CAMP BUCCA, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 28. 2008) - Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz visited the Camp Bucca detention facility in southern Iraq Jan. 19 and told Soldiers that Army Reserve units preparing to deploy would benefit from a full year on alert.

The chief of the Army Reserve, who also serves as commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command, had lunch at the Camp Bucca dining facility with a group of Soldiers, including Brig. General Robert Hipwell, commander of the 300th Military Police Brigade and Camp Bucca's incoming commander. Stultz addressed challenges facing the Reserve today, including deployment cycles.

In order to make the deployment process move more smoothly, Stultz said that he would like to see the Army give Reserve units a year-long alert. Soldiers need time to prepare themselves and their families for deployment, he said. He said they need time to train on theater-specific tasks, like the latest tactics, techniques and procedures on defeating Improvised Explosive Devices - training which he said could save their lives.

"The Army Reserve is transformed from yesterday's two weeks in the summer," Stultz said. "We are no longer a strategic Reserve, but an operational force -- trained and ready to deploy."

The three biggest issues for Army Reserve leadership are predictability, longer alerts for mobilization time/a shorter post-mobilization process, and benefits, said Stultz. He spoke at length about what he is doing to resolve these issues for Reserve Soldiers.

The Reserve chief addressed the need for Soldiers to have predictability in their deployment cycle. This predictability can be attained by building up and reshaping the Reserve force, he said.

"We need to increase the number of Soldiers in critical MOSs [Military Occupational Specialties] -- such as Military Police, Transportation and Civil Affairs -- so that current Reserve Soldiers will be able to sustain a one-year-deployed, five-year-back-home tempo," Stultz said.

Aside from mobilizations, other important issues facing the Army Reserve, according to Stultz, are benefits and civilian employment. Stultz wants to expand coverage so that Soldiers receive medical and dental benefits upon alert, not mobilization.

Stultz went on to discuss the importance of Reserve Soldiers to the civilian workforce.

"Army Reserve Soldiers are tested under fire, team players, and they understand followership - when to lead and when to follow. That's the difference. Employers recognize the value that you bring to their force, the employment force."

Stultz has been working with many employers to develop ways to allow "warrior citizens" to solve conflicts between their civilian employment and Army duties like mobilization.

Stultz discussed with the Camp Bucca Soldiers how important these issues are to him. He stressed the message that Reserve Soldiers are a vital part of both the civilian community and the Army.

"We are one Army, just on different statuses," said Stultz. "Everyone in this room right now is Active Army."

After lunch, Stultz toured Camp Bucca and experienced first-hand Camp Bucca's detainee operations, including a range of programs and services designed to equip detainees for an eventual return to society.

Educational, vocational and religious programs help equip detainees to re-enter Iraq society as productive and educated individuals.

"The greatest thing the Army has going on is what's in this room," Stultz said. "You are a truly quality force."