Changing Reserve Component Pre- and Post-Mobilization Training to Meet 12-Month Mobilization Policy
What is it? Earlier this year, the Secretary of Defense announced a new policy setting the total mobilization period for reserve-component (RC = Reserve and National Guard) units and/or individuals to 12 months. Previously, deploying RC Soldiers would spend as much as 18 months on active duty away from home. This included a 12-month tour in the combat zone, post-mobilization/pre-deployment training, and post-deployment recovery periods. Under the new policy, both the post-mobilization/pre-deployment training and the time a unit spends with actual boots on the ground in the combat zone must be no more than 12 months total (post-deployment recovery and end-of-tour leave is not included in the 12 months). The new policy requires units to conduct as much training as possible at their homestations prior to actual mobilization in order to maximize the amount of time they are available to the combatant commander.
What has the Army done? First Army - the U.S. Army's lead organization for training and mobilization of RC units - in conjunction with the U.S. Army Reserve Command, the National Guard Bureau and the individual States' National Guard leaders, has developed new models for both pre- and post-mobilization training. The new training models shift many individual and squad/platoon level collective tasks, formerly done after mobilization at First Army's mobilization training centers, to homestation training executed throughout the year prior to unit mobilization. These tasks include things like weapons qualification, land navigation, unit functional and METL training, Combat Lifesaver training and medical screening. Earlier alert and more intensive pre-mobilization training also allow units to build more cohesive teams prior to mobilization. Post-mobilization training will focus more on complex, higher-level collective training and an ARTEP (Army Training and Evaluation Program) exercise that tests and validates a unit's readiness to deploy for combat. This shift from post-mobilization to pre-mobilization has resulted in considerable time savings on a unit's mobilization clock. For example, a Security Force Battalion training model was previously 104 days. Now, the interim model is 58 days, and the objective model is 45 days once conditions are enabled with full implementation of the pre-mobilization training plan under ARFORGEN. To ensure consistent training standards for both pre- and post-mobilization training, First Army has established an Observer Controller/Trainer (OC/T) Academy at Camp Shelby, Miss. This academy shares First Army training experience with future OC/Ts from the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Additionally, First Army trainers will support RC training exercises and assist units with homestation training plans.
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