VICENZA, Italy -- After four years as the U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore Jr. will leave USARAF and Vicenza to accept an Army Reserve assignment as the special assistant to the U.S. Africa Command commander. During his time at USARAF, Moore, who is the longest serving USARAF deputy commanding general, planned and attended many of the accord exercises, medical readiness exercises (MEDRETEs), African land forces summits, African alumni symposiums and other engagements in Africa and Washington, D.C., among other duties.
Two years into his tenure here, the Army Reserve expanded Moore's role at USARAF by selecting him as the Army Reserve Engagement Cell director, an active-duty assignment. A primary responsibility became overseeing and increasing the integration of Army Reserve Soldiers into training and operations in Africa. Moving to Vicenza full time to serve in an active-duty capacity also offered Moore the proximity to become more involved in and supportive of USARAF's daily operations.
Moore recently agreed to participate in a question and answer session about his time as USARAF deputy commanding general and AREC director.
Q: What were your duties as deputy commanding general, and how did they evolve when you also became the AREC director?
A: When the chief of the Army Reserve chose to put me on active duty here, obviously my duties expanded to include a lot of the engagements here in Italy with the garrison and with the (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units), as well as all of the things that I was normally doing previously. Being here on a day-to-day basis, being able to be a teammate with the commanding generals and to do things like the community health promotion council, the garrison board of directors meetings, engagements with the Italians and ceremonies, being able to be here every day to sign things like awards and contracts, things that require general officer approval, I think really helped the command become much more efficient and functional."
I worked for three (USARAF commanding) generals in total: (then-Maj. Gen. Patrick J.) Donahue, (then-Maj. Gen. Darryl A.) Williams and, of course, now (Maj. Gen. Joseph P.) Harrington. Each one had a very, very different and distinct command style and command philosophy.
General Donahue was singularly focused on making the regionally aligned force, the regionally aligned brigade, work in Africa. The command was focused on that, and so when I hit the accord exercises, my job was to make sure that regionally aligned brigade was functioning within the context of the exercise, and then the design of the exercise. We were very, very successful making that proof of concept work.
Then General Williams came along, and almost immediately, the command was struck with the Operation United Assistance and the Ebola crisis. So, his focus became that operational mission, and then, later in his tenure, after the command had successfully gotten the crisis under control and done the huge amount of coordination required, passed it over to the 101st Airborne Division who eventually passed it over to the Michigan Army National Guard. He really focused on a lot of the engagements. He put things like the African Alumni Symposium and the African Land Forces Summit back into the context in the battle rhythm of this command, and engagements became very much a priority.
When General Harrington took command, there was really a very, very short-term view of our African activities and the long-term planning was a gap. He recognized that immediately, and he's brought a lot of long-term planning focus to our command, looking at two-year and five-year calendars and events to ensure we're achieving Africom's objectives.
So, (they were) three very distinctive commanders, three very distinctive leaders and all very successful, obviously. It's been a privilege to serve under all three of them.
Q: Sounds like their leadership complemented each other well.
A: I think it was they were the right leaders at the right time, each one of them. They really were. General Donahue's focus on the tactical brigades and divisions helped General Williams' leadership style and his extroverted personality and relentless focus on teamwork really helped make OUA and our follow-on engagements successes. General Harrington's staff capabilities and his understanding of strategic planning has put the command on a strong path for the Army.
Q: What do you think made you the right person to be the deputy commanding general and AREC director throughout the last four years?
A: My predecessor was a civil affairs officer too, and I think that served me well here, since 90 percent of my time is really engagements, sitting down talking to people trying to figure out objectives and capabilities, and the ability to improve African partners' capabilities and capacities. I also did many exercises during my tenure as a brigade commander. So that prepared me well for the (command post exercises) that we have run as well. The live-fire exercises and the maneuver stuff, that is normal for any Army officer, obviously, but I think my civil affairs background really served me well.
Q: You have said that USARAF is very different today than it was when you arrived. How has it changed during your time here?
A: The command has matured; USARAF has matured as a command. When I first came here in 2013, I think that they were very few members of the command that had actually traveled in Africa and operated in Africa. Then, as the years have rolled on, (OUA) happened. We also had some people who had left and had experience in Africa come back.
A lot more of the USARAF staff, the G4 and the PAO shop, for example, became well-traveled and experienced in Africa, with huge amounts of situational awareness and experience on the continent. That was not the case in 2013, it truly wasn't, so I have been able to see the command mature and that's another very satisfying thing. I'd like to think I was a part of that, trying to get the right teams to deploy there for my events -- the MEDRETEs, the exercises, the engagements -- to ensure those planning processes were all in place.
