News: Congressional staff members visit Army Reserve exercise
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Several congressional staff members toured the Army Reserve’s joint Combat Support Training Exercise here Feb. 24.
The purpose of the tour was to highlight the Army Reserve’s capabilities as an operational force and the importance of maintaining those capabilities into the future.
“(Congressional) members are the ones who hold the purse strings that pay for the military, and for them to see how we keep our Army Reserve soldiers trained … they can see the good utilization of those funds,” explained Col. J. Matthew Lissner, congressional legislative liaison for the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command.
The congressional staff delegation learned about the CSTX, which is hosted by the Army Reserve’s 78th Training Division and offers technical training in a tactical environment. The CSTX is designed to support the five-year Army Force Generation cycle, which offers a structured progression of predictable unit readiness over time, resulting in recurring availability of trained, ready, and cohesive units.
“Operational readiness of the Army Reserve is important, and we’ve spent the last decade or so gaining experience, gaining the operational readiness, and we’re truly a ready force for our nation,” said Col. Don Stenzel, deputy commander of the Army Reserve’s 78th Training Division.
Maintaining that readiness requires support, especially the kind that can be offered by members of Congress.
“(We highlight) being an operational reserve versus going back to the strategic reserve” said Lissner. “This is what we need to show them – that we’re not sitting home … just (training) on a computer, that we’re actually out in the field owning those military occupational specialties, doing the collective training at such a complex level.
“That’s where the viability is – when we get them to go back and talk to their (congressional) members and say, ‘Yes, when we hear about funding the Army Reserve, this is what we need to do – we need to support it.’”