The Ready Reserve

Much like his counterparts in the Air Force, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, head of the Army Reserve, expects to adapt his component to a new strategic environment, as the US draws down from manpower-intensive counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. In short, he’s not worried, he told reporters at a Washington, D.C., breakfast Wednesday. The Army Reserve will come down about 1,000 billets to an end strength of around 205,000 when force shaping is complete, he said, and with six percent of the Army budget, will generate about 20 percent of the force. The Reserves, he notes, holds a preponderance of “enabler” missions for the Total Force—such as Civil Affairs, logistics, medical, and other critical missions. “If you reduce the size of the Reserve, you’re not going to save any money,” Talley noted. As forces draw back from Central Asia, however, he wants to work hard to align key capabilities such as medical and engineering to needs of combatant commanders for capacity building missions. Army Reservists are already heavily engaged in US Pacific Command, he noted, but he said he sees a big role for the Reserve in Africa and South America to “train and shape environments and partner relationships.”