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American Forces Press Service

Personnel Chiefs Push For Incentives, Integration for Reserve Forces

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2007 – The reserve components are vital to the military and its ability to fight the war on terror, so it’s essential that they’re properly managed and compensated, the service personnel chiefs told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves yesterday.

The chiefs shared insights into better ways to integrate Guard and reserve members into the total force and to ensure the reserve components get the resources and manpower they need.

“The current environment, and I predict, the future, requires the seamless integration of the active and reserve military, civilian employees and support contractors into a cohesive and rapidly tailorable force,” Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, said in his prepared statement.

He noted that almost 382,000 reserve-component soldiers have mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001, to fight the terror war, and that more will be called as the war progresses.

“Never before in the history of the United States have members of the Air Force reserve components played such a pivotal role in the defense of our homeland and our national security objectives around the globe,” agreed Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel.

More than 10,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members are currently on duty at home or abroad, he reported.

Just as the military depends on these troops to carry out its mission, the services’ personnel chiefs agreed that it needs to ensure that they and their families receive the compensation and support they deserve.

That’s particularly important for the Army and Marine Corps as they increase the size of their forces, but no less critical for their sister services as they reshape for the future, they said.

Rear Adm. Edward Masso, commander of Navy Personnel Command, said that as the Navy continues reducing the size of its force, it needs to do so in the smartest way possible.

“We need to apply both small adjustments and major course corrections in order to shape our force into a smaller, more effective and cost-efficient total force,” he said in his prepared remarks.

These changes will have far-reaching implications for the force, he told the commission. “What we do today – the decisions we make – will dictate our situation tomorrow and determine what we are capable of in the future,” the admiral said.

Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, called individual Marines the most effective weapon in the Corps’ arsenal. “Accordingly, our manpower and personnel plans must support the accession and retention of this vital resource,” he said.

Ultimately, the long-term success of the reserve components depends on managing them in a way that meets troops’ and their families’ expectations and needs, as well as operational requirements, he said.

The personnel chiefs’ testimony reflected comments offered the previous day by Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

During his June 20 appearance before the commission, Dominguez urged more flexibility for reserve-component members that enables them to better balance their military and civilian obligations and encourages them to serve.

Dominguez joined the service chiefs in endorsing a “continuum of service” that enables military members to shift between the active and reserve components, more full-time support for Guard and reserve units, expanded opportunities for joint training and qualifications and a more competitive compensation package.

The independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves was established under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 to recommend any needed changes in law and policy to ensure that the Guard and Reserves are organized, trained, equipped, compensated and supported to meet U.S. national security requirements.

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