From the Top

By October 19, 2012General
A USAR medical Soldier at an Innovative Readiness Training stand-down for homeless veterans
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LTG Jeffrey W. Talley

The success of America’s Army relies on the depth of a multicomponent force and will require the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) to maintain their key role as part of Army force structure. My vision and strategy, outlined in “Rally Point 32,” will enable the USAR to sustain its support to the Total Army and the Joint Force.

While the past decade has redefined what it means to be a Reserve Soldier, the Army’s increasing reliance on critical capabilities resident in the USAR has been generations in the making.

In the early 1970s, the Total Force policy, also known as the Abrams Doctrine, was a major change to the strategic reserve. It placed a greater reliance on the Reserve force for warfighting and full-spectrum operations. The Total Force policy aligned major pieces of combat service and combat service support units into the USAR, making it essential to sustaining combat capabilities.

The alignment created an active partnership between the active component and USAR, placing budgeting, planning, and programming for active component and USAR forces together. The doctrine was implemented in structure and policy in the 1993 Offsite Agreement, which, coupled with the Transformation Campaign Plan of 1999, overhauled the force structure and created modular brigades, laying the foundation for today’s essential operational Army Reserve.

In 1975, former Army Chief of Staff GEN Creighton Abrams famously said, “They’re not taking us to war without the Reserves.” The restructuring of the Army in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and draft system were designed, in part, to ensure public support through the engagement of community-based citizen-Soldiers. At the time, the decision was considered risky in light of the perception that “weekend warriors” were ill-equipped and ill-prepared to mobilize.

Having had the privilege of commanding both USAR and ARNG Soldiers, I take great pride in the demonstrated capabilities and professionalism of reserve component Soldiers. Any question regarding performance and readiness has been dispelled by the historic integration of the reserves, globally engaged in multiple campaigns across a full range of military operations.

The Army Reserve Now
I believe we have the best Army Reserve in history. We are an essential part of the total force: Every year since 2001, an average of 24,000 USAR Soldiers have seamlessly integrated with the mobilized force. No longer a strategic, supplemental component, the USAR has become a crucial and complementary force to the Army’s overall deployable strength and warfighting team.

The Army Reserve comprises 19 percent of the Total Army for 6 percent of its budget. As a Federal Force under Federal Control, maintaining operational flexibility and strategic depth through critical capabilities resident within the USAR is a top priority for the Nation. The USAR structure is designed to provide complementary capabilities: We provide direct and essential access to the majority of the Army’s medical, engineer, quartermaster, ordinance, civil affairs, and psychological operations capability. More than one-third of our structure is combat support, and more than half is combat service support.

Army Reserve 2020
Developing Army Reserve 2020 as a versatile mix of enabling capabilities to Army 2020 and Joint Force 2020 is a key strategic priority. As we continue to provide ready and direct access to a high-quality, all-volunteer, operational USAR for Army and joint missions at home and abroad, we must also adapt to meet the evolving requirements of the Total Force and the Nation in an environment of reduced fiscal resources.

The way ahead will involve varying levels of progressive readiness for the Army. Not all units require the same resources to achieve readiness goals. The revised Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model will provide a more balanced approach to training, mobilization, and predictability that Soldiers, Families, and employers deserve.

Aligning Army Reserve Theater Commands with Army Corps, Army Service Component Commands, and Combatant Commands is crucial to keeping the Army Reserve part of the operating force. This alignment will provide critical staff planning and support and ensure the use of the Army Reserve’s unique capability throughout the ARFORGEN cycle.

Forces that are regionally aligned will maintain an expeditionary mindset, and regional alignment will also broaden the core skills of Army Reserve Soldiers by including cultural and language training. The goal is to enhance the Army’s ability to conduct a full range of military missions worldwide, achieve and sustain security, stability, and peace.

CPL Ryan J. Barger

CPL Ryan J. Barger, from Orleans MI, 303rd Military Police Company, Jackson, MI and last year’s USAR’s Best Warrior winner evaluates a casualty during 2011 Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition, Oct. 6. (U.S. Army photo by SPC Cliff Coy)

The USAR has numerous resources available, with dedicated training infrastructure as well as training divisions under the operational control of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, making them a resource and asset to the Total Army. Maximizing Combat Training Center-like enabling training with the Total Force at our Warrior Exercises and Combat Support Training Exercises, conducted by the 84th Training Command, is key.

Also, simulation technology and home station training will save time and training dollars. The 75th Training Division (Mission Command) is currently spearheading a proof of principle that, if successful, could allow distributive use of games and simulations at platoon, company, and expeditionary sustainment command-size elements.

Legislative Authority
USAR Soldiers are present in 1,200 communities across the across the Nation. They add value through military and civilian acquired skills and capabilities that can now be leveraged at home for critical lifesaving, property preservation, and damage mitigation events.

The new mobilization authority for Defense Support of Civil Authority response contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 will serve as the mechanism to rapidly activate Federal Reserve Components in a complex catastrophe. The core competency of the USAR—the projection and sustainment of Army forces—lends itself readily to such missions. In the instance of a complex catastrophe, the USAR maintains 100 percent of the Army’s bio-detection capability, 76 percent of the forward surgical capability, and a predominance of transportation and engineering capability for the Total Army.

I would like to see a stronger emphasis on Soldier and leader readiness programs. In addition to physical fitness training, I expect my leaders to know their Soldiers and Families and work to instill resiliency.

The one thing that keeps me up at night is knowing we are losing too many Soldiers to suicide. Learn to identify and recognize at-risk Soldiers, and let them know that reaching out for help is a sign of strength. There are programs and resources that troubled Soldiers and Family members need to be made aware of, and looking out for your troop or battle buddy is something every Soldier must do.

I have high confidence that together our leadership teams will aggressively exercise proper authority within their commands to ensure adequate manning, training, and equipping to meet mission requirements. Leaders should emphasize technical skills in tactical environments—make use of our WAREXS [warrior exercises] and CSTXs [Combat Support Training Exercise] and participate in Theater exercises; this will maintain the warrior skills honed over a decade of war.

As I stated in Rally Point 32, the future will require an Army Reserve that can enable our Army to “Prevent, Shape and Win” across a full range of missions. Reduced resourcing will require continued effectiveness with gained business efficiencies. The key to success is maintaining the right force mix in our total Army and keeping a balance in our personal and professional lives as we serve together.


  • LTG JEFFREY W. TALLEY is the Chief of USAR and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command.

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