The top general over all of Army forces says the service can’t do it all without the Reserve and Guard soldiers.

Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams emphasized the increased readiness and integral role of those non-regular Army assets to a crowd of hundreds at the Maj. Gen. Robert G. Morehead National Guard/Army Reserve breakfast at the first day of the annual Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

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“Our job as professionals is to be ready now,” Abrams said. “I hope no one is mistaken, we are not in an interwar period.”

Abrams praised efforts of specific units honored at the ceremony, the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry of the Virginia Army National Guard and the 900th Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Army Reserve out of El Paso, Texas.

“What is common between these two units is a sustained readiness,” Abrams said. “It creates a culture of being ready all the time, not just episodically.”

Abrams updated attendees on the progress of the Associated Units Pilot program. A year ago, only four units had completed their association certification. Now, he said, all 13 have reached that goal.

That program includes a 36-soldier exchange in which regular Army leaders and Guard and Reserve leaders work with their matched units from the squad level to the field grade officer position.

Those integrations of regular and Guard and Reserve units are crucial to a downsized Army that saw Corps and Division-level positions reduced by a quarter in recent years, the four-star said.

One such leader, the director of the Army National Guard, expects troop mobilizations to increase from 15,000 this past year to 18,000 soldiers in the coming year.

Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy said the Guard is also scheduled to double its combat center rotations from two to four in the coming year.

He noted that beyond the warfighting and active unit support, more than 17,000 soldiers deployed in support of Hurricane Irma, nearly 20,000 assisted with Hurricane Harvey and 1,700 soldiers helped with ongoing wildfire support.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.