By Mr. Darryl Howlett (FORSCOM)May 1, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The breadth and depth of First Army's mission and future plans highlighted a meeting between First Army leadership and four Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army, or CASAs.
Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, commanding general, First Army, welcomed the CASAs during an afternoon visit April 25.
The four CASAs included: J. Daniel McGowan, Iowa; Paul E. Lima, Wisconsin; Sam H. Kupresin, Illinois (Western sector); and E. Tracy Beckette, Missouri.
The CASAs were briefed on First Army's bold shift initiative to restructure, the Army Total Force Policy, and other issues.
"First Army is the most highly trained and professional multi-component collective training integrator in the Army," Tucker said.
Tucker said after 10 years of being on a wartime footing, First Army wants to maintain the relationship with the reserve component while initiating a refocus on training requirements.
"In the last 10 years, we have done very little premobilization training. The Army said shift back to premobilization training," he said. "This is our bold shift. We've been advertising this for more than six months and the National Guard likes what they're hearing."
Despite the decrease in mobilizing service members, Tucker said First Army will continue to train Soldiers for missions in Kosovo, Sinai, Kuwait, Horn of Africa and other smaller missions.
"First Army helps train the reserve component and helps them be more ready and reduce their post mobilization time at far less cost… and that's a good thing."
Tucker said First Army will reduce its number of brigades from 16 down to nine; but will still provide premobilization through post mobilization training support as directed by Forces Command and Department of the Army.
"We're building capacity at a point of need. The result is a 30 percent increase in observers, coaches and trainers. Eighty six percent of this organization is OCTs," Tucker said.
Tucker ensured the CASAs, First Army's goal is to stay relevant in providing training for the reserve component and he is willing to speak at other CASA conferences to continue fostering a positive relationship between First Army and the reserve component.
According to the Army, CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of ten years of service, followed by possible appointment as a CASA emeritus. To date, more than 500 individuals have served the Army and the nation as a CASA.
Earlier in the day, the CASAs also visited Army Sustainment Command and Joint Munitions Command during their trip to the Arsenal.
First Army mobilizes, trains, deploys and demobilizes all Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve forces throughout the continental United States, providing trained and ready forces for diverse missions worldwide. First Army is comprised of two divisions: First Army Division East, located at Fort Meade, Md., and First Army Division West, located at Fort Hood, Texas.