By Maj Carlos M. CuebasMay 24, 2012
Fort Buchanan, PR- The Department of Defense officially extended the tenure of Brig. Gen. Fernando Fernández as commander of the 1st Mission Support Command (1st MSC), US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, for another year.
Traditionally, the general officer designated to occupy the position of commander at the 1st MSC does it for a period of time of three years.
The senior US Army Reserve officer position in the Caribbean has not always been occupied by an officer from the island.
There have been three US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico commanding generals who came from the continental states.
Since Fernández assumed command in October 2009, his tenure was originally scheduled to end on October 2012.
As the senior US Army Reserve officer in the region, the 1st MSC commander is the main authority on US Army Reserve matters in the Caribbean.
The 1st MSC Commander is in charge of maintaining the readiness level of the troops and families assigned to the command, while developing strategies to ensure the troops can be deployed anywhere in the world, if needed.
The Army Reserve-Puerto Rico role has taken a renewed local relevancy due to the new authority in this year's Defense Department authorization act, which allows the reserve forces to be called to duty in response to natural disasters or emergencies in the homeland, and also to be mobilized for extended periods to support theater security missions around the world.
US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico has approximately 4,000 troops assigned and approximately 300 civilian employees.
In 2011, the US Army Reserve invested approximately 140 millions in the local economy.
Fernandez' tenure extension provides a much needed operational continuity to the most important federal US Army command in the region, in moments when the Defense Department is undergoing a transition with the goal of reducing the budget in $487 billions, during the next ten years.
The US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico is the largest federal US Army command in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.