Army National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program
What is it?
The Army National Guard (ARNG) Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) is similar to the Army and Army Reserve Future Soldier Program as the formal process for indoctrinating and preparing ARNG Soldiers for the successful completion of their Initial Entry Training (IET). Army and Army Reserve Future Soldiers initially contract at the Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPSs) and remain in the Future Soldier Program until they return for their actual enlistment and IET ship date. ARNG Soldiers are accessed during the initial MEPS processing and are on active, paid drilling status while awaiting their IET ship date. They drill with their state’s RSP until they depart for basic combat training (BCT), and then join their actual unit of assignment when they are qualified for their military occupational specialty (MOS).
The intent of the RSP is to reduce training pipeline losses by introducing newly enlisted ARNG Soldiers to the military environment, and to ease their adjustment to BCT and advanced individual training (AIT).
The RSP incorporates academic, physical readiness, and common-task training. Each Soldier is screened for administrative problems as well as height, weight, and physical fitness. New Soldiers progress through various phases of Soldier Empowerment and Readiness training while attending the RSP course:
Red Phase: The Soldier’s first RSP drill weekend begins with this phase. Soldiers are in-processed, integrated, and provided instruction on Army values, the chain of command, the rank structure, saluting, military time, the phonetic alphabet, and more. They receive their Battle Book and Challenge Coin during this drill. Red Phase is usually conducted monthly to review, reinforce, and expand training.
White Phase: This phase varies in length but covers the period between the first and final drill weekends before the Soldier begins the pre-ship (Blue) phase of indoctrination. Among the many topics covered are three major ones: the training community, military history and background, and physical readiness. This phase should be supplemented by tailored state and unit-level instruction.
Blue Phase: This phase incorporates the final two 4-hour drills (the last day) before shipment. Provided is an overview and review of what each Soldier should expect at Reception Battalion and BCT.
Green Phase: This phase is for Soldiers who enlisted in the Split Training Option (STO) program and have completed Phase 1 thereof (BCT). Green Phase Soldiers may serve as student leaders while they receive additional physical readiness, leadership, and refresher BCT in preparation for STO Phase 2 (AIT) with additional emphasis on BCT skills sustainment.
Gold Phase, Battle Handoff: The Soldier’s first drill after successful completion of IET is his or her final weekend at the RSP. In this phase, Soldiers learn what to expect at their unit of assignment, as well as what will be expected of them. Most important, they experience the Battle Handoff from the RSP to the new unit/sponsor through a formal rite-of-passage ceremony attended by other RSP Soldiers and the gaining-unit leadership.
What has the Army done?
Since instituting the RSP, the ARNG has experienced almost two years of sustained at-training loss improvement and has the lowest loss rate of the three Army components. The loss rate in the ARNG Training Pipeline has been reduced by over 10 percent since the RSP’s implementation, with the current BCT graduation rate exceeding 95 percent. The ARNG has also experienced a significant increase in the retention rate of non–prior service accessions measured at the one-year mark of their accession date; currently, the ARNG loses only 12 percent of Soldiers during their first term of service following MOS qualification.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The ARNG will continue to refine its RSP to enhance the training and preparation of its pre-BCT Soldiers. In the long term, this program will reduce training pipeline losses significantly and will result in the accession of more deployable, MOS-qualified Soldiers to the units. The ARNG is exploring options for full-time manning of the RSP, as well as concepts that would provide for the integration of Army, Army Reserve, and ARNG Soldiers into a Future Soldier RSP program to prepare them for BCT.
Why is this important to the Army?
The ARNG is currently exceeding its end-strength objectives and will continue its focus on recruitment and retention efforts in support of transition of the force to an operational reserve. The RSP, along with the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program and the Every Soldier a Recruiter program, has helped the ARNG exceed end‑strength goals.