Army Secretary Calls For Tighter Integration of Active, Guard, Reserve Forces
“Under this directive, we will man, train [and] equip active and reserve components in an integrative and operational force,” McHugh said at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting & Exposition, in Washington, D.C.
“The purpose of it all is to provide predictable, recurring and sustainable capabilities,” he said in a keynote speech. The Army expects to reduce its active duty force by about 80,000 over the next five years, as the war in Afghanistan winds down. That would leave the service with a force of 490,000 active duty soldiers.
The directive will look at the force structure, establish uniform processes for deployment, look at procurement programs for a total force and examine professional development, McHugh said.
“We’ve been an operational force for over a decade now, and this effort will ensure that we will incorporate the lessons learned in the last 11 years and make certain that everyone, everyone, is trained and ready regardless of the mission,” McHugh said.
The Army Reserve is essential to the national security of the United States, McHugh said.
“Since America was first attacked in 2001 one of the most important things we learned is how critical an operational reserve is to our ability to do mission requirements,” McHugh said.
It is “paramount” to keep the reserve well trained in order to keep the nation secure, McHugh said.
As the Army faces potential budget cuts from sequestration, McHugh said he is worried about the possible impact.
“What keeps me up at night is our nation’s economy and how it already has and will continue to impact our budget,” he said.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who spoke to reporters alongside McHugh, said the service will adapt to the fiscal situation. “If we get additional cuts it will probably affect all of the components [active and reserve]. But we don’t know that, because we don’t know how deep the cuts are,” he said. “We’ll have to work that as we go. We always want to maintain a balance between readiness, modernization and end strength force structure.”
Odierno echoed McHugh's message that integration of active and reserve forces is critical to the future of the Army. “We need both. It is not one or the other, we need the right combination of both the active and the reserve components as we go forward,” he said.
Photo Credit: Yasmin Tadjdeh