CAMP ROBINSON, ARKANSAS (March 29, 2012) For the first time, U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command "nested" their annual conferences with Army Reserve Component senior leadership into one combined conference, the FORSCOM Command Readiness Program and TRADOC Reserve Component General Officer Conference, March 26-28.

With a theme of "Shaping the Army of 2020: Meeting the Needs of the Nation," the purpose of the conference was to communicate strategically with general officers from the Army Reserve and Army National Guard while addressing both FORSCOM's and TRADOC's priorities.

"We're working much closer with TRADOC than in the past because, just like everywhere else, the only way we're going to get through the next couple of years is through incredible teamwork, selfless service, and great decision-making," the FORSCOM commander, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, told the almost 300 senior-level leaders in attendance at the LaVern E. Weber National Guard Professional Education Center.

"We're going to become smaller, especially in the Active Component, but we're going to become more capable, more adaptable, across the entire range of military operations," said Rodriguez. "Our charge is to train our organizations, to build our leaders, so whatever threat comes whenever it comes, we can adapt quickly to be able to handle the challenges."

He emphasized that, given an uncertain hybrid threat, an adaptable force is going to be essential to what the Army is doing. That peril takes in the fullest range of threats--from a nuclear threat to a cyber threat to a criminal threat and everything in between.

"We cannot afford the force the size to do everything always against the wide ranging threat, which is why we're going to require the hugely adaptable force. We're going to have to be able to address all these range of threats and we're going to have to be doing it fast," Rodriguez said.

He emphasized that feedback and recommendations from the Reserve Component are essential to enhancing the combined efforts of these critical and timely issues to help shape the Army of 2020.

"The Reserve Component is very well suited to contribute capabilities to this model. We have more skill sets in the Army Guard and Reserve than anybody can imagine. I think you can go to almost anywhere in the Reserve Component and ask them to do something the nation needs us to do and there'll be experts out there because they do it every day," Rodriguez said.

Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of TRADOC, urged the Army Reserve and Guard general officers to use the new Army Profession Campaign TRADOC has developed as a tool in terms of what they're trying to do regarding standards, discipline, and focus.

"We have standards; we have values. They're probably about right. But we haven't been living up to them," he said. "It's caused us to go back and look at everything we do in light of the fundamental precepts of being a profession."

Cone also spoke of the need to re-institute doctrine for the time when the Army does not have the combat experience that is ongoing now.

"What we've done in conjunction with FORSCOM is to restructure our doctrinal manuals," he said. "We've stratified our doctrine, taken immutable principles, and come up with about 15 manuals we're re-writing."

The conference's keynote speaker, Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that the force design for the year 2020 will require choices by all in attendance.

"We're going to have to pick the highest priority programs across the full spectrum of our enterprise to fund, resource, and support," he said. "How do we pick them? We cannot make the decisions in Washington alone. We've got to involve the people in the field. . . . And the test of your leadership is how you prioritize, what's most important, to get through this period of time."

Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, FORSCOM deputy chief of staff for G-3/5/7, provided an update on Army Force Generation. An evolving ARFORGEN model now involves foundational requirements and operational requirements. Priorities will be based on demand from combatant commanders to ensure they have the right force at the right place at the right time. The new ARFORGEN model will have three force pools: Mission Force, Rotational Force, and Reserve Force.

Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, commander of First Army, spoke about the future for training, mobilizing, deployment, and demobilization of Reserve Component forces. Adjustments will have to be made, he said, as the Army moves from a preponderant call for Deployment Expeditionary Forces to a focus on Contingency Expeditionary Forces.

He also suggested that in order to get the best training, a shift needs to be considered away from the traditional concentration of May-to-September annual training to spreading units' ATs throughout the year.

The deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, Maj. Gen. Jon Miller, discussed how in developing its training strategy, USARC kept in mind that not all units require the same level of training or engagement to make them ready.

As a result, three categories have been created according to the level of difficulty involved in training a unit to achieve readiness goals. "By identifying the units that are the most arduous to make ready, we can maximize training resources and focus training dollars, training time, and collective energy on the efforts that are most challenging," Miller said.

He also spoke of the advantages being offered in maintaining the required number of Reserve Component Soldiers in the future by leveraging the drawdown of the Active Component. "By targeting Soldiers who will be transitioning out of the AC, we will encourage a continuum of service and preserve their talent and experience," he said.

In his overview of the National Guard, Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., director of the Army National Guard, emphasized that the Guard and the Army Reserve need to have some sense of proportionality in the way units are selected for missions.

"If we're going to be an operational force, we'll have to occasionally operate," he said. ""We've spent a significant amount of time, energy, and the nation's treasure building the Guard and Reserve to the point where we are today after ten years of war. If we don't use that capability as we move forward to the Army of 2020, that capability will atrophy."

Ingram received a round of general applause when he said, "Whether it's theater engagement, a war fight or whatever's next--and no one knows what's next--we need to be a part of it to avoid becoming the old strategic Reserve of pre-9/11!"

Col. Randall Lane, chief of the FORSCOM Commander's Initiatives Group, provided a quick overview to the conference of the FORSCOM Campaign Plan, which will be released in the near future. He stressed that FORSCOM's mission is "clearly about preparing and providing land forces to meet combatant commander requirements in defense of our nation."

The vision of the FORSCOM Campaign Plan is as follows:
- A focus extended out to 2020 to help shape the future land force required in a dynamic environment.
- Active and Reserve Components as an integrated Total Force will provide operational depth and versatility.
- The land force will be trained and comfortable operating in a joint, inter-agency, intergovernmental, multi-national (JIIM) environment.
- The land force will be expeditionary as the Army will engage forward yet not be forward deployed.
- The land force must be decisive and dominant across the full range of military operations.

"It's all about achieving the end state of a land force tailored to have a versatile mix of capabilities, operating regularly within a JIIM environment, and decisive across the range of military operations," Lane said.

Other subjects covered during the FORSCOM/TRADOC conference included presentations on Leader Development and the Army Profession, Medical Management Activity and the Reserve Component Medical Support Center, Mission Command, Defense Support to Civil Authorities, Doctrine 2015, Initial Military Training, and Army Learning Model 2015.

Panel discussions dealt with Personnel Non-Availability, One Army School System, and G-1 (Personnel), G-2 (Intelligence), G-3/5/7 (Operations/Planning/Training), G-4 (Logistics), and G-8 (Budget Resourcing) updates from Headquarters, Department of the Army.

Gen. Rodriguez concluded the two-and-a-half-day conference by expressing his pleasure with its success

"Thank you for your great leadership, which we need now more than ever before as the Army moves into these transitioning times. We've learned an incredible amount from all of you, and we have great take-aways as a result of amazing teamwork by you," he said. "Of course, the hard work is not making a list of what all we've got to get done but getting it done

He observed that they face many challenges but also many opportunities. "We've got some very difficult decisions that are pending. That will be tough and emotional for all of us, but we'll get through it because of the great leadership we see in this room," Rodriguez said, adding, "After a decade of protracted conflict, our nation, our Army, is emerging with a new perspective of the capabilities we require to maintain America's force as the force of decisive action.... We must adjust to the speed of the change going on all around us."

Page last updated Wed March 28th, 2012 at 00:00