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AUSA: Rodriguez stresses importance of Army Guard, Reserve as operational force

WASHINGTON -- The commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command highlighted the critical role of reserve component Soldiers and units at the 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the United States Army here Monday.

"During the last decade America's military could not have achieved success without the sustained contribution of its Reserve Component [U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard] as an operational force," Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez told about 500 attendees during the keynote address at the Maj. Gen. Robert G. Moorhead Guard/Reserve Breakfast.

"The combat experience ingrained within the ranks of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve must be preserved," he said.

FORSCOM is the Army's largest command and prepares conventional forces to provide a sustained flow of trained and ready combat power to combatant commanders in defense of the United States, at home and abroad.

"As we move the Army forward, we must use the momentum gained over the last decade and sustain the [current] degree of enhanced readiness by keeping the Army National Guard and Army Reserve on predictable and progressive readiness models." Rodriguez said. "That model is Army Force Generation."

Rodriguez also talked about the importance of the reserve component's ability to respond to emergencies at home.

"The readiness that we must maintain is also essential to our nation's ability to provide for timely and effective response to national events, such as tornados, hurricanes and floods," he said. "This year alone, our National Guard provided over 4,000 Soldiers for support to 13 states and one U.S. territory."

Rodriguez summarized the importance of maintaining the recent increase in capability and experience gained by the reserve component.

"There are those out there who would argue for a return to the old - to the strategic reserve," Rodriguez said. "However, the way we look at the world today, and the situation we are in, there is only one way to meet the requirements of the combatant commanders and maintain the health of the force, we must maintain the reserve component as an operational force."

"We cannot afford to squander the decade of operational experience resident in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve today," he said. "I believe the American people and congress will support it [the operational reserve]."

The breakfast - hosted by AUSA's Vice Chairman for National Guard and Reserve Affairs, Army Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, retired - featured introductory remarks by Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz Jr., chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, and Army Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, acting director, Army National Guard.
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