By Lt. Col. Jefferson WolfeMarch 17, 2016
GARMISCH, Germany - "Money needs to travel as fast as the force." That was the message the commanding general of the Army Reserve's 7th Mission Support Command had for a gathering of military comptrollers Wednesday morning.
Brig. Gen Arlan DeBlieck, who also is the deputy commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, spoke to the American Society of Military Comptrollers during their professional development in Garmisch at the Edelweiss Lodge.
The 7th MSC has about 1,000 Army Reserve Soldiers stationed in Europe, and can reach back to United States Army Reserve Command, who has about 24,000 Soldiers available in any given year - trained and ready to support operations, he said.
"Having speedy access to funding - to go with the authorities we already have and the unique skill set we can use to augment active duty units in theater - makes the 7th and all Army Reserve units a combat multiplier," DeBlieck told the group. "If something happens outside of the POM process -such as Russia invading Crimea - we cannot respond quickly due to archaic fiscal rules in getting funds available for reserve capabilities."
Statutorily, RC Soldiers are guaranteed 14 days of Annual Training, DeBlieck said.
USARC budgets 21 days for overseas deployment for training.
This works for programmed training exercises, but is inadequate for changing security environments, like we see in the world today, he said.
The Army has critical capabilities in the reserve components as part of a smaller force with the intent to reach back and obtain these capabilities when needed, DeBlieck said.
Based on the current complex operating environment, the time required to obtain these capabilities is short, he added. Money to support this reach-back capability needs to be available as quickly as the soldiers who provide these capabilities
To request operational funds to perform a longer-term mission without a mobilization, the 7th MSC and other reserve units must follow a long route to approval. Requests through both active duty and Army Reserve chains of command.
This process is too slow and cumbersome, DeBlieck said.
"There has to be a way for the USAREUR commander to access funds in a timely manner to move his reserve forces around when he needs them," DeBlieck said.
Providing funds quickly for Reserve Component Soldiers for 90-179 duty days to surge capacity and capability when needed makes fiscal sense - pay for what you use and do not pay for idle capacity, he said.
The 7th MSC has been a busy command. It has deployed ten of its 22 units in the past five years. Since 2013, the 7th MSC has supported 40 exercises in 20 countries.
The 7th MSC provided experienced Soldiers to a 21st TSC logistical task force that deployed in October, 2014 to Dakar, Senegal, in support of the international effort to combat the spread of the Ebola virus in Western Africa.
The 7th MSC also has supported Operation Atlantic Resolve and Operation Echo Casemate with movement control and civil affairs teams since the middle of last year.