JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. (Oct. 29, 2014) – Senior leaders from the Army, National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force and the Canadian military gathered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Oct. 22, for a two-day senior leader development conference to discuss the implementation and benefits of the Army’s total force policy.
The conference was hosted by I Corps, and featured presentations from I Corps, U.S. Army Forces Command, the National Guard, the Army Reserve and a total-force panel discussion led by retired Army Gen. Carter F. Ham.
The Army’s total force policy took shape in 2012, and joins the Army’s Active Component, National Guard and Army Reserve to create a single, integrated, and operationally ready force.
Col. Ray Dunning, the I Corps’ total force director, said the policy is vital because it allows commanders to accomplish their mission with maximum efficiency while conserving resources.
“This conference is about looking at what assets we have and maximizing those relationships and capabilities to maintain the ability to accomplish the mission in the Pacific, and globally,” said Dunning.
Dunning said the Army has always practiced integration with the three different components, and the total force policy is aimed at building on those relationships and increasing efficiency.
“What we’re talking about here is efficiently maximizing the capabilities of the components through relationships,” he said. “We recognize that we need to maintain close contact and get out of our comfort zone.”
Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, the I Corps commander, said the Army Reserve is vital in exercising capabilities and meeting the growing list of global requirements.
“As the army continues to move forward, it is imperative to build on the lessons learned and the partnerships that have been developed over the past 13 years,” said Lanza. “The Army and the nation are going to require us to work together and put our resources together.”
Lanza said his intent is to empower subordinate commanders to build enduring partnerships across the total force, in order to create opportunities to maximize training, leader development and mission command.
Dunning said I Corps has created a total force office and brought on full time Active Guard Reserve support to facilitate connectivity between the National Guard and Army Reserve units that are regionally aligned to the unit.
“This conference is going to assist in developing the way ahead to capitalize on the training opportunities we have in the next two years,” said Dunning. “The continuous presence of guard and reserve personnel in the Pacific region is key to enabling I Corps to sustain a presence there.”
Speaking at the event, Retired Gen. Carter F. Ham said it was important to integrate the policy from the ground up.
“There are aspects of total force integration that is of great interest to squad leaders and platoon leaders and other things that are of interest to theater commanders and policymakers,” said Ham. “You have the expertise within I Corps to address all of those audiences.”
Ham said I Corps has a history of leading in total force integration.
“When those across the Army and the other services ask, ‘What is the best way to achieve total force integration?’ the answer will be go to I Corps,” he said. “You have been doing it longer and more comprehensively than any other unit in the army.”
Closing the conference, Ham quoted an African proverb highlighting the importance of partnerships.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” he said. “It seems to me I Corps is postured to go far, because you’re going to go together.”