Posted on Jul 3, 2015
CPT Brigade Personnel Officer (S1)
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USAR & NG commanders and 1SG/CSMs should be given the option to be on ADOS during their tenure

After two company commands, my biggest recommendation to the brass is to turn ALL compo 2 and 3 command teams (CPTs & 1SG, LTC&CSM, COL & CSM, etc) into ADOS/active duty tours if those Soldiers desire it. IMO, this single action will improve readiness metrics and morale of commands throughout the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, while making those positions a lot more competitive in order to attract the right level of talent.

An active duty officer typically goes through a mentorship queue that looks like this before taking command: Platoon Leader, Company XO, Company Command. Additionally, before taking command, that officer typically goes through his/her branch CCC. Command tenures are usually 24 months in length.

On the reserve side, there is no guarantee that this learning process in assignment occurs for commanders. In addition, although the tenure is still 2-2.5 years in length in total, the actual time in command duty is only about 1/5 of that officer's active duty counterpart. Count 24 days a year for battle assembly over 2 years for 48 days, then 2x 21 day Annual Training/ECT for 42 more days, for a total of 90 duty days. Compare this to an active duty captain who has, counting a conservative estimate of 300 duty days a year, 600 days of command-- a paltry 15%

Moreover, Reserve commands are typically spread over a large geographical location, in multiple states and duty locations, separated from higher headquarters. In contrast, AD companies are almost always colocated with their battalions at the same fort. In addition, active duty commanders have a lot more tools in their toolbag to influence the behavior of their troops -- nonjudicial punishment hits a lot closer to home when it accounts for all and not 1/15th of an expected monthly income or time.

Aggregate all of this and you have Reserve components with less incentive, less training, and more difficult commands. All Reserve component commands being automatically given the option for ADOS/active duty would go a long ways towards equalizing this difference while also incentivizing the position to encourage competition for those command teams.
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Edited 6 y ago
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Responses: 35
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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CPT (Join to see) I have had two Company Commands (6 years), one Battalion Command (4 years), and two Brigade Commands (7 years) and over that time period my duties included extra weekends and a lot of extra work at home in the evenings and on weekends when there was no duty scheduled. When no one was looking and I raised a family during that timeframe. We know (or at least I did) that when we take command positions there would be a lot of extra personal sacrifice and time dedicated to those duties. It's like having a second fulltime job. I did it and I gave that time without pay because I loved what I was doing, because I cared about my commands and my soldiers, not because I wanted to make money. Those ADOS dollars are usually allocated throughout the command and I wanted to make sure at the Battalion Level and Brigade Level my Commanders below me were using them for the right reasons. I can't tell you how many times I got on Commanders for using all of their allocations for themselves and not for mission essential objectives. I never had a problem in taking them away if they weren't being used or if they were abused. I agree it is a little tougher today then it was in the 80's and 90's to get school allocations and to be competitive, but it can be done. You have to go after it and you need to access your civilian career to make sure you can get the support necessary to go after it. This is just an opinion for the group. There have been some really good comments and discussions around this issue. This is just another perspective.
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COL Charles Williams
COL Charles Williams
6 y
COL Mikel J. Burroughs One of my good friends from one of my deployments... is a NY ARNG Colonel... traditional guardsmen, business owner, commanded several battalions, a Brigade, a Group, and will likely be the TAG one of these days. He made it work, and his unit in Iraq, the problematic people for him, were his AGR Soldiers... I am no expert, but I agree if this is your chosen path, you figure it out.
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
6 y
COL Charles Williams Roger that! We all had problems with some AGR personnel, but I usually figured out a way to make them productive and get them on my team as well. I was fortunate to have some really sharp AGR personnel that really cared!
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1LT William Clardy
1LT William Clardy
6 y
COL Mikel J. Burroughs, in retrospect, I have always been thankful that the AGR cadre at Camp Roberts were top-notch folks, when I was assigned there as a brand-new lieutenant, especially the post commander (who was disappointed when I didn't choose Ordinance as my branch, but never slacked on his mentorship) and the (ahem) colorful chief wobbly down in the Motor Pool who graciously endured my tenure as Post Motor Officer (among many other hats worn at the same time -- we were *very* thinly staffed, and I was slotted in an O-4 position).
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MAJ Multifunctional Logistician
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I was fortunate to Command under COL Burroughs! You were a great mentor and a leader; the care and dedication for your troops did not go unnoticed. Thank you for your service sir!
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CPT Civil Affairs Officer
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CPT Yifei Zhang,
You make a good argument on the issue. But I don't think that turning the command team into ADOS will resolve or improve the readiness metrics. I failed to see how having two individuals on ADOS will resolve the fact that PVT Joe doesn't have CAC access or the time to make an appointment with his dentist, or take the time to PT on his own time. I believe the course action that is in place now to pay the Soldiers that take the time to complete those requirements on their own time is better than having the command team on ADOS.
The other issue I see is that the leadership from the squad leader/team SGT, and CDR have to get out of the mentality that their duties and responsibilities to the Soldier starts and ends when battle assembly/drill start or ends.
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1LT Coach
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6 y
Not to mention the problems that will do to that Commander/1SGs work life balance. If I am going to school am I supposed to stop for 2 years? If I hold a professional degree can I take a hiatus from work? This would be hard for a lot of us. My opinion is that either the Commander or CSM/1SG should be AGR in larger units. We certainly have enough AGR slots for that.
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COL Charles Williams
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CPT (Join to see) That sounds good, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of the guard and reserve? It seems to me, as an outsider, the command teams should be living the same life as their units?
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MAJ Advisor
MAJ (Join to see)
6 y
COL Charles Williams - Thank you, sir. My statement was intended to be absurd. :-)

