CRYSTAL CITY, Va. (Oct. 24, 2010) - Family Readiness Group leaders attending the third annual U.S. Army Forces Command FRG Training Symposium here learned the Army is considering reduction of deployments to about nine months to increase dwell time for Soldiers and ease the stress on Families.

Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of FORSCOM, delivered this welcome surprise to the assembled 470 FRG leaders Oct. 24 as he praised them for their service and dedication to helping Soldiers.

FRG leaders from FORSCOM units all over the United States arrived in the national capital region Oct. 21 for the four-day symposium, and their training and networking will continue at the AUSA National Meeting Oct. 25-27. Following the FORSCOM FRG specific training, the volunteer leaders will attend the AUSA Family Forums to learn even more about the Army's support programs for Soldiers and Families.

Thurman's remarks were delivered during the closing ceremony of the annual FORSCOM training event held at the Hyatt Crystal City Hotel. The FRG leaders appeared excited to hear that senior leaders are working hard to shorten deployments and lengthen dwell times.

FORSCOM's Well-Being specialists, who planned and conducted the annual training symposium, knew that lengthy and frequent deployments are a hot issue among Army Families. In fact, when they polled the FRG leaders during the previous day's breakout sessions, they learned all the attendee's Soldiers had deployed at least once and some of them said their spouses have deployed as many as six times.

"The well-being of our Soldiers and Families is the key to what we have to deal with, and we have to sustain that (well-being)," Thurman said. "If we can't sustain that, then it is going to affect our ability to get the job done."

FORSCOM planners have taken this priority to heart and have established a campaign plan that will be the blueprint for how FORSCOM and its units will operate for the next five years, said Thurman. FORSCOM will release its campaign plan at the annual Association of the U.S. Army National Meeting and Exposition Oct. 26.

A central component of the campaign plan is the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process. Thurman told the FRG leaders that FORSCOM has - and continues to - work to lessen the stress on Soldiers and Families largely through ARFORGEN.

"ARFORGEN is a moving sidewalk," he said. "You have three bins: Reset, Train/Ready, and Availability, and we want to get the active Army on (a schedule of) one year deployed and two years at home."

Thurman explained that FORSCOM is the Army's largest command, and it is responsible for about 80 percent of the Army. Since Sept. 1l, 2001, the command has trained, equipped and deployed more than 1.2 million Soldiers in support overseas contingency operations, including operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Iraqi Freedom.

Thurman charged the FRG leaders to learn more about the ARFORGEN process, and he asked them to spread awareness of how it is expected to positively enhance the Army Family experience.
"It takes 26 to 34 months to recover after an extended deployment," Thurman said. "That first 6 months is to reintegrate Soldiers and Families."

ARFORGEN is the key to realizing the goal of nine-month deployments for Soldiers and their Families and to maintaining that crucial reintegration time.

During the closing ceremony, Thurman also thanked all symposium attendees for their cooperation, hard efforts and great attitudes during the training. "First thing I want to do is thank you, and I cannot be any more proud of you," Thurman said. "You know what, I really like is (your) positive attitude."

Thurman also asked the FRG leaders for their continued support to Soldiers, during these times of persistent conflict.

"No one [in the Army] does anything by themselves," Thurman state. "It's [about] teamwork."

Page last updated Tue October 26th, 2010 at 11:38