Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chief Panel Tackles Present and Future of the Reserve

The Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Arnold Punaro, kicked off a panel discussion with the chiefs of the Reserve Components on Tuesday. During the discussion, Punaro noted Reserve contributions and emphasized the need to “think smarter, not richer” as the Reserve Components move into the future.  The discussion was part of the ROA 2012 National Security Symposium, in progress at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park through Wednesday.

The chiefs provided their perspectives on issues surrounding their individual components, with many comments focused on a lean budget outlook and leveraging the benefits of the Reserve Components.

LTG Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command, noted the benefits of a “plug and play” strategy moving forward. He also emphasized the need to adapt equipment and personnel to put the strengths of the Army Reserve where they are most beneficial. He also noted a need for a “soldier for life” mentality.

Lt Gen Charles Stenner, Air Force Reserve chief and commander of U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, noted the Air Force’s flexibility in being ready to go anywhere at anytime, within 72 hours.

“First and foremost, I firmly believe we have been—and will continue to be—a strategic reserve,” he said. “I also believe that we leverage that strategic reserve on a daily basis to provide that operational force.”

But he noted that although the Air Force Reserve should be used as it’s needed, he emphasized the need to “honor the dwell” and realize that members of the Reserve have not only their military commitments, but they also have their civilian job and family responsibilities.

VADM Dirk Debbink, chief, Navy Reserve Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve Force, focused on optimizing the capability of the force and how to help decision makers get the force to where it should be.

Their comments kicked off a question and answer discussion that included opinions about cuts to the force, funding, training, and other issues important to the Total Force future.

The panel also included participation from Air National Guard director Lt Gen Harry Wyatt, Marine Forces Reserve commander LtGen Steven Hummer, Coast Guard director of Reserve and Leadership RDML David Callahan and MG Timothy Kadavy, deputy director of the Army National Guard.

The discussion headlined the Tuesday morning session of the three-day symposium, organized to bring attendees to the heart of the debate on national security and the role of the Reserve Component today and tomorrow.

Symposium activities will wrap up Feb. 1 with presentations from GEN Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.).

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