Exercises may replace deployments in ARFORGEN cycle
October 11, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 11, 2011) -- With the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, units that fall into the 12-month available phase of the Army Force Generation Model may eventually be sent on large-scale training exercises instead of deployments, Army officials said Monday.
On the first day of the annual Association of the United States Army, it was standing room only at the Institute for Land Warfare's forum on the future of Army Force Generation: A total Army approach.
"We are looking to get new authorization for these missions," said Karl Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs. "Ultimately, it will be a political decision," he said. "It is important to show that it works and do it responsibly."
EXPLANATION OF ARFORGEN
Leading discussion on the changes and issues was Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. This command trains, mobilizes, deploys, sustains, transforms and reconstitutes conventional forces, numbering about 780,000 Soldiers and 3,400 civilian staff members.
"Think of Army Force Generation as just a way of building progressive readiness," said Bromberg.
"If we're going to be in a long-term conflict, we're going to have to have cyclical rotation of forces. This is the difference between the old model and the new model," he said.
ARFORGEN is the Army's core process for generating a supply of forces, using effective resource management in manning, training, and equipping in order to support the demands of combatant commanders and other Army requirements.
It's flexible and adaptable to the Army's needs, enables the Army to build readiness and provides a sustained flow of units.
ARFORGEN FORCE POOLS
"This new model is driven by constant demand in a long-term persistent conflict. With this model, we can shape it as we need to with just three simple force pools.
"You have a (force) pool (called Reset) that begins when you return from the forces and you can get training, spend time with the families, reintegrate themselves, begin training again, people PCS (permanently change duty stations). It's a six-month period. Six months, you have an opportunity to start re-generating your formation," Bromberger said.
The second pool -- called Train/Ready, is a longer period of about 18 months, he said. In this force pool, readiness is progressively built through ARFORGEN aim points: collective training strategy for the range of military operations, focused training at unit level, and family and employer liaison.
"And then you enter a 12-month cycle of being available. You're available to do what the nation needs you to do," he said.
Upon entering the Available force pool, a unit may be a Deployment Expeditionary Force, or DEF, with an identified deployed mission or a Contingency Expeditionary Force, or CEF, with a mission to accrue capabilities in order to react to a global contingency.
DEF AND CEF
"DEFs deploy to support specific combatant commander requirements, and CEFs are available to participate in various mission options," Bromberg said.
For the reserve component, he said, the cycle is just a little bit longer, though it's the same cycle -- they reintegrate, or reset for 12 months; then they have a 36-month period for Train/Ready; finally, they have 12 months to be available.
"Now, you can compress this cycle, and you can even expand it if you wanted to. We picked 36 months for several reasons -- a lot of it having to do with demand. There's nothing magical about 36 months, it's all built by the environment we have to support," Bromberg said.
Another way to think of ARFORGEN, he said, is to think of it as a rheostat.
"If you want more forces, faster, you dip back further to the left and you have to accept more risk with either manning or training or equipping. But we can at least articulate that risk to our leadership. If the force structure goes down, the model can still apply. You just have less forces available," he said.
ARFORGEN IS PREDICTABLE
The idea behind ARFORGEN is predictability.
"You'll hear discussions about BOG/dwell -- how much time boots on the ground versus how much time at home. We want to help inform Soldiers and families. So the goal when you enter reset, you can tell that organization what the next mission is going to be.
Also weighing in on the needs of the Army and the benefits of ARFORGEN were a panel of senior Army leaders who understandably drew the packed audience of professionals.
The panel included Maj. Gen. Peter C. Bayer Jr., director of Strategy, Plans and Policy of the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7; Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz Jr., chief, Army Reserve, and commanding general, United States Army Reserve Command; Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, deputy director, Army National Guard; and
Karl F. Schneider, M&RA.
ARFORGEN IS PEOPLE
"There are three questions that I need to ask every single day," said Schneider, whose job is to provide guidance, supervision, and synchronization for the daily activities of the Office of the Assistant Secretary.
