WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 29, 2010) -- Under a new concept for Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN), all units not locked into a deployment date will become part of a contingency expeditionary force.

These CEF units, when not responding to global contingencies, will be expected to "get back to basics" and conduct full-spectrum training, said Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham, the G-3/5/7 for U.S. Army Forces Command.

"We've had many, many questions on CEF units: What do they do' And how does this CEF thing work'" Graham said Oct. 25 during a readiness panel at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

A CEF white paper was released this week to answer those questions. The FORSCOM Campaign Plan rolled out at the AUSA annual meeting also had several pages about CEF units. And the concept will be further explained in FORSCOM Circular 350-1, scheduled to be released by January, Graham said.

CEF units will be identified within 90 days of returning from theater, according to the white paper. They will go through the same ARFORGEN reset and training cycles as units going back to Afghanistan, but their missions will be elsewhere. The CEF units will perform such missions as:

-- homeland defense and civil support
-- overseas exercises
-- institutional support
-- theater security cooperation events
-- global response

Graham and Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, the Army's G-3/5/7, also discussed the ARFORGEN Model during the AUSA forum. They were joined by Brig. Gen. Jon Miller, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command and Brig. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, deputy director of the Army National Guard.

"If ARFORGEN is done right, it provides the space for us to look toward tomorrow," Bolger said. He explained that it should allow the Army to look beyond a counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan toward other threats, such as force-on-force.

ARFORGEN "can give us some forces that can ... drop off the conveyer belt and check out some other ways we can do business." Bolger mentioned that a CEF brigade at Fort Bliss will be designated to do experimentation and look at future forces.

CEF forces will have more time to train for full-spectrum operations at the National Training Center or at Fort Polk, La., Bolger said. Right now, a brigade combat team of the 82nd Airborne Division is going through the first full-spectrum rotation at Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center, Bolger said.

Training for full-spectrum operations will mean going "back to basics" Graham said, and learning to do tasks that contractors have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said it means "Soldiers turning wrenches again" and doing preventive maintenance in the motor pool.

"Contractors do a lot of things for us down range," Graham said, giving the example of KBR providing meals. He said units will need to cook again at the combat training centers. He said units will have more time to do things like training management.

But the CEF white paper suggests that with a high operations tempo continuing through next year, it may be about 15 months until much of the plan can begin to be implemented. It will begin with units returning from theater and entering the reset pool during the second quarter of fiscal year 2012.

Then the ARFORGEN synchronization board will designate every unit either a deployment expeditionary force or a CEF. The difference between the two, Graham explained, is simply that a DEF unit will receive a "latest arrival date" or LAD for a theater of operation such as Afghanistan.

The DEF force every year consists of one corps, five divisions, 20 brigades, and 90,000 enablers, Graham said, explaining this is known as 1-5-20-90.

The CEF force must also be capable of providing a "surge" capability, he said, which will consist of one corps, four divisions, 10 brigades and 41,000 enablers -- this being known as 1-4-10-41. This surge force will be mostly active-duty, he said, due to its need to deploy on short notice. The surge force will consist of CEF units during their last months in the train/ready pool of the ARFORGEN cycle.

ARFORGEN provides an "unprecedented visibility" of units, Graham said.

"We know more now about units -- all the way down to the dog team -- than we ever have before," Graham said, explaining FORSCOM better knows the state of training and readiness.

"We can see ourselves better and we're able to tell where we need to sharpen the blade a little," Graham said.

He said a 90-K Enabler Study indicated that some small units are out of alignment -- that a number of small units are now separated from their parent headquarters due to the deployment cycle.

"We're now putting the Rubik's Cube back together," Graham said.

"Now what we've got to do is continue to move the cube until the colors are aligned. That's what we're working on today -- to draw the enabling structure back together under the parent units so we can get back in synch. That will take two or three years to do it," he said.