News: AWG seeks to round out support capability with Guardsmen, Reservists
Story by Lt. Col. Sonise Lumbaca
FORT MEADE, Md. - The Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), in providing support to various units, partners with numerous organizations within the Army, joint and interagency communities. AWG collaborates with the partner organizations to identify and develop rapid solutions to challenges the Army faces in the current and future operational environments. AWG provides support to units headed to and in combat as well as to units tasked to assist other nations with security and stabilization efforts. Among AWG’s supported commands are units of the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserves; crucial communities within the Army that lend unique experience, expertise and skill sets to overcome challenges in today’s operational environment.
Since its inception in 2006, the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group provided operational advisory support and solution development to Army and Joint Force commanders throughout the globe. The unit’s initiatives continue to enhance soldier survivability and combat effectiveness, and enable the defeat of current and emerging threat in support of unified land operations. In order to implement these initiatives, AWG is actively working to nurture an enduring relationship with the National Guard and Reserves.
“Presently AWG is well networked with the Regular Army and Army Special Operations community, and although we have had experience working with Army National Guard units those partnerships were limited,” said Lt. Col. Michael Richardson, the Concepts and Integration squadron commander for AWG.
“If the AWG is here to serve the Army, then we need to integrate more closely with the National Guard and Reserves in order to build our capacity within the Total Army,” Richardson said.
In the recent past AWG observed firsthand the benefits of working closely, in fact on a daily basis, with the Army National Guard and Reserves. In 2008, AWG assessed and selected its first Army National Guardsman to work fulltime for the unit as an Operational Advisor; Maj. Paul Gump.
Gump, originally from Fairmont, WV, began his military career in 1987 with the United States Marine Corps. He later joined the Maryland Army National Guard as an infantryman, but prior to that, was enrolled in college at West Virginia University.
“I was going to college and I realized I missed being in the military, but I still wanted to continue on with my education,” Gump said. “Being a former Force Reconnaissance Marine I was looking for a similar job. Maryland had a Long Range Surveillance Detachment, which seemed like a good fit.”
Gump joined the 129th Infantry Detachment - Long Range Surveillance in Cascade, Md., and served nearly three years with the unit before attending Officer Candidate School. While leading his company in Iraq, then Captain Gump, learned about AWG, and while searching the unit’s website found that Guardsman and Reservists were eligible to apply for assignment with the group. Motivated by AWG’s mission and capabilities, Gump applied for and was accepted to attend the unit’s selection course. After selection and the subsequent training program, he was assigned as an Operational Advisor in Baker Squadron.
Since being assigned to AWG, Gump has been on multiple deployments to a variety of locations including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. He has provided operational advisory support to various units throughout their Army force generation cycle. He recently completed time as a Troop Commander in one of the Operational Squadrons and is currently spearheading the Guard and Reserves initiative for AWG.
“Because Maj. Gump is a long-serving National Guardsman in AWG, and he has built a lot of credibility with various units as an Operational Advisor and Troop Commander during his five combat rotations , we have focused his current efforts on the project I call ‘ Total Army Integration’,” said Richardson.
Major Gump’s continued role with AWG is to develop a partnership with Guard and Reserve forces that facilitates further advisory assistance to units preparing for operations as well as a connection to the specialized force pool represented by members of the Guard and Reserve who can provide unique experience and skills to assist in the AWG solution development process. The Major’s leadership allows AWG to be more attuned to the cycles of the Guard and Reserves, in terms of operations, training and support. This knowledge of the Guard community and how it operates will help in making joint actions run smoother.
AWG’s Operational Advisors have supported many National Guard commanders over the last six years. “These commanders have been impressed with the AWG’s ability to provide immediate support in the field. The Operational Advisor’s ability to rapidly identify friendly vulnerabilities and enemy capability gaps, and then develop solutions to either mitigate or exploit these observations has resonated extremely well with those commanders. As a result they have continued to seek out this support for their units when they re-enter into their ARFORGEN cycles,” Gump said.
“The other side of it is creating a system where we can have Guardsman and Reservists who have demonstrated specific skills and attributes through their service. We would then be able to recruit them for selection as either Operational Advisors or Operational Support personnel to serve with AWG,” Richardson said.
Guardsmen or Reservists that are selected will then gain valuable knowledge and skill sets that they can take back to their home unit upon completion of their service with AWG, and continue to enhance their home unit’s capabilities to address asymmetric, unconventional and irregular problem sets.
“We could pull these men and women as technical advisors or subject matter experts to serve with us either for short periods of time, such as in lieu of annual training, or have them come on for a yearlong assignment or even a three year tour,” Richardson added.
A big task that Gump is currently working involves getting the word out to Guardsmen and Reservists about the opportunity to serve with AWG. Additionally, the intent is for Guard and Reserve units to look at what AWG has to offer and use those capabilities to further their initiatives. Gump has already started to build relationships between Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and now the Oregon Army National Guard.
“What we’re trying to do here is build upon that already solid foundation within the Guard and Reserves and possibly give them something a little different to look at through how AWG operates; provide them additional ways to address solution development that enhance not only their Title 10 mission, but also their Title 32 mission. That’s probably the key thing right there,” Gump said.
“We see a lot of good in what we’re trying to do. At the moment, Maj. Gump, our resident expert, is spearheading this initiative for the unit,” Richardson said.
After working with Guardsmen like Gump and a few others who have been attached to the unit, AWG sees the benefits of having Guardsmen and Reservists within its ranks and more importantly, the collaborative importance in working with these organizations to further total Army initiatives.
If you are member of the Reserve Component, Sergeant First Class through Sergeant Major or Captain (promotable) with company command completed through Lieutenant Colonel and are interested in finding out more about the AWG, please visit the unit website at www.awg.army.mil. You can also contact the Maj. Paul Gump at firstname.lastname@example.org or the AWG recruiter at (301)833-5366.