Story and photo by Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe
Army Reserve Communications
WASHINGTON -- The Chief of Army Reserve discussed two new initiatives during a Tuesday afternoon forum that he believes will have a lasting impact on the Army Reserve.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley spoke at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Convention, laying out what he called governmental and private sector solutions to the problem of limited resources.
Army Reserve units will be as busy as they are now or more so in the coming years, Talley said. An estimated 25,000-30,000 Army Reserve Soldiers will be called upon annually.
They are needed because the Army Reserve provides much of the combat support and combat service support specialties required for military missions around the world, he said.
The troops may not deploy for combat missions, like Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, or for a full nine months “boots-on-the-ground” mission, but will play roles in contingency operations worldwide, he added.
“Plan, Prepare and Provide” is Talley’s governmental method to offset limited resources. He emphasizes using Army Reserve units throughout the five-year Army Force Generation cycle, and not just in the last year in which the unit is to be available for deployment.
“Plan” involves the creation of Army Reserve Engagement Cells at Army Service Component Commands and Army Reserve Engagement Cells at Combatant Commands.
These units would be recognized as “one-stop shops,” directly linking back to United States Army Reserve Command and it’s subordinate commands, he said. The subject matter experts on these teams will help the active duty units understand how to use the Army Reserve’s capabilities.
“Prepare” involves having the Reserve units train along with the active units in large-scale exercises, Talley said.
During the “Provide” phase, the Army Reserve will provide Soldiers, leaders and units to the Army in their ready year during the ARFORGEN cycle, he said.
In addition to Plan, Prepare and Provide, the Private, Public Partnership initiative will leverage private sector resources to increase individual readiness. The initiative also will link units with missions to be paid for by the private sector.
For individual Soldiers, the initiative would transform the Employer Partnership Office into a new Private, Public Partnership Office, Talley said.
The new organization is to work with corporate America to mentor and teach Army Reserve Soldiers. It also calls for helping them build private sector leadership skills and get valuable professional certifications, he said.
The goal is to make the Soldiers more marketable to themselves, their families and their employers. Businesses have expressed interest in partnering with the Army Reserve to do this, he added.
The second part of the Private Public Partnership would involve working with private sector businesses and non-profit organizations to help pay for projects in which the Army Reserve would provide the manpower, he said. The Reserve units would provide manpower and train on their Title 10 mission, while the private sector would help pick up the bill.
“I’ve got people lining up, ready to do this,” he added.
Talley also discussed his top four priorities.
First, he listed sexual harassment prevention.
“It’s a plague on our Army as well as our Army Reserve,” Talley said. The Army Reserve must find a way to stop sexual harassment, he added.
The health of the force/suicide prevention was his next priority. A failed relationship is the most common reason for suicides in the Army Reserve, and financial problems are linked as well, he said.
Even stellar performers in units -- those Soldiers who seem to have everything together during their reserve duty -- commit suicide because they have problems in their personal lives, he added. Many -- 77 percent -- of the suicides in the Army Reserve are committed by men, he said. Most of them are young men, but there have been some senior non-commissioned officers and officers who have taken their own lives.
Talley’s third and fourth priorities -- manning the force and training the force -- are linked.
“You can’t train the force if you can’t man it,” he said.
While the Army Reserve has an overage in some ranks, the organization needs mid-career NCOs and officers, including captains, sergeants, staff sergeants and sergeants first class, Talley said.
To help fill these shortages, Talley is working with Gen. Ray Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army, to bring active duty Soldiers into the Army Reserve as the active component draws down.