Army Reserve Chief Looks to Leaders to Solve Sequestration
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 The Army Reserve remains an efficient and value-added component of U.S. national security, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, chief of the Army Reserve, told members of the Defense Writer’s Group here today.
Talley also said he’s looking to senior Pentagon leaders, Capitol Hill legislators and the White House to solve issues related to potential sequestration.
The commander of U.S. Army Reserve Command explained why he isn’t planning for sequestration.
“I’m not … worrying about sequestration … because [Defense] Secretary [Leon E.] Panetta has told the departments ‘Do not plan for it,’” Talley said. “And the secretary of the Army, John McHugh, has said ‘Don’t plan for it.’”
“So we’re not spending any time in the Army planning for sequestration,” he said. “I’m certainly not spending any time in the Army Reserve [planning for sequestration], and we’ve been in a continuing resolution for a number of years now.”
Sequestration is a mechanism built into last year’s Budget Control Act that would trigger across-the-board cuts in federal spending -- including an additional $500 billion cut in defense -- if Congress cannot agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit.
Talley said regardless of what happens regarding sequestration or the continuing resolution, he has confidence in President Barack Obama as the commander-in-chief, and in the elected leaders of Congress.
“I know they’ll step up and provide the leadership we need to solve those problems,” he said.
The reserve is well situated both financially and in end strength, he said, with the force’s operational tempo expected to stay consistent.
“We don’t see any big changes coming for the Army Reserve other than we’re a value added,” Talley said. “And we’re being utilized, and we expect that to continue in the future.”
The Army Reserve “is probably going to go down about 1,000 [troops] -- we’re officially at 206,000 in terms of authorization for end strength,” Talley said. “We’ve been told to plan to go to 205,000 -- we’re already at that. So we don’t see a big decrease in our end strength. Our operating budget is $8 billion a year. We’re six percent of the Army’s budget -- we provide almost 20 percent of the force.”
Talley said the Army Reserve is “pretty efficient,” not to imply that other parts of the Army are not.
“But what I would say is the Army Reserve, if we’re anything, we are very efficient -- a great investment for the dollar,” he said. “Again, just do the math, six percent of the budget for 20 percent of the force.”
“The Army Reserve is a complementary force … [we’re] enablers,” Talley explained. “We represent most of the combat service support and combat support to the active component.”
The general also said people may assume that because of reductions to other Army components, it would be best to also reduce the reserve.
“My only response is -- I’m a business person, I came from the private sector to come into this position -- that doesn’t make any business sense to me,” Talley said.
“If you reduce the size of the Army Reserve, you don’t really save any money, because we’re already, as I mentioned before, pretty efficient,” he said.
The reserve chief said recent history has proved the value of his component.
“As we have to come down, perhaps, in our active-component strength,” Talley said, “one of the ways that you mitigate that risk in national security architecture is by investing more in the reserve component -- not less.”
Talley said he will leave the budget discussions and decision-making to senior leadership at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
“But so far, from my foxhole, we’re actually sitting pretty well of the three components,” he said.