USA — Army Reserve Postures for ‘Uncertain’ Future

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2010 — With tough bud­get deci­sions on the hori­zon and the chang­ing mil­i­tary mis­sions in the Mid­dle East, an uncer­tain future awaits the Army Reserve, the organization’s com­man­der said today.

Speak­ing to Army Reserve sol­diers in a town hall meet­ing at the Pen­ta­gon today, Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz talked about the state of the Army Reserve and what he’s doing to help evolve the force to bet­ter meet the needs of tomorrow’s mil­i­tary.

“Every­one is try­ing to fig­ure out what the future will look like and plan accord­ing­ly,” Stultz said. “There’s a lot of uncer­tain­ty out there.”

Stultz cit­ed “uncer­tain­ty” in how the Army Reserve’s mis­sion will change with the draw­down of forces in Iraq and the troop surge in Afghanistan. He said he also rec­og­nizes the effects unem­ploy­ment and the nation­al deficit will have on future fis­cal bud­get requests.

Mean­while, he said, sol­diers must stay focused and can’t let the cur­rent issues influ­ence “the things we need to get done.” Ini­tia­tives are under way, he added, to “oper­a­tional­ize” the Army Reserve.

“The nat­ur­al ten­den­cy is to wait and see and let some­body tell us what the future is,” the gen­er­al said. “My push from my posi­tion is to push our staff, our com­man­ders [and] our lead­ers to not wait. We’re going to con­tin­ue to move for­ward with the vision that we have for the Army Reserve and the things we need to do to shape the future for us.”

Oper­a­tional­iz­ing the Army Reserves means that the force would be used on a reg­u­lar basis to aug­ment the active Army, Stultz explained. In the future, he said, the active Army and the Army Reserve will not have sep­a­rate mis­sions.

The idea will help to ensure the Army is more fis­cal­ly effi­cient and stream­lined, he explained. Most impor­tant­ly, he added, it will ensure the Army Reserve is an effec­tive tool for com­bat­ant com­man­ders through­out the armed forces.

The mis­sion in Iraq now requires few­er troops, and the same will even­tu­al­ly hap­pen in Afghanistan, Stultz said. But because Army Reserve units are made up pri­mar­i­ly of com­bat sup­port and com­bat ser­vice sup­port skills, a need exists for reservists out­side of the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, he said. He not­ed that on a recent trip to South­east Asia, he met with Army reservists part­ner­ing with Navy sailors to pro­vide med­ical sup­port to peo­ple in need in Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Sin­ga­pore.

Their efforts sup­port­ed the U.S. Pacif­ic Com­mand mis­sion and pro­vid­ed thou­sands of peo­ple with much-need­ed den­tal and med­ical care, the gen­er­al said. The same types of mis­sions are under way in South Amer­i­ca and Africa, Stultz said, not­ing that Army Reserve troops, in this capac­i­ty, can boost com­bat­ant com­man­ders’ effec­tive­ness and effi­cien­cy.

“I’ve seen Army Reserve forces doing a lot of great things in secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, the­ater engage­ments [and] nation build­ing out­side of oper­a­tions Iraqi Free­dom and Endur­ing Free­dom,” he said. “There’s a goal for forces in the future to do great things for our nation around the world, not nec­es­sar­i­ly asso­ci­at­ed with kinet­ic oper­a­tions.”

Army Reserve troops can have a pos­i­tive impact in help­ing for­eign armies train and improve their defens­es, he added.

“The Army Reserve is not just a con­tin­gency force for Amer­i­ca,” he said, “but also a valu­able asset to the­ater engage­ments.”

Stultz also talked about the Army cam­paign to man­age resources and elim­i­nate redun­dan­cy with­in the force. That includes mil­i­tary and civil­ian per­son­nel and pro­grams, he said. “We can’t afford redun­dan­cy,” he said. “We can’t afford two guys doing the same job. We’ve got to work for effi­cien­cy.”

Despite these chal­lenges and future changes, the one thing that’s remained con­stant is the qual­i­ty of Army Reserve sol­diers, Stultz said.

“The good news in all of this is that our sol­diers are out­stand­ing,” he said. “As I trav­el around the states, the world, see­ing what our sol­diers are doing, their atti­tudes [and] the ded­i­ca­tion have nev­er been high­er.”

Reten­tion rates are exceed­ing goals, despite actions to reduce reten­tion and enlist­ments, Stultz said. The Army Reserve still have more peo­ple than autho­rized, he added, and that’s because of the sol­diers’ atti­tude.

“We’ve got a lot of great sol­diers out there,” he said. “All we’ve got to do is give them train­ing and oppor­tu­ni­ties to grow, and keep them engaged. The force is in great hands.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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