USA — Army Reserve Chief Presses for Better Career Management

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)

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