Reserve Affairs Chief Explains New Directive to Guard Leaders
By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service
LANSDOWNE, Va., Nov. 20, 2008 Recent changes in how the military’s reserve components are recognized are larger than any in recent history, a senior Defense Department official said here yesterday.
Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, speaks about the transition of reserve-component forces from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve at the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference in Lansdowne, Va., Nov. 19, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, told the Air National Guard’s top officers and command chief master sergeants at their annual senior leadership meeting that a recent Defense Department directive recognizes the reserve components as operational reserves.
“It’s an extremely important document,” he said, explaining that the directive defines what an operational reserve is for future administrations, including how to fund, man and equip forces and how to support families and employers.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed DoD Directive 1200.17, "Managing the Reserve Components as an Operational Force," Oct. 29.
The new document states that the reserve components “provide operational capabilities and strategic depth to meet U.S. defense requirements across the full spectrum of conflict,” and that the active and reserve components “are integrated as a total force based on the attributes of the particular component and individual competencies.”
The directive also states that the service secretaries must ensure that their reserve components “participate across the full spectrum of missions at home and abroad in providing operational capabilities according to the national defense strategy, their service force management plans, and operational requirements.”
They are further instructed to integrate the active and reserve components and execute resources to support a “train-mobilize-deploy construct.”
In short, the directive outlines nine official policies that recognize the National Guard and the service’s reserve forces and their state and federal missions as part of an integrated and operational total force.
Other policies set forth rules governing the use of the reserve components and address how Guard and reserve families are cared for.
Army Col. Doug Currel, chief of strategic plans and policy for the Army National Guard, said the directive shows how much DoD relies on the Guard and reserve.
“It’s also a recognition of the quality that the Guard has provided to the Army and the Air Force,” he said.
Hall called changes to family support for the reserve components one of the most important aspects of the directive, citing as examples the Yellow Ribbon and Center for Excellence programs, which provide deployment and reintegration support for reserve-component servicemembers and their families. “That kind of support needs to continue for the families,” he said.
(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)