Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Reserve Component Mobilization
There is a new policy setting the total mobilization period for reserve-component units and/or individuals to 12 months. Previously, deploying RC Soldiers would spend as much as 18 months on active duty away from home. This included a 12-month tour in the combat zone, post-mobilization/pre-deployment training, and post-deployment recovery periods. Under the new policy, both the post-mobilization/pre-deployment training and the time a unit spends with actual boots on the ground in the combat zone must be no more than 12 months total (post-deployment recovery and end-of-tour leave is not included in the 12 months). The new policy requires units to conduct as much training as possible at their home stations prior to actual mobilization in order to maximize the amount of time they are available to the combatant commander.
Perhaps anticipating my concern at hearing of this training shift there is information regarding just how the training will be planned. First Army – the U.S. Army’s lead organization for training and mobilization of RC units developed models for both pre- and post-mobilization training. The new training models shift many individual and squad/platoon level collective tasks, formerly done after mobilization at First Army’s mobilization training centers, to homestation training executed throughout the year prior to unit mobilization.
This may brief well – but are the resources, allocations of range time, dollars available to complete this training. A perennial issue of the past was the difficulty for Reserve Component organizations to get ammunition, equipment, facilities to conduct training such as weapons qualification, land navigation, unit functional and METL training, Combat Lifesaver training and medical screening. FBCB2 equipment is an example – are we teaching basic land navigation with map and compass or providing the tool used in Iraq to navigate? I hope the latter for that was not done prior to my deployment and my life depended on learning GPS and then FBCB2 in combat conditions.
The plan also calls for earlier alert and more intensive pre-mobilization training also allow units to build more cohesive teams prior to mobilization. Post-mobilization training will focus more on complex, higher-level collective training and an ARTEP (Army Training and Evaluation Program) exercise that tests and validates a unit’s readiness to deploy for combat. Great idea if the unit has an ARTEP standard – MNSTC-I bound Training Division soldiers had no such document prior to our deployment so it may have to be accepted that adaptation may be needed. Adding ARTEP training requirements to a fulltime IDT mission set will be difficult unless additional drills are authorized.
For planning, these are good initiatives, and if resourced with knowledgeable trainers (not non-deployed/able soldiers from another Reserve unit) will provide a much more efficient training model for Reserve units. Accordingly if applied to consistent training standards for both pre- and post-mobilization training, fair and realistic validation of unit or individual readiness will foster a better partnership between the receiving organizations and the better trained soldiers arriving in theater.
I realize I’m a little old school – but I hope it isn’t a mandate pushing more requirements on Reserve units without an equal resourcing of the Fulltime personnel, facilities and equipment needed to complete the task to the First Army Standard.