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.).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Undersecretary Flournoy Touts New Defense Strategy at ROA Symposium

WASHINGTON—In what was likely her last public speech before stepping down as under secretary of defense for policy, Michèle Flournoy on Monday emphasized current budget challenges, future threats, and the principles behind the new defense strategy President Barack Obama unveiled at the Pentagon on Jan. 5. Her remarks came at the 2012 ROA National Security Symposium, in progress at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park through Feb. 1. 

“In the years since [Sept. 11, 2001], we’ve passed one signpost after another marking the arrival of an even more complex strategic era,” she said, and noted the fast pace of China’s economic growth and military modernization, asymmetric warfare challenges and “the arrival of cyberspace as a domain of potential conflict—one that forces us to revisit longstanding ideas of deterrence and culpability.”

Eschewing those at home and abroad who claim an erosion of U.S. global leadership and have said the United States is in decline, she noted challenges but said they were “no greater, frankly, than those previous generations of Americans have faced, including Harry Truman and his advisers early on in the Cold War.”

She highlighted the recently released defense strategy Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership [Principles] for 21st Century [Defense].

“The emphasis throughout the review—from President Obama to Secretary Panetta on down—has been that the size, structure, and capabilities of our military must be driven by strategy, not the other way around,” Ms. Flournoy said. “To protect our country and maintain U.S. leadership, we need to set smart, sensible priorities for the future.”

She said four principles guided the report and the recently released budget: Maintain the U.S. global leadership role; avoid hollowing the force; balance savings and ensure “that the U.S. can still conduct combat operations and deal effectively with aggression in more than one theater at a time.”

She said it wasn’t a question of whether the U.S. military can confront more than one adversary, but was a question of how.

“We are retaining full capability to confront more than one aggressor anywhere in the world, even if we are engaged in large-scale operations,” Ms. Flournoy said, and the U.S. would “be able to quickly deny the objectives of an opportunistic adversary.”

For the Reserve Component, she noted the current expansion of missions and responsibilities, including the provisions in 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that allow service secretaries, outside of war, to call up as many as 60,000 reservists into active duty for up to a year for pre-planned missions. She also mentioned provisions under which governors can request that DoD activate reservists for disasters or emergencies.

Ms. Flournoy said the Reserve Components were an essential part of the future force.

“These provisions reflect an awareness on the part of leaders in the administration or on [Capitol] Hill of just how important the Reserve can be to our security across the range of potential situations,” she said.

Ms. Flournoy, one of the highest-ranking civilians ever at DoD, announced in December 2011 that she would step down from her post to spend more time with her family. In 2008 she served as a defense policy adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during then-Sen. Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. In announcing her plans to step down in December, The New York Times stated that Ms. Flournoy would work “informally” for President Obama’s re-election bid.

CIA Director Petraeus Kicks Off 2012 ROA National Security Symposium

David Petraeus, retired commanding general and current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, noted the skill and valor of those answering the country’s call and emphasized the role and relevance of the Reserve Component when he spoke at the ROA 2012 National Security Symposium held in Washington, DC, on Jan. 30.
 
“Our Reserve Components have played an absolutely essential role, of course, in Iraq, and continue to do so in Afghanistan, and, in fact in many other locations in my old areas of responsibility,” Mr. Petraeus said. “Indeed, in those countries, without our citizen-soldiers, our armed forces simply could not fully carry out America’s global commitments to keep our nation secure.”
 
Having served six straight general officer commands—five in combat—GEN Petraeus retired in July 2011 as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and as commander of U.S. Forces—Afghanistan to become CIA director. He previously served as the 10th commander of U.S. Central Command and commanding general of Multi-National Force—Iraq during the surge.
 
Through this experience, he noted the repeated application of warrior and civilian skills that Reserve Component members bring to the fight. 
 
“That combination has, of course, been particularly effective and particularly important in the complex environments we’ve been facing in the past decade,” Mr. Petraeus said. “As all here know, in addition to traditional demands of the battlefield, Iraq and Afghanistan often required our troops to be more than just warriors—to be diplomats, builders, trainers, advisers, service providers, economic developers and mediators.”
 
These contributions, in particular, included individual innovations from Reserve Component members that protect troops from improvised explosive devices as well as training and equipping the Iraqi army and security forces—a process he described as particularly daunting.
 
“[It was] one that we occasionally describe as attempting to build the world’s largest aircraft while in flight, while it’s being designed, and while it’s being shot at,” he said.
 
He recognized the more than 385,000 members of the Reserve Component who have mobilized in support of every U.S. military operation since 1990 and those serving today in more than 70 countries, who are “demonstrating that our citizen-soldiers are not only a strategic reserve, but a key component of our operational forces.”
 
Mr. Petraeus kicked off three days of sessions that bring attendees to the heart of the national security debate and discuss the future of the Reserve Component. Additional speakers and presentations at the 2012 symposium include Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy (Jan. 30), and a panel including the Reserve Chiefs and their perspectives on the total force (Jan. 31).
 
The symposium 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.).