Army Reserve senior enlisted leaders tackle ACFT amid leadership council

By Master Sgt. Michel Sauret | Oct. 29, 2019

FORT EUSTIS, Va. Leadership is a mental game that requires foresight and problem-solving. Yet, this weekend, Army Reserve leaders also brought a physical aspect to tackle one of the biggest Army topics to date.

For the first time, the Army Reserve Senior Enlisted Council incorporated the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The top command sergeants major from across the U.S. Army Reserve came together to complete the test during the three-day council held at Fort Eustis, Virginia, Oct. 25-27, 2019.

“This is not life-ending. This is okay. It’s not that hard. Just put some effort into it,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Copeland, the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserve, after completing the six-event test.

“If you practice, put some effort, some sweat and tears into it, you’re going to do great,” he said.

Copeland estimated that the average age of the sergeants major attending the council was approximately 50 years old, yet they all passed.

“The old, crusty command sergeants major (across) the Army Reserve could do it,” he joked. “They were all successful. Nobody got hurt. … It’s not going to be that hard.”

During the Senior Enlisted Council (SEC), hosted quarterly by the Army Reserve, senior enlisted leaders discussed major topics that impact Soldier readiness, including schools, training and manning structure.

“The workshop is all about what’s going on in the Army Reserve and what’s coming,” said Copeland. “We have control of our future. We know what our Soldiers can and can’t do, and the issues (that impact) the Army Reserve.”

The top enlisted leaders represent nearly 30 sub-commands, each either specializing in a particular Army function or regionally aligned and responsible for specific geographic areas. Additionally, three international partners from Canada, United Kingdom and Australia attended to represent their Army Reserve forces.

“We invited them to build some partner relationships, some connections, because we all have a lot of the same issues and problems,” Copeland said. “They could experience what we do, and we share that.”

In addition to the ACFT, leaders discussed a wide range of topics, such as the Army Career Tracker, the STEP (Select Train Educate Promote) program, Army competitions that promote individual training, personnel management and more.

Copeland said that one of the main topics today that continues to impact Soldiers is scheduling them for schools that progress their careers and develop them as leaders.

 

“Soldiers have a busy life. They’re either going to college, work full time, (or) have their family, on top of the Army Reserve. So, fitting in another couple of weeks a year is tough. But if we get predictability, if we plan out far enough that they can plan their life, we can do this,” he said.

Copeland wants to see leaders across all levels of the Army Reserve improve their forecasting. That means planning ahead for future requirements and resolve scheduling conflicts months in advance.

During the workshop, the international representatives also had a chance to present on their own force structures and discuss similar challenges, such as retention and career progression.

“I found the council to be fantastic,” said Warrant Officer Class One Robert Jericevich, who attended on behalf of the Australian Army Reserve. “I think the takeaway is we need to come together more. As a collective, it’s not something you can do via telephone, just dialing in. The face-to-face is really important.”