NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Nov. 1, 2010 — The top Army Reserve general praised the professionalism his troops are demonstrating as they serve here, promising to do more to help them manage their military careers and to press for innovative training methods that don’t put unnecessary demands on their time.
“This is tough duty,” Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz told about 100 Army reservists, most of them military police serving as guards at the detention center here, during his Oct. 29 visit.
“I … understand what it takes to pull duty down here, and what kind of self-composure and self-restraint and maturity that you have to have to conduct this mission,” he said after touring Camp 6 at the detention facility and getting briefings about day-to-day operations at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay.
Stultz called the reservists glowing examples of an operational Army Reserve that’s become integral to the Army’s ability to accomplish its missions.
No longer is the Army Reserve “the force of last resort” that the Army “hoped they would never have to use,” Stultz told the soldiers. “Today, you are an operational force. You are a part of the Army.”
And with that genie out of the bottle, Stultz said, there’s no turning back.
“I tell people, ‘You may as well drop the term ‘reserve’ out of your dictionary for us, because we are part of the operational force,” he said. “We can’t go back to [being] a strategic reserve. We can’t go back to one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer, and that’s all we get.”
The Army Reserve needs to do a better job managing the careers of soldiers who serve in this operational reserve, he said. Reservists shouldn’t be left to their own devices to plan assignments that will build a career path, or be sent scrambling to find a new, higher-ranking slot after they’ve made a promotion list, he said.
“We are not doing our jobs managing your career. We are letting you try to manage your career,” Stultz told the soldiers. “I’m not saying you don’t know how to do it. But you shouldn’t have to.”
Stultz said he pressed the point during a recent leadership conference in Phoenix. “I told the commanders and command sergeants major they’re going to get into career management and taking care of soldiers,” he said.
Recognizing the training needed to maintain that operational reserve’s readiness, Stultz said, he’s also exploring ways to deliver some of it in ways that help reservists better balance their obligations to the military, their civilian employers and their families.
One possibility is to deliver mandatory classroom training online, possibly via computers provided by the Army Reserve.
“Here’s the deal,” Stultz told the reservists. “You do not get in your car and drive 50 miles to a reserve center to sit in a classroom. You sit at home and watch those lectures on your computer,” then complete a test and submit it online.
“And that is going to put you in the system as accounted for and trained,” he said, drawing an enthusiastic response from the audience. “And then, I will pay you for a weekend drill. I am not going to waste your time of you driving in. You do it when you want to.”
But distance learning won’t work for physical training tests, Stultz joked. “It ain’t gonna be on a computer,” he said, drawing laughter from the group. “You’ve got to come in. You’ve got to show up.”
Turning serious, Stultz told the troops he never misses an opportunity to talk about the quality of today’s reserve-component force – with community members, employers or when testifying before Congress.
“The thing I really stress is what a national treasure we have today in our reserve components across the forces – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard,” he said. “These are soldiers who have great education; they have good civilian jobs; they have families. They are part of the community and the fabric of America,” he said. “And for some reason, they raise their hand to serve in uniform, knowing, ‘I am going to be asked to leave my family, leave my job, risk my life, and as some of them have done, make the ultimate sacrifice.’ ”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)