ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Moving forward in partnerships with Reserve Component units will become essential in the next year. That was one of the main themes during the First Army Fall Commanders Conference held October 6-8 at First Army headquarters.

First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, spoke on the purpose and intent for the three-day conference.

"Today's briefings will bring us up to speed on all things Army," he said. "You will hear information on logistics, budgets, sequestration, manning issues. I want you to ask very tough questions. I want you to answer the question, 'what does this mean to me?'"

Along with Department of the Army and U.S. Forces Command briefings, commanders also discussed the vital role First Army plays in training Reserve Component units.

Tucker noted strategic goals in having First Army observer coach/trainers (OC/Ts) engaged in a "partnership centric" relationship vice "exercise centric" relationship with Reserve component units starting at their home stations and also into pre and post-mobilization training.

Close to 130 Soldiers from as far away as Guam and Hawaii made the trip.

Richard Fink, director, G3 training, explained the conference's blueprint.

"The first day focuses on the external, guidance from FORSCOM and Department of the Army. The second day focuses on the internal, 'what are we doing with Operation Bold Shift, what are the changes coming in the next year. And the third day focuses on our divisions."

Col. Christopher K. Kennedy, commander, 4th Cavalry (Multifunctional Training Brigade), appreciates the face-to-face engagement with First Army brigade commanders.

"You have the opportunity to receive direct guidance from General Tucker," he said. "You also have the opportunity to speak with your fellow brigade commanders. I especially appreciate being able to talk with the two (MFTB) commanders in Division West. We have similar training and function sets."

Kennedy also said the dialogue between commanders and Senior Advisors to the Army National Guard can be invaluable.

Col. Jay Gallivan, commander, 5th Armored (Combined Arms Training Brigade), said the conference succeeded in making sure everyone is on the same page.

"The First Army twice-a-year commanders conferences are critical to get a shared understanding and to focus on how we can better support the Army Reserve and Army National Guard."

Gallivan also mentioned the importance of communicating with the SRAAGS in attendance during the conference.