The Army Reserve: A Positive Investment for America
Stultz, Jack C., Army
As an operational force, the Army Reserve is a positive investment for America. Owing to the contributions of our citizen-soldiers and their families and prudent investments over the course of this decade, the Army Reserve has evolved from a strategic reserve to an indispensable operational force.
Making the transition from a strategic reserve to an operational force is a good value for this nation. We are undertaking the difficult and complex transition to operationalize an organization as large as our Army Reserve in a wartime environment - and we are making it happen! We have moved away from a legacy structure that served us well as a strategic reserve to a leaner organization that accommodates command and control of an operational force.
To maximize Americans' return on their investment, we have streamlined our command-and-control structure, standing down nondeployable support commands and establishing in their places operational and functional commands. Stream- lining command and control maximizes available forces to support Army operational requirements. Army Reserve units are now aligned to headquarters in the same way they are aligned on the battlefield. We restructured our in- stitutional force by replacing seven institutional training divisions with three training commands to provide initial entry, military skill reclassification, and professional and leader development. We harvested additional structure as four two-star regional support commands assumed the base support operations functions for more than 900 Army Reserve centers across the country. These four support commands relieve operational commands of facility and garrison-type service functions, allowing the operational commands to focus on unit readiness and training.
Restructuring and rebalancing have also allowed us to add capability for new Army missions, such as stability operations. We are supporting the requirements of this expanding new mission by adding civil affairs professionals, transportation specialists, engineers and military police as part of our internal reorganization while adding approximately 16,000 operational spaces of capability for the future. Throughout this transformation, the Army Reserve continues to successfully meet its mission.
As our external transformation reaches culmination, we are looking to the future. We have adopted the Army enterprise approach of institutional management that optimizes performance across four core enterprises: human capital, readiness, materiel, and services and infrastructure. Already, we are realizing some significant benefits in using this approach. Our way ahead in the next year is strengthening capability across these core areas.
Building personnel strength is the most important priority for the Army Reserve. In 2008, we recruited 44,455 soldiers and reenlisted 16,523 (111 percent of our annual goal), yielding a net gain of 7,142 in our ranks. We achieved the congressionally mandated end strength of 206,000 soldiers this year, more than a year in advance of the projected time frame.
We recognize a significant gap in capability, however. Overall, the Army Reserve is short approximately 10,000 officers in the grades of captain and major. In the enlisted ranks, we are challenged to develop and retain senior midgrade noncommissioned officers (staff sergeants and sergeants first class). We are working aggressively to grow and shape the force to overcome these challenges. One initiative the Army Reserve is advocating to combat the loss in midgrade ranks is a "continuum of service" for a fully integrated force - active and reserve. By presenting civilian and military career options, the Army Reserve hopes to create an environment for soldiers to move back and forth between components as their personal lives and civilian careers dictate.
Our employer partnership initiative has produced a human capital strategy for America. Employers and the Army Reserve now share in the recruiting, training and development of quality individuals who contribute to our nation's defense, American industry, state and local governments, and the civilian service sector. …