The best ways to view the Army’s Force Generation model is to see it as "a process," "a verb, instead of a noun," "a rheostat" or even a gear box, senior Army officials from all components told attendees at an Institute of Land Warfare Contemporary Military Forum.
Speaking Monday Oct. 10 at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy commanding general of Forces Command, said, "It is a way of building readiness over time" and it is a model that can change.
Current Army plans would have active component soldiers be in a reset phase for six months following a deployment, 18 months in a train and ready phase where individual and unit combat skills are honed, and available for deployment for twelve months. In the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, the model calls for those soldiers to be in reset phase for 12 months, 36 months in the train and ready phase and 12 months available for deployment.
Army officials said they are pretty close to those model targets with the exception of aviation units, which are still spending a year deployed and year back home.
Before the model was adopted to meet the rotational needs of the Iraq war, the "reserve component wasn’t in a cyclical rotation," meaning certain units were being repeatedly mobilized while others were not being called up.
"You can compress the cycle or expand the cycle. There is nothing about 36 months" for the active duty cycle. "You can change the force structure and use the model." It provides predictability, Bromberg said.
Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, said predictability was important and the model also allows the reserve components to remain operational rather than reverting to strategic status. He added that many skills – medical, military intelligence, civil affairs, engineers – are largely concentrated in the reserve components.
Bromberg said that in the future challenges will exist in keeping the train and ready period relevant, particularly with pent-up demand from combatant commanders for resources and missions outside of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Karl Schneider, principal assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, said the gear box analogy was apt in answering three questions: Do we have enough people, do our people have enough, and do I have enough to do one of two?
There has to be synchronization between manpower, organization and demand, he said, otherwise, the gears do not mesh. "What are the manning issues, the policies" that block synchronization, he asked.