By Mr. Darryl Howlett (First Army)August 28, 2015
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Army Total Force Policy, sequestration challenges and First Army's training support mission were a few of the topics discussed at a Congressional staffers briefing hosted by First Army at its headquarters, August 27.
"Our hope is that after this briefing you come away with a better understanding of First Army's mission and to answer any questions that you may have," said Maj. Gen. Paul M. Benenati, First Army's deputy command general for support.
Key staffers attending the briefing were Rob Leonard, national security advisor and Kate Jennings, staff assistant for Sen. Dick Durbin; Jennifer Mitchell, military/VA legislative assistant and counsel for Sen. Mark Kirk; James Rice, legislative assistant for Sen. Chuck Grassley; Ashley Shillingsburg, deputy chief of staff and legislative director and Henry Marquard, district representative, for U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack; Barbara Sennet, veteran's and outreach coordinator, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos.
Also in attendance was East Moline (Illinois) Mayor John Thodos and Silvis (Illinois) Mayor Tom Conrad. The group toured other major commands on the Rock Island Arsenal as part of the visit.
During the one-hour briefing, Benenati discussed First Army's partnership with the Army Reserve and National Guard and the path moving forward. "Our mission is to make training (for National Guard and Army Reserve units) as realistic and tough as possible," he said.
Benenati also touched upon the Army Total Force Policy, the integration of active component and reserve component forces, First Army's capability to provide premobilization training (platoon through brigade level) to reserve component units and Soldiers. .
"The goal is for the Army to have one set of standards for the active and reserve components. Everyone is fighting with the same standards and equipment," he said.
Benenati and First Army staff directors said some of the biggest challenges facing First Army going forward includes sequestration, reduction in military and civilian personnel, computer network connectivity between reserve component units, prepositioning of training equipment, and providing enough training days for reserve component units.