U.S. Army Reserve

 

New Army Reserve Structure: Regional Focus

By Spc. Noel Williams | U.S. Army Reserve Command | May 03, 2018

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The U.S. Army Reserve Command Family Programs hosted Senior Volunteer Advisor-Command Volunteer Advisor training April 20-22, 2018, to explain structure changes effecting families due to the shifting from command to region focus.

Army Reserve families will now be supported locally, based on zip code instead of where a soldier is assigned. This new structure can potentially build community connections to form an improved family support base.

During the training volunteers engaged in “Who’s close to me,” a zip code activity. The activity allowed volunteers to meet other volunteers in their region to connect and network.

“It was a good exercise,” said David Shultz, senior volunteer advisor representative for the 1st Mission Support Command, Puerto Rico. “An exercise that requires you to go up to people and say ‘Hi, I’m David,’ allows you to realize who else is in your geographic area that is attending the conference is good.” 

This training is for volunteer advisors to get a clear understating of higher headquarters objectives for the new regional structure. This goal creates new roles and responsibilities requiring volunteers to return home to explain to families these changes. 

“This training equips volunteers with the information needed to support both their command teams and families within their geographic area,” said Charlotte Douglas, Family Readiness division chief, U.S. Army Reserve Command. “Volunteers are solicited on their input as to challenges that are being experienced in the field.”

A senior volunteer advisor is appointed by a commander at a major general or brigadier general level. Command volunteer advisors are appointed at brigade level. These volunteers provide family readiness and update higher command on family status. This training gives volunteers the basic to better serve families.

“Bringing that community focus is really important,” Shultz said. “In the past it’s been based on where a soldier is assigned. For example, if a soldier lives in Texas but is assigned to a unit in Florida, then it’s hard to make those community connections. Now if you approach it based on where a soldier lives, saying there is an Army Reserve team all in this zip code regardless of what unit, a soldier then can form a family support group based on that.”

Shultz started volunteering a year ago after his wife, Brig. Gen. Dustin Shultz, assumed command of the 1st Mission Support Command, on Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. After arriving, Hurricane Irma hit then the devastation of Hurricane Maria came soon after.

“I said to my wife, I need something to do,” Shultz said. “I walked across the street to the community center and started volunteering.”

Thousands of Army Reserve soldiers and family members were effected by Hurricane Maria. Some soldiers were operationally capable and the Army Reserve needed them right away. Some soldiers were trapped in their homes,” said Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, Chief, U.S. Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command. 

“The family members couldn’t care less what branch of the Army their spouse is serving in on a bad day, particularly when the wind and floods destroy the roads and power,” Luckey said. 

Higher commands want to ensure families that they will be supported by this new regional structure when conditions are at their worst.
During this training Luckey encouraged volunteers to speak from their perspective on ways to better help align families in this new regional structure.

Luckey shared his intent with all attendees in order for them to develop their plans of action. Training was provided by subject matter experts from plans and operations, legal, and public affairs along with five volunteer instructors. Tools used from this training will provide guidance and resources to best facilitate the work needed in supporting families and soldiers.

This change is needed, even at the smallest level, Luckey said. Organizing the Army Reserve differently improves readiness and the capabilities to generate specific and effective change.
Army Reserve Family Programs LTG Luckey