Shortages exist particularly among mid-level commissioned and noncommissioned officers. The force is short on captains, majors and sergeants first class, but has a surplus of colonels and sergeants major, said Brig. Gen. Leslie A. Purser, the Army Reserve’s deputy chief.
Purser said she is working to ensure the Army Reserve has the right force for the right missions.
“We want to make sure we have the right Soldier in the right place at the right time,” she said. “We have to make sure we can balance it across the force.”
In order to accomplish that balance, Purser said the Army Reserve must target prior-service Soldiers more than those without any service.
“We get seasoned Soldiers and their active-duty experience so that we can train our reservists who may not have had an opportunity to be on active duty,” Purser said.
The Army Reserve is increasing its efforts at transition points where active-duty Soldiers leave the service in an attempt to reach out and provide them with the benefits of joining the Reserve so that they will continue to serve their country.
Efforts include attempting to reach prospects within six to nine months before the end of their service agreements so that they are aware of the opportunities available to them in the Reserve.
Reserve Soldiers can be considered on a case-by-case basis for deferred deployment in order to finish their bachelors or associates degree if they are enrolled in an accredited university, Purser said.
“We have some terrific incentives that would help give them a more positive quality of life than it would if they got off active duty and just hung it all up,” she said. “We think that it’s very valuable for them to continue their service in support of their country and we can help them do that,” Purser said.
In an effort to attract more active-duty Soldiers, the Army Reserve will guarantee that a Soldier who joins the Reserve will be deferred for two years from deployment.
Additionally, the Employer Partnership initiative links Army Reserve Soldiers with civilian job opportunities in their military career fields with nearly 800 employers throughout the United States who have acknowledged and support the obligation reservists must fulfill.
“We like to think of the Army Reserve as a positive investment for America,” Purser said. “We are helping America accomplish its military objectives and strategic military objectives as well as helping small-town employers and large corporations hire the best qualified individuals.”