Lombardo: Army Reserve in ‘Strong Position’ for Future

Lombardo: Army Reserve in ‘Strong Position’ for Future

Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Lombardo, the Army Reserve’s senior enlisted leader, listens to soldiers
Photo by: U.S. Army

The Army Reserve is building to compete with its adversaries and prepare for a complex future battlefield, the component’s senior enlisted leader said.

“I’m pretty confident that the Army Reserve is in a strong position and ready to meet the challenges of the future,” Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Lombardo said March 6 during an Association of the U.S. Army Noon Report webinar.

A native New Yorker, Lombardo is a deputy inspector with the New York City Police Department in his civilian life. During an Army career that has spanned over 33 years, Lombardo has served over six overseas deployments, including operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, in Bosnia and Kosovo, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Today, about 6,000 Army Reserve soldiers are deployed in support of Army operations throughout 23 countries and about 2,000 are mobilized domestically, Lombardo said.

Lombardo expressed support for the Army Reserve’s “E-5 in 5” initiative, which aims to get soldiers promoted to sergeant within five years. The initiative, led by Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels and Lombardo, was spurred by an “excess of specialists” in the ranks, Lombardo said. The component also has been chronically understrength in key NCO ranks.

“We realized that we … needed to change, that our noncommissioned officers were looking in to see if you were ready for promotion versus demonstrating the potential to be promoted,” Lombardo said.

The program has seen success, he said. The Army Reserve went from having not enough sergeants to “achieving 100% of our sergeant strength,” he said.

As soldiers train to meet the challenges of the future, the Army Reserve will not have the luxury of time when it is asked to respond to contingencies, Lombardo said.

“The global commons have changed,” he said. “We have near-peer threats, so we can’t rely on a model where we spend 90 days to six months getting ready after we’re mobilized. The way you can help is by preparing your people before they’re mobilized.”

Throughout his career, Lombardo said his leadership philosophy has been guided by the values of transparency, fairness and a passion for training soldiers. Following his term as the Army Reserve command sergeant major, Lombardo said he would like to be remembered for his passion for ensuring soldiers received tough, realistic training.

“I would like to be remembered [as] somebody that had passion for tough training and getting us … back to training with a focus on being able to be supportive of the total force with multidomain operations,” he said.