By W. Wayne MarlowMay 17, 2016
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Guaranteeing Reserve Component readiness and setting those units up for success was the focus of the First Army Spring Commanders Conference, held May 9-12 here.
First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, told attendees, "We're going to talk a lot about Objective T in here," referring to a planned improvement in how units are rated for readiness. An Army review of training readiness reporting concluded that commander assessments were subjectively influencing training ratings. Objective T aims to change that.
"This summer, as you observe the collective training exercises, I want you to provide an assessment to that commander, and tell them, "Should Objective T be in in effect, this is where we would see you. I want you to do that for two reasons. Number one, I want to get your juices flowing so that you can get used to doing that. But most importantly, so that the Guard and Reserve commanders can gain an appreciation for what Objective T can do for them in terms of achieving readiness during collective training. If they end up with an unsatisfactory rating after a 21-day Combat Support Training Exercise, we're not setting the conditions right."
Tucker noted that Forces Command Commanding General, Gen. Robert Abrams, had said that every available minute must be invested in building readiness. "So," Tucker said, "When you're looking to train, I want you put that in the back of your mind: Are the activities we're engaged in building readiness?"
The conference include four panel discussions and open dialogue, with Tucker stressing the importance of attendees leaving with more knowledge than they arrived with. "If you've got questions, you've got to ask them in this forum," he said. "This is where it originates. Don't let those questions go unanswered."
Tucker also welcomed incoming leaders to First Army. "This is a commanders conference that is on the eve of some transitions," he said. "We've got some of our inbound brigade commanders and command sergeants major here, and we're going to set you up for success."
Besides the commanders conference, a Multi-component Joint Assessment was held concurrently at the Mission Command Training Program Complex here. The MCJA provides an opportunity for Operational, Functional, Training, Support Commands assigned allocated forces to synchronize their pre- and post-mobilization training plans in order to resolve deployment readiness issues and obtain approval from their leadership and First Army on their proposed final plan.
Col. Timothy Bush, head of First Army's G3/G5/G7 directorate, explained that, "We've got 110 units from both the Guard and Reserve that are going to destinations all around the globe during the next six to 18 months. The joint assessment is a key mission-command process that First Army executes to ensure their Soldiers are prepared to deploy."
Rick Fink, First Army director of training, added, "The Multi-component Joint Assessment enables First Army to work with the Reserve Component to develop their unit training plans so we can do both pre- and post-mobilization and get them to theatre with what they need to succeed. Every unit will get a training plan at the end of the assessment and will know which unit from one of our brigades is assisting them with mobilization."
In addition to extensive discussion on Objective T requirements during the conference, First Army commanders reviewed and discussed the holistic manning, training, and equipping support First Army provides to the Reserve Component and readiness sustainment to the Army's total force. The combined commanders conference and multi-component joint assessment brought more than 500 First Army, National Guard, Army Reserve, and active component senior leaders together in support of building and sustaining the readiness of Reserve Component formations, which is First Army's top priority.