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NEWS | Oct. 5, 2022

USARC summit highlights modern training shift

By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Litchfield U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

Alignment of the U.S. Army Reserve Command’s training line of effort with the operational and readiness lines of effort was the focus of the USAR Enterprise Collective Training Summit held earlier this summer at the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) Headquarters at Fort Bragg, NC. 

In guidance to her staff, Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, issued a directive for tough, realistic, challenging training for USAR Soldiers. 

Aligning training lines of effort with operational and readiness lines of effort brought shareholders from major support commands across the Army Reserve, alongside active-duty (Component one) counterparts, and partners from the National Guard (Component two), to determine the road ahead for the U.S. Army Reserve Command’s premier pre-mobilization culminating training event – the Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX).

“We only have so many capabilities within the USAR, and those capabilities require certain linkages with other capabilities in order to train as we fight and be multi-domain operation capable,” explained Lt. Col. Jeffrey Johnson, USARC G37 collective training division chief.

The Army is the world’s premier land fighting force, and as such, is aggressive in their pursuit of modernization and integration of next-generation technologies. To that end, this gathering of multi-component subject matter experts allowed for candid discussions, capability briefs and identification of possible training shortfalls on the path to transformation. 

“As we move from the Army’s directive to move from a brigade focus to a division focus, now there are more assets, or more capabilities that really need to be in the fight,” said Johnson. 

With active-duty units looking for additional training opportunities beyond the major training exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center and the National Training Center, and USAR units with specialized capabilities requiring progressive training, a shift needed to be made. 

“It is incumbent upon us, within the USAR to develop robust, collective training platforms. Not a one size fits all but providing an opportunity for the preponderance of our forces to achieve a level of training that they need,” explained Johnson. 

The expectation for the summit was to bring in the right people to network, brainstorm and shape the future of CSTX, and allow the gathered planning guidance to be used to steer the Concept Development Workshop in transforming CSTX into the ultimate end state – a large scale collective training exercises designed to achieve desired readiness levels across all capabilities and on all-domain battlefields. 

“Expectations did meet reality,” said Lt. Col. Lauren Sharpless, Chief, Executive Management Branch, U.S. Army Reserve Command.

“We had great participation from all stakeholders and the event provided the platform and the right audience, together in the same room, to communicate the new vision for USAR Collective Training and ensure the shared understanding and of our MSCs.  This is going to allow for continued forward progress and action to effect the necessary change for USAR Collective Training Platforms, specifically CSTX.”

Although CSTX was designed to prepare units for combatant command deployment, many of the major subordinate commanders revealed the exercise not as effective as it needed to be for today’s modern battlefield. Certain specialized, smaller MOSs and non-combat units were not folded into the exercise, and required deeper integration with active duty, National Guard and other services, in order for the USAR to move toward their desired strategic end state. 

“This training summit allowed for further discussion and analysis with key National Guard / Compo one representatives to determine how to best partner and use their capabilities to address Compo three capability gaps,” said Sharpless. 

The summit puts into action the desire for the USARC commander to partner with First Army and develop of collective plan to create a program that best fits needs for both units. 

“This should be a mutually beneficial, formalized program between both First Army and us as the United States Army Reserve Command. First Army is the trainer, they are an enabler, and we are a force provider with the Army Reserve so it makes sense to formally develop a way in which we can leverage First Army’s training expertise and their capabilities to best train our formation as we project power for the combatant commands,” said Johnson.

Although CSTX was the initial focus of the summit, the paradigm shift to combined, modern training is being looked at across the Army Reserve. 

“We are still working the analysis,” stated Johnson. “We do have quite a few functional exercises that address specific capabilities, and where it makes sense, we will integrate some of those functional exercises into CSTX, not necessarily replace them.” Johnson went on to explain that with CSTX as the capstone training event, some of those exercises could become feeder events in the years leading to training culmination.

Creating a more realistic training program, focused on collaboration and cooperation, leads to achieving desired readiness levels and key partnerships that are key to the transformation and preparation of Reserve forces for future engagement and missions. 

Ready now! Shaping tomorrow.

The training summit was held 27-29 July, 2022.