WASHINGTON — The Army needs more access to Army Reserve forces as it carries out exercises, assurance and training around the world, a panel of general officers said Tuesday.

The general officers, representing four Army service component commands and I Corps, spoke during the Army Reserve chief's seminar at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington.

"The Army Reserve is running at a fast pace right now," said Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of US Army Pacific. "We are very, very well supported by the United States Army Reserve in the Pacific, and we are truly trying to live and operate as one team. It has to be a way of life for us."

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of US Army Europe, agreed.

"We only have 30,000 soldiers in Europe, we used to have 300,000," he said. "Our mission when we had 300,000, when we were young lieutenants, was to deter the Soviet Union and assure our allies. Our mission now with 30,000 is deter Russia and assure our allies. Our task is to make 30,000 look and feel like 300,000."

This means relying, in part, on National Guard and Reserve troops, who can participate in short-term exercises or missions in the region, Hodges said, adding that he needs Operation Atlantic Resolve to become a named operation, giving it priority for funding and access to troops.

"I need Operation Atlantic Resolve to be a named operation so we can improve our access to you," he said.

In Africa, with more than 54 countries and more than 21 languages, "there is plenty of room for the Reserve," said Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commanding general of US Army Africa.

"There's plenty of opportunity for the total Army to participate, and you're doing that," he said.

One key way Army Reserve soldiers are contributing is through medical readiness training exercises, Williams said.

"The Reserve, you have the heavy lift on the continent of Africa with these MEDRETES we do," he said. "We are building real capacity in our doctors and nurses, and you all are carrying this."

Maj. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn, commanding general of US Army South, said the focus of US Southern Command is countering transnational organized crime, defending the southern approaches into the US and stemming the flow of illicit trafficking.

"We've worked hard to leverage the Army Reserve," Chinn said. "Engagements really are the key to our success, habitual relationships, building that rapport, [and the Reserve] gives us access and engagement we wouldn't have otherwise."

Email: mtan@militarytimes.com

Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.

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