Army Reserve Returns on America's Investment

Article excerpt

As America remains a nation in persistent conflict, the Army Reserve continues to be a positive investment for America. We support the nation's Army in providing efficient, cost-effective and cohesive units of trained, equipped and ready warrior citizen-soldiers who are prepared to meet global requirements across the full spectrum of operations.

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the Army Reserve met its authorized personnel end-strength objective of 205,000 soldiers one year ahead of schedule. Successful recruiting added an abundance of soldiers in the lowest three pay grades, but recruiting new soldiers as privates and second lieutenants does not fill the thousands of midgrade noncommissioned and commissioned officer vacancies that currently exist.

In tandem with Congress, we are working to secure continued funding of recruiting and retention incentives to allow us to shape the force with less reliance on cross-leveling to offset midgrade strength imbalances. Our recruiting efforts target incentives to more prior-service recruits, who bring more experience than most first-term soldiers to the Army Reserve. These experienced soldiers are critical in filling shortages among midlevel commissioned and noncommissioned officers.

The Army Reserve requires more flexible full-time support programs to properly function as a fully operational force. The current full-time support model remains a strategic reserve legacy. Key legislative and policy modifications are required to change personnel support processes. We are currently working to create additional full-time support capability to provide much-needed continuity in the generating forces. These changes will allow eligibility for enlistment and reenlisrment bonuses, education loan repayment and other incentives. We are also planning to create a new category of non-dual status technician, which allows retention and direct hire of personnel from outside the selected Reserve.

Moreover, we are creating a capability for America with a talent pool that transfers skills learned on the battlefield to American industry. The capital we use to recruit and train our warrior citizen-soldiers goes back to the local community as a resource that meets the talent requirements of the civilian workplace. We are implementing the continuum-of-service process - an innovative human capital objective that seeks to inspire soldiers to a lifetime of service. A continuum of service offers active and reserve component soldiers multiple career options while maintaining capability for the operational force.

In this difficult economy, one of the challenges our soldiers encounter is maintaining stable civilian employment. Through our Employer Partnership Office (EPO), we team with employers across the nation to assist soldiers seeking civilian employment and to provide career choices that complement their military service. EPO is an enhanced career-service program. We collaborate with the private sector to match skill sets between military and civilian careers, capitalize on shared training, and identify and implement workforce innovations. Our partners recognize and reward the leadership, skills and abilities that our servicemembers bring to their businesses. This partnership will continue to bring stability to the force, to servicemembers, to their families and to employers.

Another challenge facing the Army Reserve today is having on hand the right number of modern unit-equipment sets for training and deployment to the field. While we have seen improvements in equipment levels and upgraded, modernized equipment, we continue to experience shortfalls due to legacy funding. National Guard and Reserve Equipment Appropriation funding helps us moderate equipment challenges, and the support of Congress allows us to procure modernized equipment that otherwise would be out of our reach. Satisfying unit requirements with current-generation equipment increases our ability to train soldiers at home on the same equipment they will use during deployment. …