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NEWS | Oct. 8, 2015

National Commission on the Future of the Army visits Meade to discuss reserve component issue

By Sfc Jacob Boyer 200th Military Police Command

FORT MEADE, Md. - The chairman of a commission looking into the balance of forces between the active duty Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard discussed reserve component issues with the Soldiers who lead and train the nation’s citizen-Soldiers, July 14 at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, chairman of the National Commission on the Future of the Army, led a delegation to meetings with leaders from the Army Reserve’s 200th Military Police Command, the Maryland and Virginia National Guard, and 1st Army Division East. The NCFA has been charged by Congress to examine the structure of the Army and policy assumptions related to the size and mix of forces between the service’s three components.

The visit began at the 200th MP Command’s headquarters, where Ham met with Maj. Gen. Phillip Churn, commander of the 200th MP Command; Brig. Gen. Marion Garcia, deputy commander; and Command Sgt. Maj. Craig Owens, the command’s top enlisted Soldier.

“As a command with over 13,000 Soldiers spread throughout 34 states, I feel it’s extremely important to highlight the role we play in providing those unique capabilities to the Army Reserve and the total force,” Churn said. “Our ability to be a team of professionals that collectively strive to provide a life-saving, life-sustaining force for the nation will be key.”

Discussions centered around the ability of reserve component leaders to keep track of how Soldiers in their units were employed in their civilian careers, the amount of “dwell” time reserve component Soldiers should have between mobilizations, the number of active duty Soldiers moving into the reserve components, and the ease of movement between the components.

Churn said that it’s imperative for reserve component leaders to know what their Soldiers do in their civilian careers.

“A very large portion of our Soldiers possess extensive civilian backgrounds in jobs at places such as the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, police departments, and other law enforcement agencies, which make their worth extremely high when it comes to the needs of the Army,” he said. “Its important to understand those skills in both peace and wartime missions.”

Following the briefing with the 200th MP Command, Ham met with the adjutants general of Maryland and Virginia, Maj. Gen. Linda Singh and Maj. Gen. Timothy Williams, and members of their staffs. The discussion echoed those held at the 200th MP Command, with the addition of a detailed briefing on the Maryland National Guard’s response to the April riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. The adjutants general also focused on their cyber capabilities.

Ham and his staff finished the day with a visit to the 1st Army Division East headquarters, where they were briefed by Col. Timothy Newsome, the division’s chief of staff, and Col. Michael Shrout, its operations officer. The briefing focused on transformations 1st Army Division East is undergoing to better support its ability to train reserve component forces before, after and between mobilizations. The ensuing discussion centered on how the division can best support the reserve component units it trains.

Owens, the command sergeant major of the 200th MP Command, said it is important that NCFA members talk with reserve component leaders, because the Army Reserve’s future will have an impact on recruiting and retaining Soldiers.

“Today’s Soldier is extremely intelligent,” he said. “The shaping of the future of the Army Reserve will play a vital role … as our nation evolves,” he said.

The Commission will make recommendations on modifications to the structure of the Army based on anticipated mission requirements, acceptable levels of national risk, and available and anticipated future resources. Its report is due to Congress by Feb. 1, 2016.