When I came here in 2013, I had zero experience in Africa. When they told me I was coming here, I thought they called the wrong guy or they made a mistake or something, because I had never been to Africa. Now, four years later, I've been to 24 African countries. I have done eight accord exercises, five MEDRETEs and all the African land forces summits. I have slept in tents in the Sahara desert and I've been in five-star hotels in Ghana. I have seen the gamut of conditions, experiences from tabletop exercises to full-scale field training exercises and live-fire exercises, I've seen the whole thing and it has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Q: What impact do you feel Reserve Soldiers have on the command and its objectives in Africa? What was your role in that?
A: I am impressed by the Army Reserve as an institution, sending us the best and brightest officers and NCOs. Almost to a man, all of the officers either have been selected for a school for professional military education, have been promoted or have been selected for a command. The best and brightest came here. So we were very, very successful putting this command on a path to better integrate the Army Reserve into our training and operations in future years, and that's the legacy that I hopefully I'm leaving (Brig. Gen. Eugene J.) LeBoeuf.
This isn't a fixer-upper or a STARTEX mission. We are well on our way to improving that integration and getting more Army Reserve units in Africa to train and focus on the unit readiness. I think one of the impacts that I've had here at USARAF, including being really a known brand now in Africa are the accords, the engagements, the relationships I've built with so many colonels and general officers in Africa. It's truly amazing, and as I continually do these events and these exercises, I see a lot of the same faces again. I've been able to see a lot of the officers progress over a number of exercises to a staff position, to a leadership position in the exercise. That's very satisfying, because I've been able to observe the maturing of that African officer. It's been really exciting.
Q: What do you see as being the command goal or trajectory for incorporating the Army Reserve? How do feel you have helped set that in motion?
A: Our overriding goal is to provide opportunity for Army Reserve units, whether they are teams, squads, platoons or company-sized elements, to obtain readiness training in Africa. Africa is a tremendous venue and a great opportunity for the Army Reserve to build readiness because you're training in a foreign country, usually in austere conditions in a permissive environment with partners that want to train and learn with you.
So, the opportunity for the Army Reserve, the opportunity going ahead for General LeBeouf and our AREC is to increase those opportunities for the Army Reserve to train in Africa. That's the opportunity. We started that. We put the foundation in place. To bring the Army reserve into our security cooperation events, to our exercises.
The Army Reserve is already part of the ongoing operations. A huge number of Army reservists are already mobilized in Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, so we have Title 10 responsibilities over the Soldiers there. So, those opportunities already exist. What doesn't exist is doing a better job including them and incorporating them in our exercises and security cooperation activities. That is where the big success is going to be in the future. Part of my next job is to provide oversight and ensure that the Africom staff is including the Reserve component, not only the Army Reserve, but all the joint reserve components, and better integrating them into African activities: operations, training, security and cooperation.
Q: What is next for you?
A: I'm not going far. I'm going to Africom. I've been assigned up there as the special assistant to the commander of Africom, Which encompasses several areas of responsibility. First and foremost, I'm going to cover the chief of staff's desk during his leave periods, and his TDY periods, so I'll be the acting chief of staff. I'm also going to be the exercise director for Judicious Response and Epic Guardian exercises, which are the large joint staff Africom headquarters exercises. Thirdly, I will represent Africom at exercises and engagements and anything that Gen. (Thomas D.) Waldhauser, the commander of Africom, deems I should be attending, which will possibly include some National Capital Region engagements. Finally, I will have the ability to cover Africom on any kind of crisis response event where a general officer is required, if my skills and capabilities meet the requirement of force.
Q: What was the most rewarding/fulfilling aspect of your assignment at USARAF?
A: At the end of the day, the most the most rewarding part of this job is the people -- USARAF, the garrison, the Vicenza military community, it is very much a family. I like the people and depend on them and, hopefully, they are depending on me as we go downrange and do events, from the exercise team to the garrison team to the family team.
You know when I when I leave here, I will probably first have withdrawal of Italian food and then I'll start missing the people.
Q: Wonderful. Is there anything else you would like to say?
A: I just want to thank my personal team, my personal staff that really took care of me for 4 years. I couldn't have done it without them. Think about the all the airline tickets, and the flight planning, and the DTS, and the appointments and the office calls. I just truly had fantastic people -- four aid-de-camps and during the last two years, I had an administrative assistant. They did a fantastic job, and I could not have been able to do many of the things without them.
I cannot say enough good things about the Army Reserve team. The army reserve is still a capability that this command will leverage for many years to come.
My wife Pam and I want to thank everyone, from the garrison to the command to the entire Vicenza military community and the Italians. Thank you for your hospitality, teamwork, and support over my tenure. We are going to miss USARAF and Italy, truly miss them.