By Donna Miles, American Forces News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After World War I, a hit single begged the question,
“How do you keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?”
With the drawdown of U.S. forces under way in Iraq and plans announced
to begin reducing forces in Afghanistan after July 2011, Lt. Gen. Jack
C. Stultz, the Army Reserve chief, is facing a similar quandary.
His big question is: “How do you keep the Army Reserve relevant, and its
Soldiers motivated, if it’s allowed to revert from an operational
reserve to its pre-war strategic-reserve status?
Stultz told an assembly of Reserve Soldiers that he wants the Army
Reserve to continue supporting the total force and to keep its
combat-hardened capabilities sharp after the current conflicts end.
With proven battlefield successes and an Army force-generation process
instilling predictability into training and deployment cycles, an
operational Army Reserve can continue to fulfill critical military
missions, he said.
“There are a lot of requirements out there today from all the (combatant
commands) that are going unmet because of the demand in Iraq and
Afghanistan,” Stultz said. “And I think, long-term, if we put them in
the global requirements system, there will be plenty of opportunities
for reserve-component Soldiers to go do things in the future, even with
a drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
With a heavy concentration on combat-support and combat-service-support
capabilities, the Army Reserve has a lot to contribute toward combatant
commanders’ security cooperation engagements, he said.
Stultz pointed to medical and engineering exercises in which the Army
Reserve regularly engages within U.S. Southern Command’s (Southcom) area
Navy Adm. James Stavridis, U.S. European Command and NATO commander who
previously served as Southcom commander, said these medical engagements
“do more than anything else we do to enhance relationships with the
United States, and the way people in those countries view us,” Stultz
Rather than limiting these missions to the current two to three weeks,
Army reservists could serve longer tours, Stultz said, all within their
regularly scheduled force-generation cycles.
The Army introduced the force-generation training and deployment cycle
concept in 2006 to ensure there’s always a pool of trained, equipped and
deployment-ready troops. For the Army Reserve, the plan means reservists
can expect to deploy for up to a year once every five years.
“What I would like to be able to say in the future is, plan a 12-month
engagement,” Stultz said, with Army Reserve medical units pulling longer
tours — potentially 90 to 120 days longer — to support it. “We could
really do a first-class support mission,” he said, possibly rotating
various reserve units through for its full duration.
Citing potential missions within U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa
Command and U.S. Pacific Command, the general noted “a huge potential to
really leverage a lot of capabilities — from logistics to engineers to
civil affairs to medical to you name it — to have a huge impact out
The plan would enable Army reservists to maintain their skills, Stultz
said, while giving them the predictability of knowing they would be on
tap for deployments only one in every five years.
Stultz said his most recent Thanksgiving and Christmas visits to Iraq
and Afghanistan reaffirmed how far the Army Reserve has come as an
“When you get out there in Iraq and Afghanistan and see U.S. Army
Reserve units in action, they can hold their own with anybody on the
battlefield,” he said. “And commanders across the force say ‘I can’t
tell any difference.’... In terms of performance of the unit, they are
as good as anybody else.”
The key after the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will be to maintain
those capabilities on a sustained basis, he said.
While the leadership has a big interest in maximizing Army Reserve
capabilities, Stultz said, the Soldiers themselves want to ensure they
“The Soldiers we have signing up today for the Army Reserve are signing
up to go do something. They are not signing up for a
one-weekend-a-month, two-weeks-in-the summer-time Army,” he said.
“If we go back to a strategic reserve, with tiered readiness, I think we
will have a heck of a time retaining those Soldiers, because that is not
what they want.”