|WASHINGTON, D.C. — With tough
budget decisions on the horizon and the changing military missions in
the Middle East, an uncertain future awaits the Army Reserve, the
organization’s commander said Sept. 14.
Speaking to Army Reserve Soldiers in a town hall meeting at the
Pentagon, Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz talked about the state of the
Army Reserve and what he’s doing to help evolve the force to better meet
the needs of tomorrow’s military.
“Everyone is trying to figure out what
the future will look like and plan accordingly,” Stultz said. “There’s a
lot of uncertainty out there.”
Stultz cited “uncertainty” in how the Army Reserve’s mission will
change with the drawdown of forces in Iraq and the troop surge in
Afghanistan. He said he also recognizes the effects unemployment and the
national deficit will have on future fiscal budget requests.
Meanwhile, he said, Soldiers must stay focused and can’t let the current
issues influence “the things we need to get done.” Initiatives are under
way, he added, to “operationalize” the Army Reserve.
“The natural tendency is to wait and see and let somebody tell us what
the future is,” the general said. “My push from my position is to push
our staff, our commanders (and) our leaders to not wait. We’re going to
continue to move forward with the vision that we have for the Army
Reserve and the things we need to do to shape the future for us.”
Operationalizing the Army Reserves means that the force would be used on
a regular basis to augment the active Army, Stultz explained. In the
future, he said, the active Army and the Army Reserve will not have
The idea will help ensure the Army is more fiscally efficient and
streamlined, he explained.
Most importantly, he added, it will ensure the Army Reserve is an
effective tool for combatant commanders throughout the armed forces.
The mission in Iraq now requires fewer troops, and the same will
eventually happen in Afghanistan, Stultz said. But because Army Reserve
units are made up primarily of combat support and combat service support
skills, a need exists for reservists outside of the U.S. Central Command
area of responsibility, he said.
He noted on a recent trip to Southeast Asia, he met with Army reservists
partnering with Navy Sailors to provide medical support to people in
Their efforts supported the U.S. Pacific Command mission and provided
thousands of people with much-needed dental and medical care, the
The same types of missions are under way in South America
and Africa, Stultz said, noting that Army Reserve troops, in this
capacity, can boost combatant commanders’ effectiveness and efficiency.
“I’ve seen Army Reserve forces doing a lot of great things in security
operations, theater engagements (and) nation building outside of
operations Iraqi Freedom (now New Dawn) and Enduring Freedom,” he said.
“There’s a goal for forces in the future to do great things for our
nation around the world, not necessarily associated with kinetic
Army Reserve troops can have a positive impact in helping foreign armies
train and improve their defenses, he added.
“The Army Reserve is not just a contingency force for America,” he said,
“but also a valuable asset to theater engagements.”
Stultz also talked about the Army campaign to manage resources and
eliminate redundancy within the force. That includes military and
civilian personnel and programs, he said.
“We can’t afford redundancy,” he said. “We can’t afford two guys doing
the same job. We’ve got to work for efficiency.”
Despite these challenges and future changes, the one thing that’s
remained constant is the quality of Army Reserve Soldiers, Stultz said.
“The good news in all of this is that our Soldiers are outstanding,” he
said. “As I travel around the states, the world, seeing what our
Soldiers are doing, their attitudes (and) the dedication have never been
Retention rates are exceeding goals, despite actions to reduce retention
and enlistments, Stultz said. The Army Reserve still has more people
than authorized, he added, and that’s because of the Soldiers’ attitude.
“We’ve got a lot of great Soldiers out there,” he said. “All we’ve got
to do is give them training and opportunities to grow, and keep them
engaged. The force is in great hands.”