The U.S. Army’s active duty forces cannot fight the nation’s wars alone, the senior enlisted leader of Forces Command said on Tuesday.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston made the remarks during a forum at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington.
Grinston and five other senior noncommissioned officers from across the Total Force spoke on how the Army’s three components are working together to increase readiness across the force.
The Army has done more to integrate active, Reserve and National Guard troops in the past two-to-three years than any other time in its history, Grinston said.
“We are going to talk about one Army,” he said, while opening the forum on the second day of the annual meeting.
Other participants on the panel included Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Copeland; Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa; Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hendrex of the 3rd Infantry Division; Command Sgt. Maj. James Gordon of the Indiana National Guard; and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Anderson of the 377th Theater Sustainment Command.
The senior NCOs spoke of how their respective components were coming together to make a stronger Army through changes in training, the Associated Units Pilot Program and other efforts that link soldiers from the active and reserve forces.
All three components have been steadily increasing their readiness in recent years, officials said.
Copeland said one third of the Army Reserve is now able to deploy in less than three months.
And Sampa said National Guard units now participate in more Combat Training Center rotations while focusing on readiness for missions at home and abroad.
Copeland said the Army’s renewed focus on a near-peer fight has required a culture change that puts more focus on survivability, which includes the ability to set defenses and respond to chemical attacks – skills that have gone unused in many units over the past 17 years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Grinston said Army leaders have overhauled how it prepares to mobilize National Guard and Reserve forces in recent years.
They have added seven mobilization sites – there are now nine across the U.S. – to ensure that large numbers of troops can be prepared to deploy on short notice.
Officials have also increased Combat Training Center rotations and renewed focused on warfighting skills.
Grinston said the three components must work together as a team in order to increase the lethality of the force.
Hendrex, the senior enlisted leader of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, has seen that team work together up close.
The 3rd ID is partnered with the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team through the Associated Units Pilot Program, which matches similar active duty and reserve forces for training.
Hendrex said 3rd ID and the 48th IBCT both benefit from the partnership, with every training opportunity helping to build the readiness of both units.
“There is no difference [between the units] from our standpoint,” he said. “They wear our patch… they are different from no other brigade we have.”
Sampa said that lines between the components have blurred over the past 17 years, as units have grown accustomed to working together while deployed.
He noted that National Guard troops are constantly rotating in support of combatant commanders across the globe.
“We’re always ready and we’re always there,” Sampa said.
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