U.S. Army Forces Command hosted its annual Command Readiness Program March 28-30 to update senior commanders and staff on mobilization, deployment and FORSCOM's missions - to include introducing a new regulation detailing Army Force Generation. As part of the total force, all three components -- the Active Army, United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard -- were represented at the conference near Little Rock, Ark.
Gen. James D. Thurman, FORSCOM Commanding General, hosted the Camp Robinson, Ark., event that included other key leaders -- such as Mr. Paul Patrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (Readiness, Training and Mobilization); Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, Acting Director of the Army National Guard; Maj. Gen. Jon Miller, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command; and keynote speaker Gen. Craig McKinley, Chief, National Guard Bureau. The conference's theme was "Sustaining the Reserve Components as Part of the Total Force."
More than 280 Soldiers and civilians attended the presentations at the LaVern E. Weber National Guard Professional Education Center. Army National Guard attendees came from 48 states, territories and districts -- with 29 Adjutant General's in attendance along with all eight Division Commanders. Army Reserve attendees included three Regional Support Commands, as well as 37 Operational and Functional Commands.
Thurman explained that the purpose of the conference was to look at mobilization, deployment and FORSCOM missions, create relevant, timely discussions and to work as one team. With today's budget constraints in mind, Thurman said "we have got to think about how we do things differently and to maximize our resources." While changing how we think "we also need to build readiness at the best value," he said.
As part of the discussions, preparations for full-spectrum operations was mentioned by many speakers as a crucial approach to the Army's future training strategy. "Training needs to get back to the basics and fundamentals," Thurman said.
Thurman vowed to be a voice for the total-force solution and continue to support integration between all three components.
One step in the process of integration is the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model and process. "ARFORGEN is here to stay ... the Army just put out Army Regulation 525-29 about Army Force Generation, so if you if haven't had a chance to look at it, do so."
With persistent conflicts around the globe as well as needed humanitarian missions, Thurman said the Army will need trained and ready forces "who must remain transparent; inclusive; one team; a total force. ARFORGEN provides a predictable model for our Active Reserve and National Guard Soldiers."
"All forces that are generated in the United States come through FORSCOM, the core enterprise of readiness," Thurman said. "FORSCOM drives demand and collective training." Thurman also posed the questions, "can it be improved, should we improve it' Yes, because we must build readiness at the best value."
As keynote speaker, McKinley spoke about working together in this time of budget cuts and the importance of keeping an integrated force.
"We have invested a great deal of treasure and sacrifice in making this force what it is today and that it would be approaching criminal for those of us in this room to walk it back," McKinley said. "As long as I am chief, we are not going to walk it back, we are going to work with the United States Army, we are going to work with Gen. Dempsey and make sure, along with the Army Reserve, we stay synchronized so we don't squander this investment," McKinley told the commanders in attendance.
Miller gave in depth state of the Army Reserve -- to include going through the typical mobilization process for an Army Reserve unit, how to adapt resources to ARFORGEN requirements and how to address Soldiers care, benefits and entitlements during the demobilization phase.
Other important topics included:
* Maj. Gen. Carpenter provided an update on the Army National Guard.
* Mr. Patrick's presentation dealt with readiness, training, civil-military policy and mobilization of the Army Reserves.
* Mr. John Newman, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense of Manpower and Reserve (Training, Readiness and Mobilization), spoke about Army Total Force Policy.
* Maj. Gen Rita Broadway's presentation was on Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee Update.
* Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, FORSCOM G-3/5/7, gave an update on the Army Force Generation Contingency Expeditionary Force Strategy.
* Col Brain McKiernan from the Army Reserve G 3 /5/7 briefing concerned the Army Reserve Contingency Expeditionary Force Training Strategy.
* Maj. Gen. Timothy Kadavy Deputy Director of the Army National Guard gave the National Guard Contingency Expeditionary Force Training Strategy presentation.
Day-two topics included Army's training efforts associated with the "Don't Ask/ Don't Tell" Repeal Act of 2010, Soldiers' non-deployable issues, and a presentation about the Reserve Component Soldier Medical Support Center.