Reserve Soldiers ‘More Relevant’ Than Ever

02/21/2012  |  By C. Todd Lopez Army News Service
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Amidst concerns of budget and troop reductions, Reserve Soldiers remain a critical component of America’s defense, said Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief, Army Reserve. The general spoke during a Jan. 31, 2012, meeting of the Reserve Officer Association in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Amidst concerns of budget and troop reductions, Reserve Soldiers remain a critical component of America’s defense, said the chief of the Army Reserve.

During his visits around the force, Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief, Army Reserve said the No. 1 question he’s asked by Soldiers is “what’s going on” with regards to budget and force cuts. Those Soldiers, Stultz said, are concerned about the future of their jobs and their relevance in America’s defense.

“My answer to the Soldiers is, ‘You are going to become even more relevant than you’ve ever been to our national security strategy,’” Stultz said, Jan. 31, at a meeting of the Reserve Officer Association in Washington, D.C.

The active duty Army will draw down from 570,000 Soldiers to 490,000 Soldiers over the next six years. The growth to 570,000 Soldiers was a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During that time, Stultz said, the Army relied heavily on the Reserve to fulfill important combat support and combat service support missions. The Reserve, he added, is where the bulk of combat support, or CS, and combat service support, known as CSS, Soldiers reside.

“To the point where today, if you’re in the transportation community in the Guard and Reserve, you represent about 80-85 percent of the Army’s capability,” Stultz said, adding that for engineers, that number is about 75 percent. The Reserve components also represent about 70 percent of the Army’s medical capacity, about 85 percent of its civil affairs capacity, about 66 percent of the Army’s logistics capacity and about 70 percent of its military police.

The Army will continue to lean heavily on the Reserve components for these services after it draws down its own Soldiers.

“Our nation and our military are going to be dependent on access to the Reserve components,” Stultz said. And the nation expects the Reserve to be ready.

OPERATIONAL RESERVE

Stultz said the Reserve will be an “operational reserve,” a term he said has been in use now for a number of years. Being an operational reserve involves capability, modularity and employer support.

An operational Reserve, he said starts with capability. That means a force with capabilities that can be maintained, that is ready on short notice without the need for a lot of additional training, and that is accessible.

“That, to me, is the start of a definition of an operational Reserve,” Stultz said.

An operational Reserve is a force made of Soldiers who are also civilians. Those Soldiers must be able to maintain their military skill set even when they are not in uniform -- so when they are called upon, they are ready. To make that happen, Stultz said, the Reserve must focus on being a force that provides skill sets that are shared among both the military and the civilian communities.

The Reserve component is able to maintain a ready cadre of Soldiers in the medical field because many of those Soldiers are working related jobs in the private sector. There, Stultz said, they are getting great training -- sometimes even better than what’s available in the military. The same is true for engineers and other “hard skills” like electricians, carpenters and plumbers.

“To me, an operational Reserve is where you can have those capabilities,” he said.

Stultz also said the future of the operational Reserve is going to involve modularity.

“The role of an operational Reserve in the future is going to be plug and play,” Stultz said. “Where do we need these capabilities, and can you scale them either up or down to fit what we need?”

Stultz said a modular operational reserve could provide the capability needed, in the right amount.

“If I need some engineer capability, but I don’t need a whole battalion, can you give it to me?” he asked.

Soldiers in the Reserve components need jobs, and they need employers that understand their service commitment. At the same time, the civilian employers of those Soldiers need some stability from their employees.

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