Posted on Jun 20, 2015
GySgt Wayne A. Ekblad
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Whether US Army's active component absorbs the National Guard's AH-64 Apaches may be the highest profile issue for a congressionally established commission on the service's future, but the panel is taking on tougher questions, ones that may redefine the roles of the active side, Guard and Reserve.

"The more lasting, longer term recommendations we will make will be, 'How do those three components of the Army contribute most effectively to the nation's land power requirements,'" retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, chairman of the commission, said after it met Thursday. "It's more nuanced, it's more difficult, it's a less precise answer than the AH-64 issue."

The commission was mandated by the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act following a public dust-up between the Army National Guard and active component over the active Army's Aviation Restructuring Initiative. The panel is to study the Army's structure, size, force mix, and how they all should be modified to fit the Army's missions and available resources.

The controversial aviation restructure, over five years, would eliminate the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and use the Apache to fill the Kiowa's reconnaissance and scout role. In turn, it would pull the Apaches from the Guard and replace them with UH-60 Black Hawks, a move the Guard and its advocates oppose.

The commission's report to Congress is due in February 2016, and therefore is unlikely to influence the budget immediately.

"This is not about the Army of 2016, it is about the Army of 2020 or 2025," Ham told reporters. "While there are some things of immediate concern, the force structure, force design, force mix are larger issues, and we're trying to think about that."

The active and reserve components are meant to be complimentary, and over the last decade's wars, the reserve component has hovered at slightly more than half of the total force. Shrinking budgets and the shrinking Army have sharpened the arguments over the proportions.

The argument in favor of a stronger reserve component, which is made up of part-time troops, is that they're interchangeable with their active-component counterparts, at a lower cost. The counter-argument is that reserve component troops are not as capable, and that they take more time and training to mobilize for immediate crises. The commission is expected to examine these arguments.

