ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Crucial training opportunities for Army National Guard and Army Reserve units, and the assistance First Army can offer them, were highlighted during a Training Support and Synchronization Working Group (TSSWG), held here Aug. 14-16.

Elliot Rogers, First Army deputy G3/G5/G7, outlined the Working Group's priorities in his remarks to attendees in the Pershing Conference Room of First Army headquarters.

"Our overall objective for the TSSWG is to focus on the details for Fiscal Year 2019, then start taking a look at the tasks that are required to support Fiscal Year 2020," he said. "Then we've got to be able to pull all of that together and have the First Army G3 and (First Army G7) Rick Fink take that to the Army synchronization resource conference in September. That's our overall goal for this week."

Rogers also noted that ideas gleamed from earlier missions can help continue the momentum in assisting with upcoming training events.

"We support over 100,000 Soldiers and more than 45 exercises annually," he said. "That requires synchronization, so we've got to take the lessons learned during mobilizations and apply them. It is crucial to have good After Action Reviews and capture those lessons learned and share those across First Army."

Maj. Gen. Chris Gentry, First Army deputy commanding general for support, also stressed the importance of the work being done this week.

"This is a crucial event to say the least," he said. "Be ready for what's coming down the road. The flip side of that coin is that nobody knows what's coming down the road. I don't have any access to any secret information that I'm trying to intimate to you. But I don't think you need to have any special level of expertise to know that this is a pretty volatile situation in the world. And this is the means by which we prepare ourselves for it."

Gentry reached to a historical example to underscore the importance of readiness.
"This is our centennial anniversary at First Army. We started back in World War I," he said. "During that time, we sent men over the tops of trenches with no training. We obviously are not going to let folks go into combat in that kind of condition today. However, let's make the best use of our time. Let us make sure that this week do everything we can to lay the groundwork for success for those training units."

Ensuring that is tough, but vital, Gentry added. "This is not easy work," he said. "You are the folks that are going to make this happen. A lot rests on your shoulders this week. We are undertaking a lot as a force, especially in the Reserve Component. And a lot is being asked of First Army and I think we've been pretty good about being able to execute what we've been asked to do. Whatever your role is, follow-through is absolutely vital."

He also talked about the importance of working together toward a common goal.

"While this is a synchronization event, collaboration and negotiation are key, and it is a total force effort," Gentry said. "I don't know that anyone is going to come out of here with absolutely everything they want or need. But through negotiation and collaboration and compromise, we can move the total force forward and put it in pretty good posture in order to execute Fiscal Year 2019 and to schedule 2020 and to forecast beyond that."

The TSSWG built on Army Total Force Policy, which aims to ensure active and Reserve Component forces are manned, trained, and equipped 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.