108th Training Command (IET) Future Force: Relevant, Ready, and Capable

06/21/2014  |  By Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser Commanding General, 108th Training Command (IET)
From the Commanding General
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In the winter edition of the Griffon I talked about Reformation at the Training Command level. Since that time there has been significant work on the reductions we will face, and for this edition I wanted to drill down somewhat and explain what the future will bring for the divisions within the 108th. Bottom line up front, regardless of the cuts we must take, every Soldier who wants to remain in 108th down trace units will be permitted to do so in order to fulfill a normal three year rotation.

Our mission is to be relevant, ready and capable by providing professionally trained and ready drill sergeant units, leader trainers, and support personnel to conduct initial military training and theater security cooperation in support of the Army, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and the U.S. Army Reserve (USARC). 

As you all know, due to fiscal and budgetary constraints after more than a decade at war, we are in an era of reduction. We will all feel the impact on manpower allocation, personnel requirements and authorizations in a resource constrained environment.

Deliberate cuts are currently programmed over the next several years that will cut the Army Reserve from its current end-strength of 205,000 to possibly 185,000 or below.

The 108th Training Command (IET) is tasked to conduct a force reduction through a tightly-coordinated process involving USARC G-3/7, TRADOC-IMT, and U.S. Army Cadet Command. The unique and specialized mission requirements of the 108th Training Command (IET) were validated, and for the first time, codified in a mission letter and TRADOC tasking order. For example, Cadet Command directed which 150 universities the 104th Training Division (LT) would support with adjunct faculty, vice the ad hoc method previously practiced. The force became more relevant.

The 108th Training Command (IET) then geared up to meet the next directive from USARC—force reduction. We received shaping guidance which ultimately directed the reduction of structure by at least 10%. The reduction process focused on the 108th Training Command’s pacing item: drill sergeants. That’s not to say we are cutting huge numbers of drill sergeants (DS), in fact today we have 2800 DS positions, and in the out years we will still have 2692 DS positions. We looked at overhead first, in order to preserve our trainers.

We reviewed each company for current drill sergeant strength, historical production trends, and available population for recruiting candidates. Through this approach, under-performing units will be off-ramped, and healthy units cross-walked into proposed future structure. Soldiers assigned to those under-performing units will be cross-leveled into existing structure, and will not be given walking papers, unless they too are under performing! Programs like IDT Travel and Lodging in Kind will help to offset long distances. (By the way, if you don’t know about these two programs, I suggest you research them. Its money in your pocket---IDT Travel will pay up to $300 per battle assembly if you live 150 miles away from your unit, and your unit is less than 100% strength).

Additionally, we conducted an analysis to station units in locations where they can support and maintain drill sergeants. The analysis included potential pockets of capable DS candidates and availability of regional facilities. As a result, the proposed structure and unit locations will positively impact DS recruiting, production, retention and ultimately strength. The force became more ready.

With validated mission sets aligned to four Army Training Centers and Fort Knox, the priorities are to reorganize the force by building full mission-capable units, eliminate redundancies or overhead, and preserve drill sergeant strength. Drill Sergeant companies will grow in size by adding four drill sergeants, battalions grow in size by adding one company, but the overall number of battalions will reduce by 20. The true achievement is designing each brigade with all the organic assets and capabilities needed to execute its missions, thereby reducing or eliminating the need to task organize across the command to resource a mission. For example the Reception units will be realigned from the 104th into DS units within the 95th and 98th Training Divisions (IET). The force became more capable.

The process of managing change has just begun, and the 108th Training Command (IET) is adapting to the new operating environment and will undergo future transformation. The ongoing result of this process helps to shape a leaner force that is more ready, relevant, and capable of meeting enduring missions and fulfilling emerging requirements.

Let me reassure you again, every Soldier who wants to stay in the 108th will be allowed to do so. We will find positions or keep you through your natural rotation.

Again, thanks for what you do to support this great nation. Bear with us as we go through these changes, the entire Army is experiencing the same pain. And stay safe this summer. Accidents rise in the summer months every year, and we need each and every one of you.

First in Training!

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