http://www.armytimes.com/story/defense/land/army/2015/06/19/army-future-commission-force-mix/28984733/
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COL Health Services Plans, Ops, Intelligence, Security,Training
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Everyone should be RC or NG and AC eliminated as a concept. Instead, active duty tours will be performed by members of the RC or NG based on skill demand, missions and budget. This creates one retirement program (RC and age 60), requires everyone to balance two careers (no AC transition required), eliminates retention boards and involuntary separation pay and enables everyone to compete for promotion and schools on an equal footing (no preference for AC and AGR over RC and NG). Best qualified should get promoted instead of best qualified by component (which often means AC least qualified gets promoted over RC/NG). No more issues about the AC living off of the RC in times of conflict, then kicking them to the curb after the conflict is over. Also, no more preference by VA. Currently, AC disability is presumed service connected because they were 'full-time' whereas RC/NG have to fight for benefits, even after multiple combat tours, because VA presumes RC is part-time and therefore likely to become disabled at civilian employment. Once force, one fight, one set of standards.
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CW3 Aviation Oct
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Yes Sir.lets make one team and one standard, The Active Duty.
That will eliminate all of the discrepancies you just presented, and let's all retired at 20 years of service not at 60 years of age, I do want to enjoy my retirement after 20+ years of service and no life of my own
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COL Health Services Plans, Ops, Intelligence, Security,Training
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Chief, I think you might have missed the news but the Cold War is over and the end of young men and women retiring after 20 years appears to be in jeopardy. America has a history of disliking a standing Army (Active Component) during peacetime. This is primarily because the force can be misused by our government. But, we still need a military force to react to our defense and the defense of others throughout the world. But we can no longer afford paying retirement to young men and women as early as age 38 for more years than they serve in uniform. (You may have heard that we are out of money). We also can no longer have a 'full-time' and fully funded active force while depending on the RC and NG to fill gaps on a short notice without adequate manning, equipment and training. You also may not have noticed, but our current and future recruits are not the fit, slim and moral creatures of the 1980's, 1990's and early 2000's. They spend too much time in front of the computer screen, television and using their iPhone instead of maintain fitness standards necessary to survive in a combat zone. Worse, given our more liberal society, many have drug, alcohol and other records that previously eliminated them from military consideration. At the same time, we have an aging force that has fought 15 of the past 40 years. We will shrink naturally, due to age and this will place a higher demand on RC/NG to fill the gaps. Not everyone can serve as a member of the active component and it is unfortunate that too many in the AC have no experience and little regard for the challenges faced by RC/NG members. They cannot understand the cost to support separate AC and RC pension plans, support systems, personnel policies, etc. BTW, if you haven't completed 20 years, good luck achieving that goal. 17% of those who enter our force complete 20 years and retire, most are Commissioned Officers. If you are a member of the 83% who leave before retirement, you may come too understand all too well why a change is needed. Good luck
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MAJ Contracting Officer
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I really think we need to merge AC and RC by aligning ARFORGEN cycles by war trace. Essentially you change the RC ARFORGEN to 6 years. Compo 1 units highly deployable all AC. Compo II units would be a mixture of AC and RC units two RC units for one. As the BCT is in a 3 year ARFORGEN the RC units would be offset by 3 years matching the war trace ARFORGEN. There would be a natural sister unit to pool equipment and personnel from. At a significant reduced cost than Compo 1 units. As the Army downsized or grew the easy method of activating RC units or flags would be quick and streamlined. You could further reduce costs by sharing the ECS equipment between the two sister units, unit Arforgen 1 would have a small stock ARFORGEN 4 would have the ECS equipment. Trade roles after year 6. At the HQ levels in Compo 2 units add TPU UIC's to the AC units take the manpower from USARC and HQ elements so that each AC commander has a reserve liaison or deputy with command authority of the reserve portion. This would merge the two compos into one force providing insight and experience to both branches. The matchup also would facilitate COL (Join to see) 's proposal to reduce the red tape of transfers, provide a natural avenue for individual development, an AC member could take two years in the reserves to finish their schooling on their choice.
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COL Health Services Plans, Ops, Intelligence, Security,Training
COL (Join to see)
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SSG Richard Reavis - Yes, you understood the recommendation. Instead of an 'Active Component' of full-time, up-or-out, requiring involuntary separation pay when a Reduction in Force happens, AC would be eliminated and replaced with RC/NG members performing active duty. Currently, RC/NG members serve as 'surge' or back-fill and must 'apply' to perform active duty or remain on active duty. As long as their skills are required, they remain on active duty. However, the Active Component has a habit of sending these skilled resources to the billets, no one in the Active Component wants to fill, to back-fill individuals as they attend Professional Development or Graduate school or any number of reasons making the Active Component resources unavailable. But, the AC also conveniently transfers the RC/NG member from active duty prior to reaching 18 years of active federal service (AFS) and 'sanctuary status' becoming eligible for the 'coveted' AC 20-year retirement.

So, my recommendation eliminates the AC, the 20 year retirement, the dual standards, and the ability to treat RC/NG as second class members. We become 'one force' for one fight under one set of policies (NG would still have State policies in addition to RC), one retirement system, one promotion system, one Professional Development system and a method of transferring qualified individuals from the RC/NG to active duty for periods of one (1) day to three (3) years, for as long as the skills are needed. If the member has to attend college or Professional Development, they transition back to RC/NG status and perform the duty on Active Duty for Training Status and are unavailable for duty. If their skills are no longer required, they return to RC/NG status without the requirement of separation boards or the benefit of involuntary separation pay.

Finally, as current RC pension plan provides a reduction in age 60 retirement for every 90 days of active duty in a fiscal year (I would recommend eliminating the fiscal year restriction), and no earlier than age 50, then those completing at least 10 years on active duty would retire no earlier than age 50. This would end the tendency for 38 year olds to bail after 20 years, at a point in their career when they are the most skilled.

