FORT LEE, Va. –
No one works alone in the U.S. Army Reserve.
This was especially true for the key leaders of the 94th Training Division – Force Sustainment headquarters when they focused on improving full-time staff and Troop Program Unit Soldiers' engagement for the one-star command and its subordinate units, as well as exploring the military decision-making process to solve complex requirements during a staff exercise here September 9-11, 2019.
“Unlike other Army Reserve organizations, we are executing our instructional mission almost every day and maintain a battle rhythm of an active duty organization,” said Vivek Kshetrapal, the command’s executive officer for the 94th TD. “As such, the traditional one weekend a month, two weeks a year model does not support our mission set.”
“We needed to create a forum to come together and get after solving some of our most persistent issues,” he added. “As a division-level headquarters, there is an expectation about the level of products and analysis a division staff should be able to complete … spending some time to develop and improve our processes and critical-thinking skills was important to us.”
Attendees were also given an opportunity to visit The Army School System Training Center - Fort Lee and the Petersburg National Forest to learn more about the area and units within the 94th’s purview.
“The importance of the STAFFEX with the 94th was to help them understand how the policies, some of the different operational orders, and things like that affect the instructors and those that come to teach at the different training centers,” said Cpt. Zane Williams, the TTC-Fort Lee officer in charge.
The TTC’s mission is to coordinate with schools from various training regions and create operations at Fort Lee, Va., which supports the 94th TD’s mission to resource and conduct specified military occupational specialty reclassification, officer and noncommissioned officer educational training, and functional training.
“I think it’s kind of eye-opening to see all of the different areas that we manage with a very small staff,” Williams added. “I don’t think people truly understand how many different areas we are touching here at the TTC, to be able to support the different classes taught here, and some of the challenges that are associated with that.”
When it was time to focus on the MDMP, section leads and key staff came together to develop a way ahead to tackle future requirements that affect the instructors that the 94th TD supports.
“The staff ride was beneficial because it gave me a more of an understanding of what the instructors are doing and the commendation that they have here on Fort Lee,” said Master Sgt. Kiersten Bustos, the 94th TD’s command career counselor. “It gives me a baseline of when I do go on my staff assistance visits for other instructors and other schoolhouses that we have in the division.”
“As far as the STAFFEX, we were working almost as a task force with the special staff such as the public affairs officer, historian, and myself in retention,” she added. “We got so much done that it gives a decent framework of how to attack the next year and to get really good products done for the division.”
After the STAFFEX, team members left confident that the event led to more productivity and better processes that will ultimately be a benefit to those within the 94th.
“I think all staff members left the STAFFEX with a better appreciation for the challenges the 94th Division must address as well as understanding and appreciating the complexity of the mission and the outstanding job our instructors do every day,” said Kshetrapal. “It is our hope through the selection of respective problem sets and the development of plans to address them that the STAFFEX will improve the organization.”