By Mr. John P. BoyceAugust 8, 2018
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- U.S. Army senior leaders -- commanders, staff and senior noncommissioned officers -- gathered at U.S. Army Forces Command Headquarters on Fort Bragg, N.C., to synchronize their understanding of FORSCOM's roles, priorities and key initiatives to assist Total Army units in building and sustaining readiness as well as training for the regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
The Aug. 7-8 FORSCOM Senior Leader Orientation (FSLO) focused on being "Ready Now" and included about 70 recently assigned Army leaders and representatives from U.S. Army Forces Command's corps, divisions, First Army and other units as well as FORSCOM Headquarters staff. The day-and-a-half orientation also highlighted recent Defense Department, U.S. Army and FORSCOM initiatives -- such as Army physical fitness test changes; Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDREs); Army sustainment and recent modernization announcements like Army Futures Command; current budget priorities; health of the force programs; and the new Army Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs).
"This is your one, best opportunity to come here to listen from the staff experts on how things work for personnel, for supplies, for readiness of equipment, and for Army readiness training," said Gen. Robert B. "Abe" Abrams, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. By learning staff processes, applying leadership and discipline, Gen. Abrams said, "this is where you can coach, teach, mentor and be directed telescopes for your commanders to go and look" at internal processes within their units to streamline and innovate change.
He stressed that being ready to fight tonight -- to be "Ready Now" -- must be a key part of the Army's culture. "One of the things we need you to do is to help lead the change in mindset inside your formations and grasping this idea of being 'Ready Now," Gen. Abrams said. This idea about being "Ready Now" "needs all of our attention, not just inside our units -- it's got to start there -- but everybody within the organization, on your installation has to be all-in about power-projection platforms."
Gen. Abrams highlighted Forces Command's mission: "FORSCOM trains and prepares a combat ready, globally responsive Total Force to build and sustain readiness to meet Combatant Command requirements."
Time is the key enabler to make all this happen … maximizing use of our time," Gen. Abrams emphasized while discussing the Sustainable Readiness Model for Army forces and the goal of "providing predictability for our subordinate commanders, creating space for them to get done what we need them to accomplish."
"Let me be clear about the Total Force," Gen. Abrams added. "It's regular Army, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Every single one of you has at least one partner in the Total Force, many of you have multiple partners. You've got brigades that are partnered under the Total Force Partnership Program that are partnered with your brigades and you have responsibility for maximizing those training opportunities between those partners and leveraging them."
He also emphasized the command's vision given the ever-changing world situation. The vision for the command is: "Combat ready and globally responsive Total Army Forces that are well led, disciplined, trained, and expeditionary, ready now to deploy and win in a complex world."
Gen. Abrams highlighted the Army command's "Freedom Six" priorities: (1) Maximize Unit Readiness; (2) Operationalize Army Total Force Policy (ATFP); (3) Master the Fundamentals; (4) Strengthen Leader Development; (5) Care for Soldiers, Civilians and Families; and (6) Inform the Future Force.
Presentations focused on each of the command's six priorities, such as outlining command and support relationships within the command; the realistic, rigorous training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.; and sustainment disciplines focusing on Army supplies, maintenance and deployment procedures to build readiness; and unit safety.
During the leadership orientation, Gen. Abrams also recognized leaders with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, for being the safest brigade combat team and infantry battalion in Forces Command. "We must inculcate a safe environment where Soldiers lives matter ... we are responsible for each and every one of them." Gen. Abrams said.