Refreshing View from the Top of the Army Reserve – Blogger Roundtable

It was a great interview and so different than most of the other air coming from DC during this political season! Refreshing candor, integrity, willingness to acknowledge the occasional problem being worked,… the newest Chief of the Army Reserve—Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley spoke with his heart and had the facts on issues affecting the Army Reserve.

In addition, this was a great follow on to the blog we posted in August: Are You Ready for the Army Reserve? Or, Is Your Soldier Ready for the Army Reserve?  

Army Reserve Capabilities – See Below for Photo CreditsFirst off the start line: What does the Army Reserve bring to the fight? 
Twenty percent of the Total Force and only six percent of the budget according to Talley. He said the Army Reserve role of complementing the active role with critical skills such as engineers, medical units, civil affairs units, psychological operations, biological/chemical warfare detection units and other technical skills means there is little chance his budget of $8 Billion will see major cuts. In fact he said the new proposals in the Pentagon might increase Army Reserve manpower during active Army force cuts.

He was very careful to differentiate between the Army Reserve and Army National Guard organizations and commented that they had different roles with the Guard having both state and federal missions. While not speaking for the Guard, he did say they had units that mirrored active units and by inference might have budget issues during the budget cuts expected in the next cycle.A big takeaway from the discussion: Army Reserve “families should not worry” about budget or personnel cuts resulting in the loss of their soldier’s reserve position.

He seemed ready to rule out long term budget issues for his organization and his direct involvement in drawing up Rally Point 32 (he is the 32nd Chief), the Army Reserve mission on one page, is easily recognized. A citizen soldier, he agreed to serve as Chief and put his print on the organization as an entrepreneur and business person.

The health of the force was a concern for the general.  
The issue that kept him awake at night: The alarming number of suicides within the service. He said that “suck it up” was not the right way to work through mental health issues and had not been the Army way for many years. It has become “a sign of maturity” to ask for help. He said investigation showed five common themes for those who had committed suicide:

1) relationship failures 2) financial problems 3) alcohol/drug problems 4) soldiers’ had not been deployed 5) soldiers’ had not seen combat 
Talley said we must teach resilience and coping skills – Army Reserve soldier priorities, according to the General, should be: #1 Family, #2 Employment #3 Reserves

How does the nation’s problem with obesity affect the Reserves?
First, only 1/3 of our citizens are qualified to serve due to weight, physical fitness, criminal backgrounds, etc!  But specifically for the Reserves:  Our weight management numbers are “a bit higher” than active. 20-25% of Army Reserve NCOs/Os are on WMP according to the general and they have to try a little harder due to civilian employment, family times, etc. The Department of Defense is spending $1B a year on weight management programs and the reserves face different issues without regular unit physical fitness time. A “Talley Opinion” is that weight management was 60% diet, 20% exercise and 20% a good night’s rest. Weight management and health issues are being pushed through (and for) families as well. Comprehensive soldier fitness program allows family members to join and uses social media such as YouTube videos to make it available. We must “try a little harder”.

LTG Jeffrey TalleyDuring the discussion the general had an interesting comment on the DoD Tricare medical program. The general has personally been on Tricare Reserve Select which he said is “awesome” and “very good medical care” for reservists. He liked the ability to choose doctors in the community and I agree with him as Tricare Standard is the same for my family in a non military community. But we have seen some recent reluctance on individual doctors and whole medical groups to accept the insurance due to increased costs and reduced payments.

He closed the more than hour discussion with the best part of his job! “I get to right some wrongs”. He was referring to personnel actions and caring for the troops!  Did I not say “refreshing” at the beginning? Thank you Lt Gen Talley and best wishes for the next four years as your tenure as Chief of the Army Reserves: “Twice The Citizen”

If you would like to learn about the US Army Reserve please go to their website at where you can also find their other social media resources. 

Join UsFind us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Visit our blog Find us on Google+ Follow Us on PinterestCol K is a retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers and airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He enjoys writing about military issues and is a frequent contributor to the the DoD Blogger Roundtable at DoDLive. A member of a proud military family that created to support the troops and their families, he enjoys the continued military ties from blogging. 

Image/Photo Credits:  US Army Reserve byColonel KonWednesday, October 17, 2012Military Life:,,,,,,,,

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