Forum discusses future of Army Force Generation, impact on Total Army
October 10, 2011
WASHINGTON (Oct. 11, 2011) -- "We had Army Force Generation before 2001, but we didn't call it force generation," said Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, deputy commanding general and chief of staff, U.S. Army Forces Command, and lead speaker at the Institute of Land Warfare Contemporary Military Forum on the future of Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN), at the 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the United States Army, Oct. 10, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
"We said, listen -- we've got to generate forces differently if we're going to be in a long-term conflict, and we're going to have cyclical rotation of forces," he said. "That's the difference between the old models (of readiness) over the new model."
"The old model was we're all going to go, and we're going to build readiness as we go," said Bromberg.
The forum, which, in addition to Bromberg, included leaders and experts from Headquarters, Department of the Army, the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, was an opportunity to inform the audience about what ARFORGEN is, and for many -- what it isn't; and to talk about the challenges facing the total Army as the changing demand for forces in Iraq and Afghanistan require commanders and planners at all levels to adjust.
Some of the discussion points from the panel included: details on the RESET, Trained and Ready, and Available force pools; the "Boots on the Ground" or "BOG" (time in the combat theater) to "Dwell" or time at home, mix; providing Reserve Component units for contingency operations; and managing, in particular, the mobilization and deployment plans for Reserve Component units as the demand in the combat theater changes.
Lt. Gen. Jack R. Stultz Jr., chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command, discussed the impact of ARFORGEN and the importance of balancing structure and using the Reserve Component as an operational force, as he pointed out that most of the Army's support capability and "theater opening" forces are provided by the Army Reserve or National Guard units.
"We have constructed an Army, today, that over the years has pushed a huge amount of the combat support and combat service support structure into the Reserve Component, because it's the right thing to do," said Stultz. "Number one, it's a skill set that matches very well with our skill sets in civilian life, and number two, it's a capability that if you don't need it -- why pay for it on a full time basis."
The key is to have access to the units, and to have confidence they are going to be trained and ready when needed, said Stultz.
ARFORGEN is a key to this access and confidence in the 205,000 members of the Army Reserve, he said.
"To do that you have to predictability," said Stultz. "You've got to have some kind of a training strategy of how you're going to maintain that predictable force that's coming to you, then you've got have access to them."
According to Maj. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, deputy director, Army National Guard, the predictability and focus resulting from the ARFORGEN process also is important to the Soldiers and units of the National Guard.
"For the Army National Guard, ARFORGEN is predictable and structured process that's required to ensure we can provide available forces that are ready," Kadavy said. "Essentially it helps us target the resources at the right time and place to give the Army the capability it needs."
What does the future hold for ARFORGEN?
The panel members all agreed that only time, and resources, will tell.
"Think of Army Force Generation as way to build progressive readiness," said Bromberg. "It's a model, it's a process, and we are going to have to some process in the Army."