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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2022

U.S. Army Puerto Rico Commander's Forum

By Spc. Airam Amaro-Millan 1st Mission Support Command

The Commander’s Forum is a three-day event hosted by the 1st Mission Support Command, which took place at the U.S. Army Reserve Center here, Dec 9, 10 and 11.

The purpose of the event was to brief command teams on matters involving people, readiness, sustainment and resourcing. Each day the command teams were briefed by subject matter experts on different materials.

“The intent of the Commander’s Forum is to ensure that command teams and senior civilians at all echelons are tracking the latest program updates that are going to readiness that will impact them and the soldiers themselves,” stated Maj. Heath Dickinson, 1st MSC plans officer.

Dickinson also expressed the outcome was to address the knowledge gaps in command teams and give them the tools needed to work at their specific level.

The first day included guest speaker, Maj. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, director of strategic operations office of the deputy chief of staff G357, who traveled from Washington, D.C., to Puerto Rico. Her topic of discussion was on Multi Domain Operations, which focuses on large-scale combat operations against adversaries in land, air, maritime, space and cyberspace.

“We joined to be something bigger than ourselves, we joined because there is a real threat out there,” detailed Shultz. “It takes us deploying to a theater to see really bad things. There is a threat, and we’re moving in aware of the threat.”

Other topics included the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, command climate trends, retention initiatives and many more.

Meunier, the 1st MSC command sergeant major, wanting to reach company level issues, took advantage of the working lunch hours to speak to the senior non-commissioned officers of the command teams about communication, training and readiness.

“When I send information out…the amount of time it takes from [sending it out] to reach your soldiers, is unbelievable,” said Command Sgt. Major Meunier. “I need your help to fix that.”

The second day of the forum was focused on soldiers' readiness. The Army Reserve is pursuing modernization by investing in and integrating new warfighting concepts and capabilities. As well as developing highly trained, disciplined and fit teams with skills and equipment to meet current operational requirements.

“The main purpose is taking care of Soldiers and what it means…We have to care for our soldiers when they are in the uniform and when they are not wearing the uniform,” conveyed Col. Carlos Cáceres, 1st MSC commanding officer. “What happens in their personal lives has a direct impact to readiness.”

To follow this plan the forum discussed command teams roles in commander’s unit status report, mobilization, and training management. As well as a collective training update for the 2023-24 fiscal years, and staff judge advocate trends and command team best practices. With Maj. General Shultz returning for the award presentation, she said: “Be a part of something bigger than yourself, change the world.”

Lt. Col. Blake Price, battalion commander for the 393rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, described how the forum builds cohesion and synchronization from the 1st MSC leadership and all across the organization.

“[The forum] allows us to get a lot of different resources and meet personnel, we are getting the chance to meet the [point of contacts] for different agencies that we typically do not get unless an issue comes up…It gives command groups the chance to get resources, a talk and cross talk, and get lessons learned from their experiences,” said Price.

The Commander’s Forum main goal is to enhance command teams efforts in their number one priority of taking care of their Soldiers.

Manuel Vergne, 210th Regional Support Group Supervisory staff administrator, conveyed that his takeaway of the event was the face to face interactions with most of the command teams and the sharing of understanding as far as mission and vision that the commanding officer is putting out.

“Traditionally, the Commander’s Forum is something done at the field grade level, here at the 1st MSC we are doing something down to the company level,” said Col. Richard Aviles, 1st MSC deputy commander. “Allowing the one star command to directly address line units on the new requirements, merging needs of the Army and at the same time the younger junior officers the chance to learn and have that one on one with the 1st MSC commander.”