WASHINGTON - Leaders at all levels should question how the Army does business, General Mark Milley told National Guard members Sept. 11, offering examples of potential changes affecting the Guard, including increased training days.
"Nothing's sacred," the 39th Chief of Staff said. "Nothing about the Army or the way we do business is sacred. We must, all of us, collectively challenge how we fight; we must, all of us, collectively, challenge how we organize, how we train, how we equip.
"We must not allow ourselves to accept the status quo. The enemy is not static. We must adapt. ... I want to challenge everything; I want to overturn every stone."
The general offered several examples of areas related to the Army National Guard that could change.
Traditional members of the Army National Guard have trained 39 days a year for the last century, since 1915, Gen. Milley noted.
"Let's not just say that a rule that's been in place since 1915 - 100 years - is good enough for the next 100 years," Gen. Milley said. "It may not be."
Gen. Milley said he has asked Army General Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau; Army Lieutenant General Timothy Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard; and other Guard leaders to study potential changes to the number of training days.
For some missions, 39 days may be appropriate, he said. Units with other missions might be better served with 60 or 100 training days, he said.
"I don't know what the answer is, but I don't know if 39 is right," he said.
The Marine Corps assigns active duty Marines to Marine Reserve units and vice versa, Gen. Milley said. Decades ago, Guard members rounded out active duty Army units, a practice that has declined, he said.
"I want to look at round-out both ways, not just Guard members rounding out active units, but I want to take a look at active units rounding out Guard units," he said. The goal is to maximize the Total Force's capacity and capability.
"If we're going to be one Army, we've got to be one Army."
After a deployment, a brigade combat training team gets a year to reset. A second year is spent focusing on individual training. In theory, the third year includes a rotation at one of the Army's combat training centers before a culminating training event in year four and availability for deployment in year five.
In practice, only two National Guard brigades typically get CTC rotations in any given year, resulting in a training gap for some brigades. Milley said he wants to see that change, with up to four CTC rotations per year, double the current number.
"Over 50 percent of the United States Army is in the Guard and Reserve," Gen. Milley said. "All this combat power is in the Guard."
Increased CTC rotations would give Gen. Milley increased access to that combat power while also potentially decreasing mobilization and train-up time before deployments.
Gen. Milley encouraged National Guard leaders at all levels to apply critical thinking to techniques, equipment, training methods and systems.
"I want you to have a spirit of innovation and enquiry," he said. "I don't want to accept just the status quo answer. ... I am willing to listen to anything about a new idea to make us a better Army."
Editor's Note: This is the first sidebar of four related reports about Gen. Milley's remarks.