Reinventing the Army Reserve Again
The U.S. Army has been transforming itself for years. General Eric R. Shinseki brought new impetus to the concept when he began his term as Army Chief of Staff in 1999. Many fruits of this ongoing transformation were clearly seen during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These include dazzling high-tech weapons, communications and logistics plus the new doctrine, force structure, training and equipment to support those high-tech systems. The Army Reserve has been transforming along with the Army, changing its structure and organization to better fit the needs of the nation.
For the past three years, the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has greatly accelerated this transformation. Reserve component Soldiers, in particular, have had to contend with "come-as you-are" deployments, mandatory cross-leveling to units across the country and involuntary reclassifications.
However, transformation in the Army Reserve is different in other more basic ways. It must focus on issues much more mundane and less dramatic than, say, Stryker Brigades. How can we better prepare Reserve units and Soldiers for combat on short notice? How can we help Reservists balance their civilian and military responsibilities? How can we support them, their families, employers and communities in this process? Indeed, what will be the Army Reserve of the future?