ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2015) -- Ensuring that Reserve component commanders and Soldiers are set up for success when honing their warfighting skills was the focus of a Training Support and Synchronization Working Group, or TSSWG, held this week in First Army headquarters here.

During opening remarks, First Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker told attendees they were the ones, who knew their units abilities and needs, and so it was vital they address those during the working group.

"You're here for a specific purpose, and I don't think your commands want you to be a potted plant," he said. "I want you to be active, I want you to sound off. We need to hear your opinion. If there's a friction point, if something doesn't sit right with you or doesn't sound right, we need to address it."

The working group is a unique First Army managed semi-annual meeting to identify and integrate Rotational Force Pool Non-Deployed, or RFP-ND, force training requirements from the U.S. Army Reserve Command and National Guard Bureau before the U.S Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, Army Force Generation Synchronization and Resourcing Conference, or ASRC. The TSSWG ensures multi-component collective training is synchronized, resourced and supported for Reserve component forces.

During the working group, upcoming training exercises were forecast, and representatives from First Army brigades and battalions, as well as from several Army posts, charted which exercises would be most beneficial to which Reserve component units, to help increase their overall readiness.

Additionally, the TSSWG helps ensure implementation of Army Total Force Policy, or ATFP, which requires active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers be trained and held to the same standard. This results in uniformity and seamless mission accomplishment whether the element is a two-person unit ministry team or a combat brigade. ATFP helps guarantee that when a Reserve component, or RC, unit is called on, it is ready.

The TSSWG also ensures timely development of an RC Army Contingency Force enabler coverage plan. Beginning three years in advance, the TSSWG reinforces FORSCOM's priorities and refines the plan's implementation through each year of the training schedule.

The TSSWG accomplishes the following critical ATFP integration tasks: Identifies all RC RFP-ND requested collective training requirements (events, dates and locations); leverages available training opportunities among AC and RC units; confirms all required RC training support resources (e.g., equipment, billeting, transportation) for each exercise; coordinates exercise planning timelines (e.g., planning conferences, ROC drills); synchronizes the training support brigade workload and capacity with the training calendar; refines funding projections by training event; and determines unresolved RC training issues that need to be addressed at the FORSCOM ASRC.

And working group attendees are ready to help execute that mission, said First Army Lt. Col. Jose Polanco, Division East G3.

"It was a good event in terms of understanding the processes that we go through to synchronize resources and our efforts to make sure all of our requirements are met in terms of supporting the RC units that need to be trained," he said. "I'll leave here with a better understanding of the coordination that is needed to ensure those units are properly supported."

"The great thing about the TSSWG is, it brings all the players into one area where we can synchronize and coordinate all the issues and challenges for the individual exercise," said Maj. Melvin Lowe, S3 for Division West's 120th Infantry Brigade. "It allows us to do face-to-face coordination to determine what our sister brigades need, what we need from them, and work out those issues well enough in advance so that by the time we get to the exercise and execution, everything is pretty well settled and ready to go. There's definitely a better understanding after cross-talking and sharing lessons learned with your peers in other brigades, as well as entities outside of First Army."

First Army, as U.S. Forces Command's designated coordinating authority for implementation of the Army Total Force Policy, partners with U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard leadership to advise, assist, and train reserve component formations to achieve Department of the Army-directed readiness requirements during both pre- and post-mobilization through multicomponent integrated collective training, enabling FORSCOM to provide combatant commanders trained and ready forces in support of worldwide requirements.