As the Army has been handed its largest manpower cuts since the end of the first Persian Gulf War and its acquisition accounts are being squeezed dry trying to find room for programs like Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles in its base budget, the atmosphere among the active, Guard and Reserve components is – surprisingly — “we’re all in this together.”
This is a far cry from the last time the Army faced such challenges, say the two men who directed the Army National Guard and served as chief of the Army Reserve following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“It’s very interesting that (Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve) and the chief of staff of the Army are saying the same thing about the need to work together; that portends very well,” Thomas Plewes, the first three-star chief of the Army Reserve, said. The 80,000-soldier cut over the next five years will leave the active component with 490,000. The Army National Guard will stand at 365,000 soldiers and the Army Reserve at 205,000 soldiers, after sustaining minor cuts.
“The Army is designed to be an integrated force,” Roger Schultz, who became the first three-star director of the Army National Guard, said in an exchange of emails. “Only by radically altering the force design can active component units accomplish the range of tasks required for sustained operations without reserve component assistance.”
One of the things driving this, he said, is that “given the level of integration that is now in place, the National Military Strategy requires more reserve component participation, not less.” This marks a major change from the 1990s, let alone after Sept. 11.
“This is a different way of fighting wars,” Plewes said. “The reserve components have to be ready from Day One. They have shown they could be called up and do well.”