National Guard — November_2016
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Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy

I BELIEVE THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD is at an inflection point.

Our organization began protecting our way of life generations prior to our country formally being established as the United States of America. We’ve remained crucial to the defense of fellow citizens for nearly four centuries by constantly adapting to meet complex threats to our security.

The world is much different now than it was just 15 years ago, when we transformed from a strategic reserve to an operational force to meet the Army’s needs. We continue our transformation as part of the Total Army, and further changes are required in the way we train and operate.

At the strategic level, the Army Guard must make sure that we are aligned, structured and resourced so we can respond quickly to myriad threats in a constantly changing world. Today’s Army is focusing on large-scale decisive action against near-peer competitors, while continuing the type of counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations we’ve been focused on.

A force of 980,000 soldiers means more reliance by the Army on its two reserve components. The nation cannot go to war without us. And senior Army leaders recognize that the Army Guard is an indispensable part of that force.

Last year, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army chief of staff, asked us to examine whether 39 days of statutory training is enough. My answer was that for some units, it is not. In fact, many Army Guard units already train more than 39 days per year. But if the Army calls on us to fight a near-peer adversary in a large-scale conventional war that requires our armor, Stryker and early-entry enabler forces, we must mobilize quickly.

Therefore, we must increase readiness so our units will be better prepared and more responsive, and require less post-mobilization training time to get to the fight.

Increased readiness requires more combat-training-center ro-rotations, which will begin in fiscal 2018. We plan to send armored brigade combat teams and Stryker brigade combat teams exclusively to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. We will then sustain their higher level of proficiency over a multiyear period.

Readiness enhancements are not only for maneuver and combat- arms units. The Army mission to “set the theater” will rely heavily on reserve-component maneuver support and sustainment capabilities in the early stages of any conflict.

The Associated Units Pilot Program is also underway, which formalizes alignment, training and oversight relationships between certain reserve-component and active-component formations, of which 11 out of 14 are Army Guard units. The program includes maneuver-support and maneuver-sustainment units equitably, with the goal of increasing aggregate readiness without incurring increased cost.

Building forces that are ready for the warfight also strengthens our domestic-response capability. Building warfighting-capable units produces governor-responsive forces. We remain committed to our unique dual mission.

This is not new for us. However, we are making some adjustments based upon the size of our force, the level of resources, and the fact that our readiness fills combatant commanders’ needs by converting Army Guard capacity into Army capability.

We are still developing the way ahead. We are not doing this in a vacuum. We are nesting with the Army, and we are doing this with input from the states.

I recognize that predictability concerning additional training days and deployments is critical to maintaining resilient soldiers and families across the Army Guard, and to maintaining effective relationships with employers. We will strive to achieve that predictability.

I encourage soldiers to communicate with family members and employers that Army Guard units are still getting called for ongoing missions and that we still may be called for emerging missions. Without family and employer support, we face mission failure in the long term. We cannot succeed without them and we owe it to them to keep them informed.

We are doing this together, as part of the Total Army. I ask all citizen- soldiers to maintain the warrior spirit that helped us transform from a strategic reserve into an operational force.

We’ve been at this for 380 years, so let’s keep evolving to do what is required to protect the American way of life.

Citizen-soldiers—At the ready!
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