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Young Reserve Officers Seminar 2010 report

The Young Reserve Officers Seminar (YROW) 2010 took place in Vyskov, Czech Republic from 2010-04-07 until 2010-04-10.

We have had attendance from Denmark, Germany, USA, UK, Czech Republic, Netherlands. All together it was a relatively small, yet effective group of young reserve officers (YRO) representing the CIOR community. I have to extend great thanks to MG James B. Mallory III who came and addressed the participants as a keynote speaker.  The CIOR Presidency was excellently represented by Major Hans Garrels who also addressed the YRO.

There were other CZ Government officials including member of the Parliament Defense Committee, the National NRFC Representative and  other regional  leadership representatives.

The YROS 2010 has been hosted  at the Training Command -  Military  Academy where the CLA2010 will be held as well. The staff of the academy was extremely supportive and made the participants feel very welcome.

From the working point of view, the YRO were split into two groups, each focusing on a specific task relative to deployment of reserves, in NATO missions and also on deployment within Homeland Security environment.

Both groups were supported by a very active participation of MG Mallory and Major Hans Garrels, which made the event even more attractive.

Please see the final result/outcome of the seminar, the two briefing papers for CIOR Presidency (below) to approve for further distribution as CIOR work.

At the close of the report I would like to share a few ideas shared by MG Mallory:

One question that Reservists must ask is “ARE WE RELEVANT, RESOURCED AND READY?”

The answers to these three questions is vital in the future survival and effective utilization of the reserve forces. Nations should first of all create reserve forces which are relevant for the given time and mission.  The next step is to properly resource the force in terms of people, training and equipment for the given task. Third key factor is having the force ready, and to be able to have the soldier sustained in the process. General compared the scenario to a three-legged stool, with one supporting leg being “the Family”, second leg being “the Employers” and third leg being “the Soldier”. Each requires specific care and attention.  

Family: with the regular reserve format of one weekend a month and few weeks of training each year, the families were not largely affected, however with the increased demand and deployment of the reserve component in the US and its allies, the demand on the families and the challenges they face as a result of the deployed spouse are great. Outreach programs throughout local communities as well as church related communities have proved to be successful, as well as positive “sales” of the reservists as part of community. Most of these projects are community volunteer run, not government projects.

Employers: with the varying “patriotic” feelings of the individual employers, it is needed that a more robust engagement strategy is developed towards employers. Generally larger corporation are more likely to release the reservist, however repeated and frequent prolonged deployments may cause an issue. Situation is different with smaller companies and the self-employed, they face serious challenges. There is no one-fits all solution to the employer topic, the suggestions range from effective PR, employer outreach projects, Government backfill support and many more.

Soldier: The soldier brings with him/her lots of tangible skills, however mostly these are invaluable “intangibles” such as patriotism, satisfaction from being a part of the brotherhood in arms, motivation to develop and serve the community, voluntarism. As a reservist, the military side of life is not the “money  making” primary source, it provides additional development potential as well as an unusual break from day to day job. The reserve soldier however must remain motivated to achieve the best results and to remain active as a part of the reserve force.

It is also overall important that we help the local military and political leaders to understand the challenges the reserve forces face and also to point out the invaluable benefits the bring to the local communities.

There were also few striking questions from Col. Pavel Tulak (the national NRFC Representative of the Czech Republic):

  • Does the nowadays army need an enemy to exist?
  • What are the missions the armed force needs to fill?
  • What is the operational tempo?
  • Is it publicly accepted that reservists would lay their lives on the line in a foreign country in times of fully professional army?
  • What is first for the armed forces – the civilian skills in  the military or a reservist using civilian skills?

These are just the highlights of the successful YROS 2010,  and I hope the CIOR presidency will find these useful in helping the CIOR image and footprint to stand up in these difficult times as an excellent partner to NATO on reserve forces issues.

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers