Strengthening Full Spectrum Capabilities

By Thurman, James D. | Army, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Strengthening Full Spectrum Capabilities

Thurman, James D., Army

A decade into the 21st century, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exemplify the broad and complex array of threats facing the United States today. The type of enemy we face in these campaigns requires the Army to sustain combat operations for protracted periods of time. Today our forces routinely balance offense, defense, and stability and support operations simultaneously. This capability has evolved during nine years of war.

The nature of war is timeless, but the Army has transformed to confront a different kind of enemy and also to operate in a changed era. Our formations have adapted into a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations to provide a predictable supply of forces trained and ready for full spectrum operations. Our successes on today's asymmetric battlefields are due to the imagination, agility and resourcefulness of the American soldier. Operating globally alongside allies and coalition partners, our forces provide the decisive edge. The best indicator of readiness continues to be performance in combat. Building readiness, therefore, remains U.S. Army Forces Command's (FORSCOM) most important responsibility.

The largest Army command and the Army service component command (ASCC) of U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), FORSCOM is headquartered at Fort McPherson, Ga. Its mission is to train, mobilize, deploy, sustain, transform and reconstitute combat-ready forces capable of operating in a joint and combined environment to meet our nation's worldwide operational commitments. As the ASCC to JFCOM, the joint force provider, FORSCOM is responsible for sourcing the combatant commanders' requests for conventional land forces.

The 279,000 soldiers and 3300 Army civilians of FORSCOM continue to meet the demands for land forces of a nation at war, while working closely with the nearly 360,000 soldiers of the Army National Guard (ARNG) and 206,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) to support missions around the globe, with priority to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, there are approximately 40,000 ARNG and 18,000 USAR soldiers mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND), with an additional 3,800 ARNG and 12,000 USAR soldiers mobilized for other active Army requirements. FORSCOM exercises training and readiness oversight of the ARNG and USAR during premobilization and supports the postmobilization training, deployment, redeployment and demobilization of all ARNG and USAR units, principally through First Army, a FORSCOM major subordinate command. First Army will also train approximately 10,000 sailors, airmen and Canadian military members this year to conduct missions in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

In addition, FORSCOM trained almost 5,000 soldiers for the security force assistance mission in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, through the 162nd Infantry Brigade at Fort Polk, La. The brigade and its five battalions typically conduct a 60-day resident program of instruction for non-brigade combat advisors, with the capacity for 26 classes each year. Over the past year, the brigade trained about 1,500 sailors, airmen and soldiers from the reserve components for combat advisor duty at the national level in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 162nd Infantry Brigade's focus today is on OEF and OND requirements, utilizing a responsive training program to maintain efficacy despite the rapidly changing operational environment in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the last year, using its mobile training teams, the 162nd has trained eight brigades for OEF and 15 brigades for OND. While focused on the CENTCOM area of responsibility today, the 162nd security force assistance mission will continue to gain importance as the brigade leadership continues its vision for growing the brigade into a training capability with regional focus to help build partnerships.

Today our total force of active component, ARNG and USAR soldiers is partnered to form the most seasoned and capable team in our nation's history. …

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