Strategic Reserve to Operational Force
What is it? "It's what I signed up for." In those few words, Staff Sergeant Steve Pepper, a Wisconsin National Guard MP who upon returning from Iraq, described the new paradigm of the Army National Guard (ARNG) - mobilization is an expectation, not an exception. Gone is the Cold War mantra of "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" with little chance of mobilization during an ARNG career. Today's ARNG is a total Army partner with Joint and expeditionary capabilities.
Not since World War II have so many ARNG Soldiers been activated. Fighting the Global War on Terrorism has meant that ARNG Soldiers have been called upon more than ever to provide security to our nation. Today, the ARNG is conducting support and stability and support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan while also keeping peace in the Balkans. Mobilization is now entrenched in ARNG operations.
America's increased dependence on the ARNG has created significant personnel, political, and budgetary implications. This new reality presents a considerable challenge to current resources. As a result, many organizational and structural changes are being made to meet the nation's new mission requirements. Some of these changes include predictable deployments, one-Army pay and personnel system, and a streamlined mobilization process. Restructuring to modular units and using the Army Force Generation Model brings rigorous planning metrics to mobilizations. Other initiatives such as the ARNG force rebalancing and expanding reach back capabilities produce a more cohesive, deployable, and combat-ready ARNG force.
Paramount to future success is an Army-wide cultural change which fully supports the principle of recurring mobilization. This new culture includes families, employers, and the Congress. ARNG Soldiers are recruited, trained, equipped, and retained with a "go-to-war" mindset. To accomplish this, the entire structure that supports the ARNG is being transformed as well.
To gain greater detail on the plans and requirements needed to adjust the ARNG to a greater operational force, read the accompanying paper, click here