"The first question is, do we have enough people? This encompasses a lot of other questions. Do we have the right people with the right training at the right place at the right time?
"The second question is, do our people have enough? And that gets us into compensation, it gets us into retirement, it gets us in to taking care of families, all of the things that cause us to get and keep people in the Army.
"And the third question is one that's particularly relevant today is, do I have enough money to do one and two? And that I think is the great struggle with the Army and the other services are really facing in the coming months and years.
The Army has a gearbox and there are three gears in that gearbox, he said.
"One gear is end strength -- the number of people we have: military, civilian and contract people, and we know pretty much every year how many people we're allowed to have in our Army.
The second gear, he said, is force structure. How are the people organized?
"The third gear is demand. Do I have enough people and do I have the right force structure to meet the demand?
"Those three gears have to be the right size in relationship to one another, they have to be turning in the proper directions, and they have to be turning at the right speed for it to work," Schneider said.
He said he thinks what the Army has seen in the last 10 years of conflict is a gearbox where maybe the gears haven't been the right size all the time, and haven't been turning at the right speed and right direction.
"So, on the individual side is the individual stressors, suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, people who are medically non-deployable, problems with families. On the organizational side of the house, the question of training, the question of under manning certain units to fill others … all those organizational problems we have when those three gears aren't synchronized properly," he said.
ARFORGEN IS SYNCHRONIZATION
AFORGEN, he said, is all about being able to synchronize those gears.
"We've always tried to synchronize it but we never really called it anything before. And people have come up to us in the last several months and asked, do you think ARFORGEN is going to survive? And my answer has always been, sure, we're always going to have to have some way to synchronize the Army. And whether you call it something else, I mean, it will change as the Army has changed. It will change as demand changes, but there will still be a need to synchronize the elements of the United States Army," Schneider said.
The challenges are many, he said, and they all have to do with people.
"So we are always looking at what are the manning issues, what are the policies we need to be looking at to make sure that we have the right people at the right place at the right time for our units so they can properly fit in the ARFORGEN cycle," he said.
ARMY SEEKS CONGRESSIONAL HELP
To alleviate this problem, he said the Army has recommended to Congress change in the law to help with several aspects of ARFORGEN.
"Number one, we've asked for changes in the law to allow us to access the reserve component when we need them for operational reasons.
"We have also asked for the opportunity to drop people early, so people we call ice cubes, people who don't have enough time in their enlistment to deploy, we can get them off of our roles fairly to them so we can bring in new Soldiers who can deploy -- that gets to the end strength problem," Schneider said.
These statutory changes, he said, will help make ARFORGEN work even more effectively.
"As you know, the deployment policy has recently changed so the nine months, boots on the ground will be the same for both active and reserve component. This particularly helps in this whole concept of total force policy of trying to get away from the differences between the three components, and emphasizing more the similarities between the three components.
"And I think there's a lot more work to be done in that area. And as we look into the future, looking at things like continual service -- the idea of a Soldier for life where you can transition back and forth between being a fulltime Soldier to being a part time Soldier," he said.
This will also require integration of units, he said, where units will be blended together.
"But it's also going to mean one standard, everybody has to be at the same standard -- standards of readiness, standards of fitness, all those things will be the same for all components," he said.
One of the other things the Army is considering, he said, as far as bringing things into synchronization is the issue of BOG/dwell, and the need for the Army to get increased dwell time for Soldiers.
"It's getting better; it's getting better for combat arms; but it's still a problem with aviation. Aviation is still pretty much one to one, which is not enough time at home.
Even though there's issues the Army is looking at, he said, ARFORGEN is here to stay.
"It makes too much sense for our Army. It is the synchronization that's going to reduce the friction in that gearbox," Schneider said.
"We just need to have some kind of model that we can hang our hat on and we can organize, prioritize our resources so we can put them in the right places at the right time with the best capability and that's what FORSCOM is all about delivering a trained and ready force to combatant commanders, and the AFORGEN model allows us to do that," Bromberg said.