WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 29, 2016) -- There are 186,000 Soldiers deployed in 140 countries today, with 25,000 of those being National Guard and Army Reserve. "They're integrated in every mission we execute," Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Daniel B. Allyn told lawmakers, Feb. 26.

"We've increased our request for 12304b funding to enable us to have more flexible access to the Reserve component, specifically for emerging missions, so as to more effectively deploy them," he said, adding not just in overseas contingency operations-funded areas.

Section 12304b is the of U.S. Code Title 10 that covers activating the Reserve in support of combatant commands for preplanned missions.

Allyn and others testified, Feb. 26, at the House Armed Services Committee's "Department of the Army 2017 Operation and Maintenance Budget Request and Readiness Posture" hearing.

A prime example of a non-Overseas Contingency Operations funded area where Reserve and Guard Soldiers would make an excellent fit, he said is in the Pacific theater's Pathway exercises. "There's a perfect match there, but we don't have the authorizations and funding to match requirements and you can help us with that," he told congressmen.

SHORT DWELL TIME

Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, deputy chief of staff for Operations and Plans, G3/5/7, told lawmakers that the Army needs the Guard and Reserve "to lessen the slack" for Soldiers in the brigade combat teams, which "have 1 to 1.6 boots on the ground time deployed to dwell time back home. We'd like to reduce that."

Anderson added: The only way to lessen the burden on the active component -- assuming emergent and continuing requirements stay about the same -- is to use the Reserve components.

AVIATION RESTRUCTURE INITIATIVE

A congressman asked how the Aviation Restructure Initiative, known as ARI, is proceeding.

ARI transfers Apache helicopters from the Guard to the active Army and, in turn, provides active Black Hawk helicopters to the Guard in a swap.

Allyn replied that it's on time and on schedule and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade is next in line to receive its Apaches.

COMMISSION FINDINGS

A lawmaker quizzed the Army leaders on their position to recommendations from the National Commission on Future of the Army, particularly recommendations on the helicopter swaps.

Allyn said "We're appreciative of the 63 recommendations" and the "very detailed report," which contains an "incredible amount of analysis and assessment."

Brigadier generals in the active, Guard and Reserve components "are currently reviewing every one of those recommendations and we've prioritized the aviation-specific recommendations because they're the most costly and have the longest-term implications for future of fighting capability," he said.

Those recommendations will be brought to the chief of staff of the Army and the secretary in the very near future, Allyn said.

He added: "Suffice it to say, there were no resources provided for these recommendations," many of which will require billions of dollars more than what the budget offers. That's "where we'll need help," he told the congressmen.