ISS1 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Letter of the Month To the Editor: After reading the latest issue of the RESERVIST (Volume LXIII, Issue 4, 2016), featuring the article: "Into the Future," I would like to add a vision of the future Coast Guard Reserve from a deck plate perspective. I spent five years on active duty in both cutter and boat forces and currently serve in a Port Security Unit (PSU) after four years as a reservist in a small boat station. In the future, I see a Coast Guard Reserve modeled after the PSU organization, with each Reserve unit commanded by a Reserve officer or petty officer, dedicated active duty support personnel, and assets that are "owned and operated" by the Reserve unit. Where the reservists in the unit are operating within their rate, and where reservists can apply for "rating sabbaticals" or "internships" assigned to active duty units, including cutters. Through a one to two month internship, reservists can earn credit for an entire year of IDT and ADT. This gives reservists the opportunity to actually work on rating specific practical factors for promotion, and can reduce the monthly travel expenses many reservist face when traveling outside of the "reasonable commuting distance." As reservists gain more control over their own destinies, morale will soar, and so will the quality of work, mission readiness, and retention of skilled and experienced reservists. Integration of reservists into the active duty chain of command makes sense on paper because shared resources can theoretically reduce costs. However, cost savings from economies of scale do not adequately consider human nature. The needs, activities, and culture of the active duty Coasties often do not line up with that of reservists. Active duty Coasties have more than enough responsibility dealing with their day to day missions and training. When the reservists show up, there is understandably little enthusiasm among active duty personnel to support Reserve training and resource needs. Boats are often not available for use by reservists and even when they are, borrowed assets are not cared for in the same way as owned assets. This is just human nature. So in the end, sharing makes very few people happy. Rather than integration with active duty, the focus should be on PSU style Reserve components that focus on one of the four Reserve missions. This strategy still leaves plenty of opportunity for cooperation with active duty units through the individual Reserve "internships" mentioned above. Another area of cooperation between active and Reserve units might be to "drop in" entire Reserve components to provide temporary relief for active duty units that need some time offline to recuperate from high tempo missions or deal with pressing training needs after transfer season. Cooperation, not integration, is the future of the Coast Guard Reserve! MK1 Joseph Carson, USCGR Dear MK1 Carson: Thank you, your contribution to this dialogue is timely and valuable. You have raised three questions, in particular, that have already generated a great deal of discussion at Headquarters. Namely, what is the optimal mix/flavor of the Selected Reserve (SELRES), what is the best way to obtain and maintain that workforce, and how do we adjust the Reserve Force Readiness System (RFRS) to support that workforce. The Reserve Component Force Planning Working Group (RCFPWG) (SEE ARTICLE ON PAGE XX FOR MORE DETAIL) has already made great strides in quantifying the capability and competency requirements expected from the Reserve. We have validated the demand signal and are currently addressing the supply side concerns you have articulated. The work of the RCFPWG will continue during the course of this year and updates will continue to be provided through RESERVIST magazine. I appreciate your comments with regards to integration and many reservists prefer PSUs because of the Reserve specific structure of those units. The uniqueness of the PSU Expeditionary Warfare mission is part of what allows that unit structure to exist. Though not perfect, the Coast Guard's integration model is unlikely to fundamentally change in the near future for other types of Coast Guard units. I do agree with you that improving the level of integration (functionality) between the AC and RC is paramount. Further, it is clear the RFRS structure needs an overhaul given recent reductions in Reserve funded Full Time Support (FTS) positions at the field level. I have made overhauling the RFRS system and improving integration one of my top priorities for this year. Moreover, we can and are looking at ways to place greater responsibility and authority back into the Reserve leadership structure to allow our active duty partners to focus on their own expanding requirements. Thanks also for sharing your ideas on rating "internships" and "sabbaticals." In 2015, the Commandant defined the Reserve as "a contingency-based workforce to meet the Coast Guard's mobilization requirements" within four prioritized mission areas. The competency requirements assigned to each member's Personnel Allowance List (PAL) position are aligned with the function of each unit and are complementary to the unit's primary missions. Utilizing these skills locally to "drop in" reservists to provide operational support for regular mission execution (primarily on the weekends) is aligned with the Commandant's vision. This is also one of the best ways to show a significant and real return on the investment made in Reserve readiness. Additionally, many Reservists take ADOS-AC or seek other Active Duty opportunities in order to expand their capabilities in rate related training. Within the MK rate specifically, CORE advised members to "train to rate" and any training that you receive that relates to your rate and will assist you to complete your Rating Performance Qualifications could be authorized. I look forward to continuing to work with reservists like you, who have a clear passion for the Reserve. Collaboration and open communications are the best ways to address these and other concerns. To this end, we are actively seeking a better way to solicit, review, and respond to ideas like those you have presented. Keep an eye out in the near future for how you can continue the dialogue necessary to support a vibrant Reserve. Semper Paratus. Capt. Michael. G. Barton Acting Chief, Office of Reserve Affairs Rese R vist Magazine F R o M ou R Reade R s

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