ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - The training opportunities available to Army National Guard and Reserve units was the focus of a Training Support and Synchronization Working Group (TSSWG), held at First Army headquarters here September 12-15.

The working group's main task was to forecast Reserve Component training exercise opportunities in order to ensure commanders can determine which ones will best serve their units.

The Working Group's focus was on training support priorities and how they fit into the deployment cycle. The working group was designed to give attendees a better understanding of how available training exercises will help hone warfighting skills, both collectively and individually. Attendees included officers and senior civilian personnel from the Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and First Army units.

Col. Jason Joose, First Army G3/G5/G7, told attendees in his opening remarks, "This is an event to bring everyone together to get a common operational picture of where we sit for the next three to five years. We will come out of here with a good three-year training calendar."

Sgt. Maj. Steven Bridgeforth, G1 sergeant major for the 85th Support Command, said the Working Group will help his unit better accomplish its mission. "Our command is the liaison between the United States Army Reserve Command and First Army," he said. "So when Reserve individuals need to have Annual Training days, we funnel that."

The Working Group, then, gives Bridgeforth and other attendees visibility on what training opportunities exist.

"This gives us a good overall picture of what's out there in the Army as a whole. There are operations I didn't have knowledge of," Bridgeforth said. "So bringing these commanders and points of contact from installations has really helped a lot. There are a lot of opportunities out there. And not just for today, but for a couple of years down the line."

While the TSSWG gives a good overview of the training opportunities, it is just one part of an ongoing process, noted Maj. Ryan Greening of the S3 directorate for Division West's 189th Infantry Brigade.

"Once we get our exercise allocations, we go back to the brigade and start doing the coordinating with our partnered units and to establish our exercise training," he said. "We have a better idea now of what is available and what exercise will best fit with what unit."

The TSSWG built on Army Total Force Policy, which aims to ensure active and Reserve Component forces are trained to one standard. First Army, as FORSCOM'S designated coordinating authority for implementation of the Army Total Force Policy, partners with United States 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 multi-component integrated collective training, enabling FORSCOM to provide Combatant Commanders trained and ready forces in support of worldwide requirements.

Part of this requirement is helping the National Guard and USAR increase unit collective readiness, which the Working Group helped to facilitate.