By Alexandra Hemmerly-BrownOctober 26, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 26, 2010) --The Army Reserve is undergoing a pilot program with some Inactive Ready Reserve troops to ensure that both the needs of the Soldiers and the Army are better met.
Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz explained Tuesday that the Army is currently considering the possibility of creating a pool of Soldiers who would be able to stay in the IRR without the fear of being deployed -- they could volunteer for missions, but it would be their choice.
During a forum at the 2010 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Stultz explained that the Reserve is still out of balance, and while recruiting is high, leaders are looking for ways to keep highly-qualified Soldiers in the Reserve.
"The challenge is, this is not going to change," Stultz said of the uncertainty now for both active-duty and Reserve Soldiers and their Families regarding deployments.
Stultz explained that a reversion back to a strategic rather than operational Reserve component is unlikely, and there are several studies being conducted to determine what the future role of Reserve troops will be.
"The Army has no choice but to include the Reserve as part of the operational force," he said.
Stultz explained that many foreign militaries are interested in how the U.S. uses its Reserve troops and have personally asked him for guidance.
"As we've been successful over the past few years transforming the Reserve into an operational force, it's gotten international attention," he said. "People around the world are paying attention to what we're doing."
However, with that success comes the knowledge that many Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are leaving the Army after their obligated service agreements expire because they have lives outside of the Army and those lives are often put on hold in lieu of deployments.
"We have a lot of Soldiers who left the Reserve because they realized it wasn't what they signed up for," he said.
Stultz gave the example of Army Reserve doctors who have put private practices on hold, or couples who have waited to have children until after leaving the Army because of the uncertainty of deployments. Yet those are the same Soldiers whom Stultz would like to see retained.
He also spoke of the desire to shorten Reserve deployments to nine months overseas, totaling 12 months away from home, including training.
The Army Reserve currently has about 20,000 deployed Soldiers overseas and an additional 10,000 troops activated stateside.