Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, the chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Schultz, the command sergeant major of the Army Reserve, brought Soldiers messages focusing on upcoming changes to the active and reserve Army structure during a two-day tour of the 7th Civil Support Command and the KMC Feb. 11 and 12.
Stultz, shrugging off jet lag and sub-freezing cold temperatures, also visited injured Soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and made an office call to Brig. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, the commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, and Brig. Gen. Mark S. Hendrix, the commanding general of the 7th CSC, at Panzer Kaserne before meeting with Soldiers at the chapel on Daenner Kaserne.
Stultz, who plans to retire in June, wasted no time telling Soldiers that current budget cuts, the election year, and troop reductions in Iraq and Afghanistan are now placing renewed challenges on both the active and reserve Army.
Stultz made it clear that the annual Army budget more than tripled in the last four years compared to 2002. He also said the active Army has grown by more than 90,000 Soldiers since 2002, and that future reductions are now unstoppable.
“We can’t keep it up,” Stultz said.
But Stultz also sees possibilities for both a cost-effective and combat-effective national force despite recent budget tightening.
Stultz said both President Barack Obama and Congress have asked him to increase the relevance of an operational reserve as part of the total Army force package for support functions like transportation, medical, military police, engineering and civil affairs.
This idea draws on experience gained by a generation of professional Soldiers honed by 10 years of deployments in foreign wars.
There are opportunities and positions for separating veteran active-duty Soldiers in the Army Reserve as part of the concept of “reversibility,” Stultz said.
Stultz said veteran Army Reserve Soldiers and units will be deployed predictably for periods of a year or less in support of the active Army in a variety of international humanitarian and military missions within the five-year activation model, called Army Force Generation.
Depending on individual needs, Army requirements and national defense planning, Soldiers will also be able to switch from Reserve service to active service and back again as part of a life-long “continuum of service,” Stultz said.
An Army Reserve Soldier only absorbs a quarter of the costs in training and pay of an active-duty Soldier and this economically allows the active Army to evolve into a more combat-oriented force by 2020 despite reducing expenditures, Stultz added.
The concept is so innovative that the defense ministries of many countries are now examining the Army´s Force Generation model as a basis for their defense planning, he said.
Foreign defense experts are also interested in how the Army develops its corps of noncommissioned officers, which makes the current Army so successful, Stultz said.
Soldiers will also see changes this year in the semiannual physical fitness test, weight standards and in professional development, said Schultz in his role as the senior enlisted Soldier of the Army Reserve.
Soldiers will also be expected to demonstrate more individual initiative for their career progression as part of a plan of “structured self-development,” he said.
Schultz also said that starting in October, Soldiers will be required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of individual course work in order to qualify for the leadership education schools necessary for enlisted promotion.
The changes will more aggressively identify and eliminate sub-standard Soldiers in a policy of “shaping the force,” Schultz said.
After Schultz’s presentation, Stultz fielded questions from the audience, such as the challenges of civilian job retention before, during and after deployment.
In the U.S., Army Reserve Soldiers can expect civilian job protection under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act. This type of protection does not generally apply to Soldiers living and working abroad on foreign employment contracts.
Stultz recommended that Army Reserve Soldiers, whether protected by law or not, take personal initiative and talk to their employers directly and openly about their Reserve obligations before any deployment.
Stultz and Schultz communicated their message also in separate town hall meetings with 7th CSC units at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kleber Kaserne and Wiesbaden Army Airfield Saturday before later boarding a flight to join other units of the 7th CSC in Italy.