When it comes to military readiness, there is no number two.
"Readiness is our number one priority, and there is no other number one," Gen. Mark Milley, Army Chief of Staff, wrote in an earlier press release.
This attitude resides at the heart of the Associated Unit Program Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed yesterday by Maj. Gen. Thomas James, commander, 7th Infantry Division, and Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the Washington Army National Guard Adjutant General.
The goal of the program is to allow soldiers from the 7th ID train and build readiness with soldiers of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), enabling the Army to provide more combat-ready formations to combatant commanders.
The 7th ID is one of 13 active Army units to participate in the program; the 81st SBCT is one of the 27 Guard and Reserve units picked to train with active-duty soldiers.
"This provides the Army the ability to retain qualified soldiers," wrote Capt. Joseph Siemandel, State Public Affairs Officer, "and it allows the units to work together in the future."
Much of the country's Army's capacity resides in its reserve forces, and there is a growing reliance on them to meet current global demands.
The MOA is also historic as both the 7th ID and the 81st SBCT turn 100 years old in 2017.
"We are excited to welcome the 81st Brigade of the Washington Army National Guard to the Task Force Bayonet Family," wrote James in a press release.
"This addition in combat power helps us set the stage for how we will train ... and ultimately fight as ‘One Army' in the future."
The goal of the program is to develop a lethal, professional and technically competent force in order to win a ground-based conflict.
This aligns with Milley's vision.
"The point here is not to achieve the same readiness as an Active Component unit," he continued, "but rather to sustain higher readiness to reduce post-mobilization training requirements when the 81st SBCT is activated."
Both the 7th and the 81st will continue to build their relationship with a "patch-over" ceremony in December at JBLM when the soldiers of the 81st SBCT take off their Raven patch and put on the 2nd ID patch.