The only group against this would be the entrenched Active Component members, accustomed to a separate set of standards, a single employer (the military) and a retirement cliff at 20 years, when they perform their single transition back into society (with all the associated challenges RC/NG face every single time we complete Annual Training, ADT, or Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS)).
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LTC(P) Brigade Executive Officer
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The National Guard and reserves both provide a huge cost savings to the government. The argument that they take longer to train and mobilize for a crisis is not entirely true. The National Guard and reserves are subject to hey very strict and directed training plan from 1st army. Does not take into account the commanders assessment of his unit at all. I am getting ready to deploy and half of our team attended an intensive for week language training prior to our deployment. First army still requires us to take language training at the mobilization site. That is example of how inflexible they are.
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SGT Infantryman
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We ran into that ourselves. Accomplished ALL of the required training prior to mob site because it was supposed to be factored in and would have allowed much more time for legitimate training and re-working of SOP's and just general team building. They didn't accept any of our documentation and we wasted the entire time doing b.s. check the box crap instead of becoming more proficient as a unit and honing our skills.
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COL Health Services Plans, Ops, Intelligence, Security,Training
COL (Join to see)
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During ODS, the 48th Armored Brigade (NG) was mobilized and sent to NTC for certification. However, this caused a 'catch-22' for the NTC commander. If the brigade was certified and deployed in support of Desert Storm and did well, then there would be further pressure to transfer more combat capability to the NG. If the brigade was certified and deployed but did poorly, it would reflect badly on NTC and force the Army to re-think the policy of combat resources in NG. The individual stuck in this position was the son of Creighton Abrams, the Army Chief of Staff who established the policy to transfer combat forces to the NG.

So, the brigade as never certified and remained at NTC until the conflict was over; never forcing a discussion on the correctness of the Abram's Doctrine. AC habitually views the RC/NG as a threat to the benefits, career stability ad policies they enjoy. It is one of the reasons AC/RC integration doesn't go well.
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LTC(P) Brigade Executive Officer
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One of the guys I work with sir was a PL in that brigade. He's here at Benning with me as a T10 AGR guy
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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GySgt Wayne A. Ekblad These observations are based on my own perceptions and are not back by all the data that would be necessary to make the appropriate realignments or changes. There are a lot of experts on RP that can address this much better than I can.

I believe there can be some work done to redefine some of the roles for the Reserves, National Guard, and Active Duty components. I believe we are pretty close to the right force alignment with healthcare and logistics. We may need to realign the human resources, finance, and civil affairs units, so there are more on active duty. It seemed that every time you turned around those unit were deploying on a regular basis.

I think it’s important to remember when they do realign all three, how important the role of the Reserves and National Guard in these last 15 years of war has been.

Again this is just my observation. First, I believe that the National Guard BCTs have given the Active Duty BCTs and other units a longer break in between deployments (some will argue for and against that statement). Secondly, it has increased the communities’ involvement (Reserve and National Guard). Under the all-volunteer Army when America goes to war, so does the community. It has provided a more favorable acceptance by the American public versus the past opinions under the mandatory draft during the Vietnam conflict. Third, it brings a level of expertise and innovation in certain career fields (Logistics, computers, IT Technology, medical, civil affairs, executives, and business savvy men and women) to battlefield. I can tell you that during my deployment the reservist that I brought over were able to create and develop more programs that made a huge impact on the mission from a logistics, transportation, and other critical areas of the combat support mission. There will always be pros and cons on both sides of this equation! I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts.
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COL Health Services Plans, Ops, Intelligence, Security,Training
COL (Join to see)
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The missing point about RC/NG activation is the resulting spike in unemployment. Many employers are tired of our enduring conflicts and have found legal methods of minimizing risks to their business by reducing the number of military members employed. One organization that continues to be sued for this activity is the federal government (VA, OPM, Postal Service and surprisingly, DoD). I'll stick my position that everyone should be RC or NG and active duty is a tour of duty. Just as we do today, RC/NG members apply for AC tours of between 2 weeks and 3 years. At the end of every tour, if the member wishes to remain on AC, they re-apply and if their skills are required, they stay. If not, they transfer back to RC/NG. Current policy would apply, reducing age 60 retirement by every 90 day period in a fiscal year (although I'd like the fiscal year limitation to be eliminated). So, youngest retiree would be age 50 and every pension would be based on the current RC point system. One force, one fight.
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