FORT KNOX, Ky. — Around two dozen V Corps, National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve senior leaders synchronized organization and efforts in Eastern Europe during a dynamic Reserve Component Symposium held Nov. 18-19 at “Victory Corps” headquarters at Fort Knox.
State adjutants general — known throughout National Guard circles as “TAGs" — commanders of relevant U.S. Army Reserve formations and their deputies joined Maj. Gen. Jeffery D. Broadwater, the V Corps deputy commanding general, and key host unit staff officers for the two-day forum.
Other senior leaders — including Lt. Gen. John S. Kolasheski, V Corps commanding general, staff officers and subject matter experts from formations overseeing efforts in Eastern Europe participated remotely.
The first day featured a tour of corps facilities and overview of unit history and mission set, punctuated by social activities. The second day sessions featured strong substantive briefings, presentations and discussions.
The corps commander greeted participants virtually and set the tone for a substantive and spirited discussion. Other commanding generals, TAGs and deputies subsequently discussed their organizations and efforts. They emphasized opportunities for improved synchronization across components, echelons and units. Kolasheski offered reflections, asked questions and guided discussions following each brief.
TAGs and other National Guard leaders focused on their formations’ role in the State Partnership Program, or SPP. Administered by the National Guard Bureau, the SPP aligns U.S. states with partner nations in support of Department of Defense and whole of government goals. Army Reserve senior leaders discussed their units’ unique structures, missions and functional capabilities.
Planners, who envision the forum as an annual gathering, described the event as productive.
“This was a rare opportunity for active, Reserve and National Guard leaders to speak directly with each other and discuss future plans, initiatives and training opportunities,” said Maj. Brad W. Young, a lead symposium organizer. “The ‘offline’ discussion and ‘cross-talk’ were equally important. Very enthusiastic dialogue throughout the symposium — I think they really embraced the opportunity.”
“Everything went exceptionally well,” added Young. “All the feedback has been very positive so far. I think they’re already looking forward to meeting up next year.”
Brig. Gen. Roger F. Deon, Jr., commanding general of the Army Reserve Aviation Command and a key event architect, praised the symposium as an enduring forum for strategic discussion among senior corps and component leaders.
"The V Corps Annual [Reserve Component] Symposium is the primary opportunity for both Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve commands to synchronize our strategic efforts with those of V Corps — towards our common goals in the European Command area of responsibility,” he said. “We must ensure a multi-component effort — over an extended period of time — in order to, one: forge an integrated deterrence; two: synchronize our campaign plans; and three: build enduring advantages for our NATO Allies and partners.”
Deon connected his organization and the symposium with broader regional and national strategic goals.
“Together with V Corps, [Army Reserve Aviation Command] will help ensure the necessary forces to execute the National Defense Strategy and build the long-term capacity to rapidly deploy forces in support of the European Deterrence Initiative,” he said. “Together, we can enhance the operational depth of theater aviation assets — and help V Corps achieve the (U.S. Army Europe and Africa) [commanding general’s] intent."
Other National Guard and Army Reserve — known colloquially as Components 2 and 3 respectively in military force management circles — senior leaders seemed equally enthusiastic about the event.
“We really appreciate Gen. Kolasheski putting this together,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Thombleson, the Indiana deputy TAG. “It was a great opportunity to discuss how we support operations across the theater, and especially great to have senior reps from [Components]2 and 3 present — we rarely have such a perfect opportunity for cross-talk.”
“It’s great the corps leaders brought us together like this,” added Brig. Gen. Joseph Dziezynski, commanding general of the Military Intelligence Readiness Command. “The better we understand each other, the better we can help each other.”
Senior leaders from the host command seemed gratified by the outcome of the event and optimistic about future endeavors.
“V Corps was honored to host the symposium,” said Broadwater. “It brough our great military leaders together to strengthen our efforts to improve interoperability and security cooperation with our NATO Allies and partners.”