by Jennifer G. Williams
The new U.S. Army Reserve’s commanding general burst onto the scene in a video posted on YouTube just days after he assumed office on June 30.
LTG Charles D. Luckey touts energyand enthusiasm in his direct message to the 200,000 Soldiers he now leads, and the North Carolina attorney has no shortage of those qualities himself.
Luckey took some time out from his whirlwind tour of Army Reserve training venues and unit reserve centers this summer to speak with AmeriForce about what he’s seen and the direction he sees for the Army Reserve.
“In my travels, I’ve been assessing the as-is status for the Army Reserve and its capabilities — getting a fingertip feel for what’s happening and what’s not happening,” he says. “At the same time, I am looking at ways to make our force more effective and efficient as we move forward.”
Luckey says his experience as Chief of Staff, North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command, with U.S. Army Command on the Joint Staff as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Reserve Matters has helped shape his assessment of potential threats.
“My experience with these commands has helped instill in me an appreciation for emerging threats from around the globe; sifting through the threats and potential threats — what to watch for, what to anticipate,” he says. “One of the things I’m telling my team is that where we’re going is not where we’ve been.”
“We are now moving into an austere environment that we haven’t seen in 25-30 years from a U.S. perspective,” says Luckey. “It will affect the way we train and prepare our formations for potential combat operations in a lethal environment. Part of what I’m making sure I’m doing out here — elevating awareness on the part of the force. The environment in which we are operating and will be for the foreseeable future needs to inform some of our priorities.”
“It’s a scary time, but that’s why we’re here,” he says.
And regardless of who the next commader in chief will be starting in January, Luckey says his job remains the same.
“In my view, I’m an American soldier,” he says. “I serve the people of the United States. I live the Army values. Regardless of who is in the White House — we’re all sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States of America. I have a responsibility to my soldiers — some 200,000 of them, and to their families — I’m going to do everything I can to not only support those soldiers and families, but their relationships with their employers, as well, so we can do what needs to be done for the American people.”
And as for recent sequestration issues that have affected how the military branches budget for training, personnel and equipment, Luckey says he will take things as they come.
“Our job is to get after the challenges in front of us — leadership is ultimately the key,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s all about leadership, energy and execution [the three keys to the Road to Awesome touted in his video]—my focus is not only on me continuing to leading with enthusiasm, but also teaching to take ownership of the mission.”
“At the end of the day, ownership is a big part of it. You take the resources available to you — we have a lot of very capable people who are very well-trained, well-equipped, and the key is to make sure I’m optimizing how we leverage what’s available to us,” says Luckey. “If at some point in time [I find] we lack some resources that we need to mitigate risk, at that point, I will have that conversation,but frankly, I haven’t been here long enough in this position to really talk intelligently to any specifics.”
Regardless of what happens in Washington, Luckey says his job is to empower his Soldiers and unleash the power of the team. “We’re talking a total team effort in a mutually supporting relationship between the leader and the leg; in which we’re all working together to make each other stronger, more capable and more combat ready in support of the U.S. Army and the American people.”
“We don’t have a choice,” he adds. “We have to make sure we have the most capable, most ready combatready federal reserve force.” And Luckey intends to lead his troops to be ready for anything.
“For the time being, job one is readiness,” he says. “We’re going to get it done and the journey starts now.
“I live the Army values regardless of who is in the White House — we’re all sworn to uphold andefend the constitution of the United States of America.”