Story by Catherine Carroll on 07/25/2018FORT McCOY, Wis. - The 88th Readiness Division command team along with the command teams of the 81st Readiness Division and U.S. Army Reserve Command as well as key staff from the 63rd RD and 99th RD, conducted an annual Mission Readiness Review (MR2) at the 88th RD headquarters on Fort McCoy, Wis., July 11 and 12.
The MR2, a revamped approach to the Command Readiness Reviews of past years, was designed as an opportunity for staff collaboration on advancement and improvement and it measures multiple aspects of readiness including training, personnel strength, logistics and medical readiness.
Michael Bryant, the 88th RD director of plans and training, coordinated and hosted this first annual event which focused on the ongoing transformation of Readiness Divisions as well as funding, manning, retention and leadership advances made by the Army Reserve and the challenges ahead.
"This year is a good starting year, with the RSCs becoming RDs and subordinate unit structure being added," Bryant stated. "This will set the initial numbers to begin measuring the RD's and current down trace and what needs to be done to improve readiness."
Brigadier Gen. Alberto C. Rosende, the assistant to the deputy commanding general, USARC, said the MR2 provides USARC a chance to jump in the foxhole with their subordinate commands, see things from the way that they see it and see what they are facing.
"We are getting more involved in understanding the underlying issues reflected by the metrics rather than just looking at what the metrics say," Rosende said. "It's not about the focus on the number. It's about what the number tells us about where we are and where we need to be."
Major Gen. Patrick J. Reinert, the 88th RD commanding general, kicked off the two-day event with a nod to the experience and expertise of those attending.
"This is a great time to have an MR2 for the 88th and the 81st," Reinert said. "We've won the Army Communities of Excellence competitions back-to-back-to-back so this really should set the standard for the future of Readiness Divisions."
The 88th RD and the 81st RD, both multiple year winners of the ACOE Award, have amassed substantial accomplishments and advancements in support and readiness. While these organizations are what right looks like, the MR2 allows all parties to set aside their successes and focus on looking into the future and finding ways to push forward and identify new approaches to challenges just around the corner.
"The 81st brings a ton of great experience to the table and so does the 88th," Reinert continued. "This is a great way to cross pollinate, to help get the best practices across the board. And that's really what geographic alignment establishes, a little more centralization and a greater ability to take best practices and populate them across the force quickly and efficiently. And the 88th and the 81st are leading the way."
Major Gen. Kenneth D. Jones, the 81st RD commanding general, opened his remarks by asking for everyone's help in building the end strength of the Army Reserve.
"I'm telling you today, we as an Army Reserve have got to get after achieving mass fire effects to build readiness," Jones said. "If we are not getting Soldiers into our formations we have to figure out how to get our school systems and our money aligned so that we are filling our formations with Soldiers so our commanders, first sergeants and leaders can get after being a ready unit of action on the battlefield. If we are not focused on that we are missing the point.
"Today, you're going to hear about some initiatives we want to accomplish. But it's not about the 81st, it's about the Army Reserve. It's about achieving effects."
Colonel Lee Gearhart, USARC human resources and personnel support, continued day two of the MR2 with discussions on personnel issues and new approaches to retention, manning and stresses on the force.
Gearhart stressed the importance of messaging as a fundamental aspect of building the force and increasing readiness.
"Ensuring consistent and unified messaging across America's Army Reserve plays a vital role in communicating within the formations as well as getting the Army Reserve story out to the world," Gearhart explained.
On this, Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, the chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, leads the way, sharing his message directly with AR commanders, leaders and Soldiers, providing valuable information and guidance and creating energy and excitement from the ground up.
Brigadier Gen. Tony R. Wright, the 88th RD deputy commanding general, briefed the 88th RD's current overview and answered questions at length on establishing an 88th RD mission command structure for incoming subordinate units, including the recent additions of the 7th Infantry Division and I Corps Main Command Post-Operational Detachment to the 88th RD and the future addition of multiple public affairs units and military history detachments.
All four RDs are working through the process of mission transformation. While their area of operation will remain the same, the mission and command and control of the commands and units within those footprints will shift to allow for a more direct line to providing and maintaining readiness.
"I see the RDs becoming like a senior garrison command over their regions," Rosende explained. "With them looking at all of the infrastructure and looking at all of the processes that help units maximize their ability to attain and sustain the highest levels of readiness possible as they move forward.
"By avoiding redundancy in processes, breaking down the stove pipes, being able to collaborate and having a great exchange, readiness will increase. This is not a RD process to figure out, this is a collaborative process for all 26 commands under the Army Reserve. Together we will figure out the process that goes forward."
"A lot of important issues were brought up by both staffs," Bryant said. "These issues were assigned to staff sections to work together and come up with solutions together."
"The MR2 process is here to establish connections between your staffs and the USARC staff," Rosende said. "What I want you to do is make sure the bridges you are building here today continue to strengthen."