The RC is required to train and maintain to the same level of proficiency as the AC. That is near to impossible to achieve within the space of 30-odd days dispersed throughout the year without some degree of full-time support manning. Based on my personal experiences, having at least ONE member of the command team on orders for the duration of their tour will level the playing field and provide a significant increase in unit proficiency.
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COL Charles Williams
COL Charles Williams
6 y
MAJ (Join to see) - Ah so... I have a hard time picking up on kidding sometimes, in person and especially in the virtual world.

I agree, based on what I have seen, that the RC needs active duty continuity. I am just not sure the Command Teams on active duty and the rest of the unit in a traditional status is the answer. Especially with my branch, I would often joke (when deployed) about the how the one weekend a month, and 2 weeks a year, was working out; as in mid during mid OIF the Guard and Reserves had OPTEMPO as high or higher than the active duty MP units.

My issue with AGR is personal. I have been at several high level HQ and there are more AGR Colonels and SGMs around than you can imagine; all consultants... In TRADOC, for example, there are representatives for each branch, and component, at each school, and the HQ... At Fort Leonard Wood, for example, there are 4-6 at each school (3 schools), and about 4-6 at the Center Level... all there as consultants... But, the Reserve Division there and Guard Brigade there both have part time Commanders....

On a more personal level... As a Battalion Commander, my best unit was a MO ARNG Engineer Company (ILO unit), and the commander and 1SG were traditional guardsmen. They were good, because the Commander and 1SG were awesome, as was their command climate. They were on it, and it was not even a combat engineer mission.

Finally, in OIF 06-08, our Brigade had about 8000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines... and most of the Soldiers were Guard and Reserve. Our Brigade HQ (HHC) and one MP Company were active duty. The MP Battalion HHDs were all Guard and Reserve. The worst commanders, the worst, (which I did several 15-6s on) were AGR LTCs... They were "know it alls," not good, dangerous, toxic, and/or disinterested.. and the list goes on... The traditional Commanders, CSMs, XOs, S3s were far better. Not a good random sample, but my experience nonetheless.

I think the challenge is to figure out a better solution. But, to me, active duty leadership would create a divide between to the command teams and their units... In my view. CPT (Join to see)
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1LT William Clardy
1LT William Clardy
6 y
COL Charles Williams, my work has been at USARC for the last few years (technically, I've been working as far from USARC HQ as they'll let me -- currently a little more than 800 miles away), and I will just say that I've found the overall quality of the full-time reservists there just a tad underwhelming, with a short list of folks who are true standouts (in the good way) and a longer list of fence turtles.
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1SG(P) 1st Sergeant
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It is a challenge, no doubt, to be a 1SG or CMDR, in the NG or USAR. Yes, it would be amazing to be paid at my rank and years, versus my civilian employment. Yes my commander and I work countless "unpaid" or even recognized hours to insure or command team is effective. We do this not only for our mission accomplishment, but for the success of our soldiers. It was our choice, we chose the guard, we sought the leasership positions, we knew the sacrafice.
I am fortunate, as a young NCO, I had good examples, mentors, and peers. I also spent 8 active years teaching PLDC, BNCOC, and ANCOC. I'm also fortunate that my current commander taught the Captain's Career Course at FT Benning. We think very much on one page, and have an incredible command team.
We have trained some of the best young LTs in the state, and I will put the NCOs in my company up against any; but none of these things happened in a 2 or 3 day IDT period. There's no time. Neither did they magically come together during a two week AT, again no time, too many constraints on what MUST be done. Therefore, we as leaders sacrifice, and make time outside of drill, to meet, call, counsel, train, and teach.
The citizen soldier concept doesn't just require employers to let people have time to serve, it requires the citizen soldier to sacrifice time to train and develop, even when there is no pay or incentive.
There is so much discourse among the different elements within the Service, everyone complains about the RC, until they need them, and then fail to acknowledge the benefit they bring to the table. Typically more disciplined, with fewer problems, and proficient in more than just the MOS the Army gave them. Not to mention our OpTempo, Jesus, when our element went in support of OIF III, we had an AD element attached, they had no clue about OpTempo until you do a months worth of assigned shit in 4 days.
I put this to you, work your active component soldier about 8 days (my average "off duty" monthly, on a good month, with no major soldier issues) for NOTHING. No pay, or benefit of any kind, and MINIMAL resources (no post clinics, full-time Chaplin's, readily available SARC or other outlet counselors, finance, etc....) Don't even say thank you or acknowledge the effort. See how dedicated to that all mighty active duty attitude they are.
Sorry I got a little sideways on the rant there. But these are the things to consider, you want leaders with the aptitude and strength to lead, not the young buck who's fast taking his career for the pay, off that's all that matters to them, sign them up for active duty, they can have better pay instantly, but if you have leaders who understand sacrifice for the benefit of others you'll have better, more empathetic leaders. They still may be hard assess, but they understand the demands placed obj there Joe's
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