Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Active to Reserve and Back

At The AUSA convention LT Gen Stultz says The Army Reserve “is very, very healthy” as it celebrates its 100th birthday next year, but the component faces some key challenges. LTG Stultz is the commanding general of the Army Reserve.

He noted that The Army Reserve has surpassed recruiting and retention goals which was expected and necessary for the the growth of the Army Reserve. He noted the quality of Reserve Soldiers which those of us in the system knew about for years despite the challenges of the tiered readiness systems of the past.

As reported in the Army Times he is attributed as discussing the dynamics of the recruitment effort between active and reserve components:

The Reserve has about 191,000 soldiers, but it is authorized an end strength of 205,000… We lose more than 7,000 soldiers who’re choosing to go to the active component . We’re not getting that much back.” In the past, more soldiers opted to switch from the active Army to the Reserve, but that trend is now reversed.

This is not to be unexpected in today’s environment – the ability to test the waters for Reserve soldiers has never been greater that it is today. In years past the typical Reserve soldier was virtually unable to go on to active duty as strength limits, grade caps and other obstacles prevented such movement in all but a handful of cases. The Osmosis of soldiers from the Reserve to the Active component is likely to be good for the longer term for the Reserves as those soldiers are a live representation of Reserve Soldiers everywhere long after the current conflict is over. The effect is similar to the benefit of Active Component soldiers coming to Reserve Assignments in the past.

We will see more Active duty soldiers coming into the Reserves eventually…. As a soldier that made the transition from Active Duty to Army Reserve in the eighties I was quickly corrected in my attitude about how dedicated and rigorous the Reserve service ethic was. The units were poorly equipped and funded, but the soldiers had a lot of dedication… that is reflected today in the outstanding service offered by the Reserve Component – Army Reserve and National Guard.

The growth of the Reserve component and the planned improvements in Fulltime staffing, equipment, active component attitudes will be enhanced by a continued exchange of soldiers in the future… easily traversed avenues for transfer between active and reserve components should be planned and available to sustain the partnership born in the current conflict from necessity. It is in the interests of the Army, as a whole, to maintain the more harmonious relationship fostered by need and grow a healthy force to provide for our defense in the future.

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