SMA: Army Installation Tasks Hurt Unit Readiness
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SMA: Army Installation Tasks Hurt Unit Readiness

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley's
No. 1 priority is readiness, a point he has emphasized repeatedly since being sworn in to
the position in August 2015.

But there are distractions to that readiness, SMA Dailey pointed out. As he has heard from
both officers and enlisted members, not every Soldier is always available to train when it's
time to train. Oftentimes, that comes as a result of having to sustain base operations.

"We've had to put Solders in jobs that were contracted during the war," he said. "That's
things like gate guards, emergency services, and to help fill gaps in our morale, welfare,
and recreation facilities."

When Soldiers are pulling duty outside their own units, they aren't available to go train
with their units. And that hampers unit readiness. Dailey said that, for NCOs and officers
alike, it was their No. 1 complaint.

"Sergeant major, we can get after the task, we just need all of our Soldiers back to do it,"
Dailey recalled them saying. "We need to reduce our non-deployables; we need to get
our Soldiers off these other tasks and get them back to their warfighting tasks."

According to Dailey, it's a problem that Installation Management Command is currently
committed to resolving.

"We're going to reinvest in some of those things so we can get Soldiers back to doing
their traditional jobs," he said.

But Milley's readiness mandate applies not just to regular Army forces, Dailey said. It
applies to the total force, Army National Guard and Army Reserve included. And Dailey
said the Guard and Reserve are being used now more than they ever have been.

And for them, he said, it's even tougher to maintain readiness, due to their limited training

"We have to be cognizant of that, because they are citizen Soldiers, and they are
employees out in our great hometowns of America," he said.

"Less than half of the U.S. Army now is active forces ... We constantly rely on [Reserve
forces] to fill out the gaps and seams we have across 140 countries ... and the constant
demand for brigades."

This year, Dailey said, the Army is doubling the capacity at combat training centers to
ensure more training opportunities and improved readiness for the Reserve component.
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