Three senior Army officers briefed the Pentagon press corps yesterday on the Army’s plans for changes in the structure of its force, in particular, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. They were Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the chief of staff of the Army; Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, Director, Army National Guard; and Lt. Gen. James Helmly, Chief, U.S. Army Reserve. Following are highlights of their remarks.
- The Army will continue to build in a way that meets the requirements and challenges of the 21st century.
- The mission is simple: Support the nation’s global operations, prevail in the global war on terrorism, and conduct expanded state and homeland security missions.
- The Guard and Reserve are no longer a strategic reserve with months to prepare their soldiers and their equipment for deployment.
- Today’s Guard and Reserve are the nation’s operational force and reserve.
- They are ready on short notice to deploy for war or to react immediately to domestic situations and missions.
- The Army is committed to growing and balancing capabilities within and across the active, Guard and Reserve components.
- There is no intention of reducing the number of Guard and Reserve soldiers, brigades or funding.
- The Guard will remain at 106 total brigades (28 Brigade Combat Teams and 78 support brigades of varying types).
- Currently the Guard has 34 combat brigades, but because of under-resourcing in the 1990s, only 15 of these are what is called “enhanced,” meaning they have more of their equipment and are manned and trained at a higher level than the other brigades.
- The Army is building up from these 15 enhanced brigades to 28 fully manned, resourced, trained and equipped brigade combat teams, like the active force. The new force structure plan is not reducing the number of brigades – it’s building wholeness up to 28 rather than the 15.
- The new force structure plan will enable more than $21 billion to be invested in National Guard equipment over the next six years.
Link to the secretary’s statement as prepared.
- The Army’s changes to its force structure will:
- Balance the entire Army, across all components, to match the requirements of the 21st century.
- Put active, Guard and Reserve units on a predictable rotational path, which gives the soldiers, their families and their employers better predictability.
- Make the best use of a modular force: The active, Guard and Reserve will be able to be interchanged seamlessly.
- Give the American people more for their tax dollar and greater security.