Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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Reservists making important, cost-effective contributions

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Polish Army General Mieczysław Bieniek recently spoke at the Symposium of the 64th annual Summer Congress of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) in Warsaw, Poland.

- As an organization representing over 1.3 million reservists across 34 participating nations within and beyond NATO, you are making an important contribution to the Alliance, said Bieniek.

Bieniek opened the symposium together with the Chief of the Polish General Staff, General Mieczysław Cieniuch.

Bieniek briefed the congress on Allied Command Transformation’s (ACT) current priorities and shared some of his thoughts on “NATO’s Transformation and Reform” in the context of NATO’s new Strategic Concept. About the importance of Reserve officers and NCOs he went on to say:

- National Reserve Forces must be an integral part of transformation and reform so that they can be relevant, ready, cost-effective, and deployable.  We come to the table with the understanding that each nation’s Reserve Forces look very different.  Some have strategic reserves, some have operational reserves, and some do not have standing reserves.  We also acknowledge the difficult financial decisions, which are being made during these economic conditions.

Cost Effective

- Many nations when faced with the need to make cuts look to do away with their reserve forces.  However, at a ratio of 4:1 or 5:1, the cost of utilizing a reservist with a skill or capacity that is needed on less than a full-time basis can be significantly cheaper.  Of course there are the challenges of achieving and maintaining readiness including the cost, the availability, the employer support and the political will, but sustainability of concurrent major joint operations and several smaller operations including at a strategic distance could be unsustainable without the Reserve Component force.

Civilian Skills for 21st Century Challenges

- Aside from combat operations, there are key roles for reservists to play in meeting global challenges such as environmental and resource constraints, health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs that will shape the future security environment and impact NATO planning and operations.  These are areas where a Reservists’ civilian expertise can be instrumental in mitigating risks.  We need to retain medical providers, environmental experts, city planners, engineers and similar skills in the reserves and utilize their experience.

- Many reservists have extensive networking and partnerships, which bring together industry, academia, political, civilian, military, and [national and non-governmental organizations], all enhancing effective crises management.  We must tap into these skill sets so that [our nations] and NATO can identify that talent and use it in the right place at the right time. 

- Some of these capabilities may not be needed on a full-time basis and are ideal missions for reserve forces. Many of these are skills acquired in the civilian sector – Cyber Defense, Force Protection, Project Management, Medical skills, engineering etc. to name but a few, Bieniek said – to acclaim of the CIOR Presidency and 250 Congress participants.

Bieniek also spoke at the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) Summer Meeting, as always held in conjunction with the CIOR Summer Congress. NRFC consists of representatives of NATO and NATO-associated Chiefs of Defence.

Photos: Henry Plimack (US)

- You can access to the same article on NATO ACT's website by clicking here.

- Read more about ACT here.

- You can access the whole speech of General Bieniek :

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers