By Debbie Gregory.
Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command said that he plans to stand up a package of forces capable of mobilizing and deploying into a major contingency operation much faster than traditional Reserve units.
“We are calling it Ready Force X; we are still trying to figure out what Ready Force X is going to look like, what’s in it and what war plans inform that requirement,” Luckey said.
Over the past 15 or so years, the Reserve has built readiness over time, in a progressive and rotational manner, he said. If a unit was alerted for a possible mobilization in 2019, he said, those soldiers had several years to work their way through the training required to prepare for the mission.
“I have asked the G-3/5/7 of U.S. Army Reserve Command down at Fort Bragg to do an assessment of capabilities that we think we — the United States Army Reserve — ought to provide to the warfighter and the Army on fairly short notice.”
The Reserve is made up of commands designed provide support, such as aviation, medical, military intelligence, civil affairs and theater sustainment, to active-duty and National Guard combat forces.
Now, what Reserve forces “need to be able to do is anticipate a contingency demand different than a known demand,” Luckey said.
“Instead of planning for a unit deploying sometime in 2019 and have several years to prepare, we are now in a situation where we have some capabilities that we may need to deploy in less than 90 days and, in some cases, significantly less than 90 days,” Luckey said.
This will be a challenge since the Army Reserve is made up of part-time soldiers, Luckey said.
Luckey, who assumed command in June, said units need to be on a relatively high degree of readiness — not just in terms of training, but also manning, individual soldier readiness and modernization.
Another challenge will likely come from budget constraints, he said, acknowledging that there is a “high likelihood” that it is going to cost more to generate and sustain this new type of readiness.
But “I want to make sure, before I start talking about money or needing more resources, I am very clear on what effect I think I can achieve if I had more resources,” he said.
The details of Ready Force X are still being worked out, but the idea is to have the first tranche of formations — about 25,000 to 33,000 soldiers — ready to go on short notice
“A lot of this is, frankly, a journey of discovery into what is in the art of the possible in terms of generating these capabilities.”