Providing Trained, Relevant and Ready Forces

By McNeill, Dan K. | Army, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Providing Trained, Relevant and Ready Forces


McNeill, Dan K., Army


U.S. Army Forces Command-Freedom's Guardian

Throughout the posts, camps and stations that support the soldiers, families and civilian workforce of the Forces Command (FORSCOM) team, it is not difficult to discern that the nation is at war. People and units are busy and focused. All understand what is at stake in the global war on terrorism. The terrorists are intent on destroying the values that make the United States so distinct, so different and so envied in the world community. We face a relentless, insidious, reactive enemy who, by our standards, is without conscience. The FORSCOM mission is underpinned by two lines of operation, and those lines are simple: provide combatant commanders with trained and ready forces to fight the war and facilitate the requisite changes to make today's Army, which by all accounts is as good as it has ever been, an even better army tomorrow, an army trained and ready for tomorrow's fight.

In the American lexicon, the phrase to "get it" has become cliché. But the members of the FORSCOM team "get it." They know they must continue to advance against the enemy and simultaneously change the Army's culture and formations. The Army leadership is committed to an Army of tomorrow that is expeditionary, meaning operational deployments are expected, routine and managed beneficially for soldiers and families. The commitment is also to an Army that is jointly interdependent, meaning that the Army will retain its unique abilities, but cease procuring capabilities resident in sister services, capabilities readily available to the Army on the battlefield. The culture already is changing. Formations, too, have begun to change. FORSCOM, in concert with the Army's other major commands, welcomes the challenge of a lead role in this change, and the FORSCOM team will never forget that winning the war was, is and will be job one. FORSCOM is about people, and those people are about filling requirements around the globe, across the spectrum of war, while transforming to a more powerful and capable force.

As the Army component of U.S. Joint Forces Command, FORSCOM has deployed or employed more than 2,300 active and reserve component units, totaling nearly 370,000 soldiers, at home and abroad in the fight against terrorism. With those units and soldiers, FORSCOM has monitored the movement of more than 1.2 billion short tons of equipment and materiel. As the conditions and requirements have changed in the war zone, FORSCOM has formed brigade combat teams from active and reserve component formations of armor, mechanized infantry, light infantry and cavalry into the remounted and motorized forces required by the theater commander. These forces have met and continue to meet theater missions successfully-in Iraq, Afghanistan and any area where they are needed.

While mobilizing and deploying soldiers in support of U.S. Central Command, we have continued to provide forces for other DoD priorities. These included detaining and interrogating prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; stabilizing the Balkans; and peacekeeping in the Sinai. National Guard and Army Reserve units, with the training support of the highly effective cadres from the continental armies, are the mainstay of all of these missions. We have also participated in a wide variety of global, joint and combined exercises during the past year. In the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Baltic states, FORSCOM units have improved capabilities across the spectrum of operations while securing the vital interests of the United States.

This year, FORSCOM assumed responsibility for U.S. Army South (USARSO). Although it remains the Army component of U.S. Southern Command, USARSO is now a major subordinate command of FORSCOM, providing full-time engagement in South and Central America. Major training exercises with Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Poland sent FORSCOM soldiers elsewhere around the world, building partnerships and sharing expertise with allied militaries. …

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