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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Concept: Building predictability into the Army Reserve

In what appears to be a common-sense approach to getting Army Reserve personnel on a reasonably predictable track for "deployment ready" status, the Army Reserve is setting out an schedule for training and readiness as reported here:
Almost all Army Reserve units will be assigned to an Army Reserve Expeditionary Force package, which follows a five-year cycle to prepare for a potential deployment, the general explained.

During the first year of the cycle, members will focus on individual training: schools, qualification courses and training programs that range from initial military training to basic and advanced officer and noncommissioned officer courses to Command and General Staff College, Sherlock said.

During the next three years, soldiers will build on their individual training by moving through a variety of individual and collective unit training events. These will culminate with certifying events that demonstrate that unit members are trained and ready to perform their mission, Sherlock said.

During the fifth year of the cycle, these fully trained troops will become part of a ready pool available for missions, whether stateside or overseas, he said.

The Army Reserve Expeditionary Force model will bring structure and continuity to reservists' training while eliminating some of the uncertainty they face about potential deployments, Sherlock said.

As a long time reservist (albeit in the Navy Reserves), I appreciate the logic behind the plan. In fact, I argued for a similar program for certain reserve units based on the Navy's long-standing system of working up to deployment for active forces. The idea is to allow the reservists to be able to warn their employers and family of the periods when they might be called up and allow some personal planning of the sometimes challenging reserve/civilian interface. In addition, the active force can have confidence that they are getting fully qualified reservists for service.

I hope the plan helps the reservists and the Army.

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