By David VergunOctober 22, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 22, 2012) -- The National Guard and Reserve, along with First Army will "form an even stronger partnership" at regionally aligning their forces and participating in an integrated training environment
Gen. David. M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, provided his views on the way ahead for the Guard and Reserve during the Association of the U.S. Army's "MG Robert G. Moorhead Guard/Reserve Breakfast here today.
"Regional alignment" refers to Army active and reserve-component units and Soldiers focusing on military-to-military partnerships in a specific world region, and includes receiving cultural and language training and familiarity with that area's people and Soldiers and enhanced joint/combined military interoperability.
"We're looking to provide regionally aligned forces earlier in the ARFORGEN (Army Forces Generation) cycle, to allow commanders to plan and execute both decisive action training and focus on mission-specific tasks required to be most effective in that region," he said. ARFORGEN is a three-cycle model: reset, train/ready and available for any mission -- it's intent is to restore balance to the force and make deployments more predictable.
"The Guard and Reserve have a long history of successful engagements abroad," Rodriguez said, referring to past and current regional alignment efforts. "Those relationships were built on state partnerships and other exercises and training and are as strong as they can be in in the Guard and Reserve. We'll continue to take advantage of those relationships to further influence stability around the world."
Integrated training environment refers to the Army's efforts at preparing units and developing leaders for emerging technologies through real and virtual training exercises.
Rodriguez listed a number of reserve-component units that operated "superbly" in recent exercises, some in preparation for combat in Afghanistan.
"Exercises such as these serve as a foundation as we move forward and implement the secretary of the Army's total force policy," he said. "While (integrated training) has been a commonplace way to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will continue to refine the integration of the components in training as much as we have for preparing for combat in the past."
He said the Army's citizen-Soldiers continue to train and deploy worldwide, citing the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from the South Carolina Guard, currently deployed on a NATO mission in the Balkans, and augmented by other Guard and Reserve units across the U.S.
Speaking of his own command, Rodriguez said "FORSCOM provides a rapid-reaction capability for all the homeland defense emergencies; able to execute critical missions at home, such as crisis response, disaster relief, drug interdiction and many other missions. That responsiveness is due in large part to level of readiness we've achieved over last 11 years."
Citing "a period of constrained fiscal limitations," he added: "No matter what happens in the (upcoming) budget wars, the Army will fulfill its commitment to the American people and we'll continue to do that as we make critical decisions as we balance readiness against risk. And, we will always maintain our role as the dominant land power in the world."
Rodriguez also saluted the men and women of the Guard and Reserve, including Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Ahern, of the Illinois Guard who received a Silver Star and Staff Sgt. Phillip Elliott, a Reservist in the 377th Military Intelligence Battalion, in Orlando, Fla., who earned a Bronze Star, both for actions in Afghanistan.
"These citizen-Soldiers represent Army values and are among the hundreds of Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers who received awards for valor in combat" over the past 11 years, he said.