more than 100 in its ranks. The officer ranks have an abundance of lieutenant colonels and colonels but lacks captains and majors.
An enterprise approach will positively shift these internal imbalances through a holistic recruiting, retention, and transition strategy that touches many Army organizations. The Army Reserve will effectively partner with Accessions Command, Human Resources Command, and Army G-1 to improve processes along functional lines to shape the Army Reserve while concurrently contributing to the vision of an Army-wide continuum of service.
In the year ahead, the Army Reserve will formulate plans to respond to needs identified in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and Total Army Analysis by developing capabilities that an Army Reserve force is best suited to provide to the nation. We will use the enterprise approach to develop a precise human capital strategy to meet our nation's future military needs by ensuring that the right Army Reserve human capabilities are in the right units at the right time. Our analysis will also identify locations where our Soldiers can simultaneously add value to both the civilian workforce and the Army Reserve. We will capitalize on our Employer Partnership Initiative's great success to sustain our Soldiers, their families, and their employers.
By facilitating Soldier employment in civilian professions that build and maintain individual military skills while not in uniform, the Employer Partnership program also contributes to effective stewardship of resources. The program allows us to divert some of our limited sustainment training resources to other military operations.
Through Employer Partnerships, we can further cultivate an affordable operational Reserve force by sharing our men and women with selected civilian employers who, in turn, will help us to develop and maintain talents, capabilities, and skills that are essential on the battlefield. Participating employers see the skills our Soldiers bring as value added to their enterprises while we see employers' contribution in maintaining the skills the nation needs as value added to our force. A strong relationship with the nation's employers and an enterprise approach to shaping the Army Reserve ranks can prudently sustain a ready force.
Shaping the Force
Given all we have accomplished, the year ahead is the right time to undertake much that is required to shape our force for the future, but our enterprise efforts will face many challenges.
During our years of transformation, the most daunting challenge was committing the people and resources necessary to build a force for the future while continuing to meet the requirements of combatant commanders. That challenge remains, and, although we've overcome it in the past, I find the role of Army Reserve chief akin to a NASCAR crew chief trying to put new rubber on his car while the race is under green-flag conditions.
Given our nation's current economy, some will question if the nation can really afford an operational reserve. The competition for resources and equipment will be intense. We must be prepared to communicate that, compared to the cost of expanding the full-time force, the small investment in the Army Reserve provides security at home and combats terrorism abroad. We respond to domestic disasters and participate in security cooperation operations while protecting national interests around the globe. In support of contingency operations, we foster stability in underdeveloped nations where conditions are ripe for terrorists to gain a foothold.
Finally, although many Americans and their elected officials will seek a peace dividend from the impending drawdown in Iraq, an operational Army Reserve must have adequate funding for incentives and benefits to shape the force we have grown and to sustain an all-volunteer force. Targeted incentives have been crucial to rebuilding our end-strength and addressing critical shortages in some grades and job specialties. Continuing these incentives will allow the Army Reserve to shape the force to better meet the requirements of our national security strategy and to give Soldiers and families stability and predictability. Additionally, continued incentives will allow the Army Reserve to maintain equity with the Active Component and the National Guard, especially in terms of education and health care benefits.
As the Army Reserve works to shape its force, its leaders must embrace the future and lead change. Soldiers must renew their commitment to serving their nation and to an operational Army Reserve.
To accomplish our vision, we must convince America's employers that our program to develop and share our human talent is good for the nation and good for their bottom line. In the same way, our families must trust that the Army Reserve will care for them and that they will benefit from the freedom they earned through their sacrifice and support.
Working together, with the continued support of organizations such as ROA, we can shape our force to meet the challenges of the future. Most important, we can accomplish this while meeting the needs of the Army, the nation, our Soldiers, their families, and their employers.