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NEWS | Oct. 18, 2023

FORSCOM salutes readiness, excellence in National Guard, Army Reserve

FORSCOM Public Affairs

“The undisputed bottom line is that we know National Guard and the Army Reserve Soldiers are going to be committed, well-trained, lethal and ready when called upon,” the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command said Oct. 9.

General Andrew Poppas, the FORSCOM commanding general, spoke at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting 2023 as part of the Maj. Gen. Robert G. Moorhead National Guard and Army Reserve Breakfast at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Poppas emphasized the vital role of the Total Army in national defense while also recognizing excellent units and Soldiers from the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve during the 90-minute meeting.

“One of the core realities we all know to expect in Large Scale Combat Operations is we absolutely need our National Guard and Army Reserve formations in the fight,” Poppas said, praising their excellent units and Soldiers’ performances over the past year.

“I want to recognize your most ready formations,” Poppas said. He presented the Walter T. Kerwin Jr., Readiness Award to the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Brigade of the Kentucky Army National Guard and to the 2nd Brigade, 78th Training Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve for their excellence. The Kerwin Award recognizes outstanding National Guard and Reserve units with the highest level of readiness. To be considered, each unit must have been rated as having superior performance in eight areas as well as other selection criteria.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re doing as an Army and the work many of you are doing in your formations to build ready, winning, warfighting organizations,” Poppas said.  “I have to single out the U.S. Army Forces Command Best Squad, Soldiers from the Idaho National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade.

Poppas also saluted the National Guard’s vital role in fighting recent natural disasters.

“We saw a true Total Army, multi-component response to the Maui Wildfires (in Hawaii) this summer, Poppas said. “I know your teams are always ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.” “The response that we had to Hurricane Idalia included 6,500 Florida Guardsmen alone.”

The Director of the Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, recognized the National Guard’s partnerships with FORSCOM and First Army. “I am so appreciative of this whole team, he said. “Getting after Army Readiness with an eye to Large Scale Combat Operations and what that means to the Army and the changes that we have to make.  But, also understanding that everyday we have Soldiers currently deployed for the Army Guard.” Jensen said 34,012 Army National Guard Soldiers currently are deployed either in support of the National Security Strategy or in direct support of their governors.

The breakfast forum also included international counterpart representatives from the army reserve elements from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain.

“We’re all busy, getting after a lot of things … working with our foreign partners and allies, trying to get exercises together, making sure we’ve got interoperability taking place … and that is really hard work,” said Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General of U.S. Army Reserve Command.  “The fact is we’re doing exercises all across the globe, we are practicing how do we work together … because we don’t want to go alone. This is a great event to bring everyone together to talk about how can we do this better, to perfect our skills and go on with even more proficiency.”

“We’re doing more to team Guard and Reserve formations up with Active Army headquarters,” Poppas said, “who can deliver the same types of training relationships that your active counterparts already benefit from, especially between Brigades and Divisions, and Divisions and Corps.

“So many necessary capabilities reside in your organizations … and as the Army shifts focus to Divisions and Division-level enablers … now is the time for us to ask ourselves ‘who does what?’ … and take a transparent, multi-component look at the Nation’s warfighting needs,” Poppas said.

“How we deploy and fight will drive how we train as a Total Army,” Poppas said.

“We’re also taking a hard, realistic look at our home game … looking at large-scale mobilization, and Rehearsal Of Concept drills to test our ability to activate, transport, train and deploy a substantial number of your formations through our Mobilization Force Generation Installations.”

Poppas spoke about the “reality of war” and what to expect over the next 12 to 24 months.

“We cannot wait … and when the next crisis comes, our Army will not have the luxury of time to build our lethal force,” he said. “We’ve got to be prepared today. We’ve got to build that warfighter ethos. That resiliency has got to be built today. That’s a leader’s responsibility to build into every formation. It’s going to be us. That’s the reality of the next war.”

Poppas encouraged the audience of Army National Guard and Army Reserve senior leaders to “keep asking yourselves are we leading … are we building the warrior-ethos that will empower Soldiers to win in combat?  Is our training tough enough? Is our equipment ready? Are our standards high enough? Do our teams trust one another? Are we all we can be? I ask these questions every day,” he said.

“It’s not just a simple ‘yes,’” Poppas said. “Rather it’s ‘yes’ and we have more to do.

Here’s where we are doing well and we have to sustain. Here’s where we have to focus, resources we need and we have to get ready today.”

“That’s the reality of our Army today,” Poppas said. “Your formations are doing more and will continue to do more today. Tomorrow will be too late.”

“That’s our responsibility: embrace it, drive it … take pride in the success we’re going to have. Keep asking hard questions … keep challenging one another … and most of all … thank you for the role you play in building warfighting readiness, and for taking the very best care of our people and families.”