By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (3/4/11) - Every Guard brigade has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and over 300,000 Guardsmen have deployed in this war, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. said Monday.
“You are fully engaged--to include fully burdened--with over 600 Guardsmen killed and over 5,000 wounded,” he told senior National Guard officers and noncommissioned officers at the Senior Leadership Conference here.
“It’s a fundamentally different Guard, and because of that, it is a fundamentally different Army today, and we can’t go back.”
Casey added that the Guard is in the process of transforming all 114 of its brigades – about half of the total Army brigades – into modular designs that are more relevant to the needs of the future.
“Being such an equal partner in the transformation of the Army is another reason why we can’t go back [to the way it used to be],” he said.
Casey said he feels that there needs to be an emphasis on resiliency for the long haul.
“The challenges that we are facing are real,” he said. “I ask that everyone take a look at the online comprehensive Soldier fitness program, because it is a proven tool that works.”
He also talked about the new Army force generation cycle, and what that could mean for the Guard, as well as the active Army component.
“ARFORGEN is a fundamentally different way for building readiness in the Army,” he said.
“Starting Oct. 1 of this year, we will be in a position,” Casey said, “where Guard and Reserve Soldiers deploying after Oct. 1 of this year can have an expectation of four years at home after they return, and active Soldiers can expect two years at home.”
He added that because of these dwell time ratios, ARFORGEN’s predictability is more important for the Guard and Reserve.
“We had to get there,” he said. “Studies show that it takes a minimum of 24 to 36 months to recover from a combat deployment.”
“The reality of it all is that we cannot go to war without the Guard and Reserve.”