WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 24, 2014) – First U.S. Army’s “Bold Shift” initiative to integrate the Army’s active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve is “the right thing to do” for readiness today and for the future, a Defense Department official said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition last week.
Paul D. Patrick, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (Readiness, Training and Mobilization), talked about First Army’s program during a panel discussion on Army total force implementation.
The Bold Shift initiative focuses on pre-mobilization training of all three of the Army’s components, so all Soldiers are trained and configured in exactly how they will fight.
“The advantages of First Army’s partnering and engagement with the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve in pre-mobilization assessment training, planned development and post-mobilization training and preparing [reserve-component] units identified through mobilization for combat over the past 12-plus years in Afghanistan and Iraq are well documented,” Patrick said. “And it’s brought the level of total-force integration to unprecedented heights,” he added.
The Army initiative ensures optimal training in an efficient and cost-effective manner, Patrick noted.
“It encompasses not only training support personnel, facilities and equipment, [but the initiative] also brings together combat, combat support and combat service support formations from all components to train as you fight,” he said.
The Army is organized, trained and equipped to fight as a total force, Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, 1st U.S. Army commander, said during the panel discussion.
“We never go to war as one component,” he said. “We go to war as a multi-component force, always.”
If integrating training with all components together is not done, Tucker said, “we’ll go back to our stovepipes, and we can’t allow that as we go to combat as a multi-component force.”
The Army’s total force implementation, as directed by Army Secretary John M. McHugh, is a partnership, said Gen. Mark A. Milley, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command.
“We are partnering the Active Component with the National Guard and Reserve units on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis,” Milley said.
NEED BECAME CLEAR IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN
The need for a total force became clear during 12 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of U.S. Army Reserve Command.
Developing the total force policy has been an open and collaborative process in the Army National Guard, said Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard. He added that it’s encouraging to see that all major exercises will now be multi-component exercises. “It’s already paying dividends.”
Patrick noted that total force applies to more than one service branch.
“[DOD’s Reserve Affairs] is doing its part to ensure an optimally ready total force,” he said, “not only for the Army, but for all the services.”