By Jeff Crawley, Fort SillOctober 31, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (Oct. 31, 2013) --The Army's second in command and its top enlisted man were here Oct. 29-30 to solicit input from Soldiers, families, leaders and Army civilians on implementation of the Ready and Resilient Campaign.
Gen. John Campbell, vice chief of staff of the Army, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, met with diverse focus groups to obtain a perspective and feedback on the campaign.
The Army's Ready and Resilient Campaign, or R2C, is a collection of programs to guide the Army's efforts to build physical, emotional and psychological resilience in Soldiers, families and civilians, and to directly enhance personal and unit readiness.
One of the programs the leaders looked at here was the sponsorship program, which assigns a Soldier to assist an incoming Soldier with their transition here.
It's important when a Soldier comes to Fort Sill, that he or she has a sponsor, Campbell said.
If a sponsor links up with a Soldier, whether they are a new Soldier or on a subsequent tour, within the first 72 hours, and introduces them to people, resources and the area, they will have a better tour, the general said.
"They will be more productive and more resilient," he explained.
The two senior leaders are visiting numerous posts in their R2C study. Campbell noted what works at a Training and Doctrine Command installation like Fort Sill, may not necessarily work at another post.
Campbell and Chandler also made time to meet with reporters and answered a range of questions.
In his sessions here, Chandler said he has received much candid feedback from male and female Soldiers about the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.
"The element of trust has grown within the formation, and that Soldiers are much more willing to come forward and file an unrestricted report, which allows the chain of command to become engaged and to take care of the victim," Chandler said. "I think we're starting to see some benefits from the actions we've taken."
Responding to an inquiry, Campbell said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno has not had a budget in two years, but has been acting under continuing resolutions.
It's hard to plan, to make decisions when you don't have a budget," Campbell said. What Campbell and Chandler try to do is provide information to chief of staff and secretary of the Army so that when they do make a decision it would not be different if they knew the long-term budget.
The Army is drawing down its active-duty force from 570,000 to 490,000, Campbell said. The Army National Guard will reduce from 358,000 to 350,000, and the Army Reserve will go down to 205,000. These figures are to be met no later than Fiscal Year 2017, the general said.
He noted these figures were before the recent sequestration.
"If we continue down this road [sequestration], we'll have to make some additional [personnel] cuts," Campbell said.
When one reporter inquired about the new tattoo policy for Soldiers, Chandler clarified that the Army does not have a new tattoo regulation.
Two years ago then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey directed Chandler to study the Army uniform and brand.
"That's really about how the American people perceive the United States Army," Chandler said. "Both how [Soldiers] wear the uniform and how they present themselves."
Chandler has presented his recommendations to the secretary of the Army, who is reviewing them. The sergeant major of the Army said he expects a decision shortly, and whatever the secretary's decision it will be feasible, affordable and reasonable.
In closing, Campbell said the United States has the best Army in the world.
"It is the best manned, best equipped and led Army, and we continue to get great men and women who want to serve," he said.