Reconfiguring the Total Force
What is it? Recent operational experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan highlight the need to rebalance military skills across the Active and Reserve Components. The Military Departments are now rebalancing - shifting, transferring, or eliminating - approximately 70,000 positions within the Active and Reserve Components. The Department of Defense (DoD) plans to rebalance an additional 55,000 positions by 2010.
What has the Army done? The Military Departments and Combatant Commanders continually assess the force to ensure it remains responsive to future demands. U.S. Joint Forces Command, as the joint force provider, is ensuring the appropriate global distribution of ready forces and competencies. DoD plans to establish a baseline for personnel policy, including the development of joint metrics and a common lexicon to link the Defense Strategy to Service-level rebalancing decisions.
The traditional distinction between war and peace became less clear at the start of the 21st century. During the Cold War, the Reserve Component (RC) was used as a "strategic reserve" to support Active Component forces during major combat operations. In the current global war on terrorism, the United States is facing contingencies at unpredictable intervals. To fight this type of war and continue to conduct contingency operations, joint force commanders require more immediate access to the Total Force which includes the RC. Today's RC needs to be operational.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? To make the RC more operational, DoD is requesting the following:
- Increase the authorized Presidential Reserve Call-up period from 270 to 365 days
- Better focus competencies for homeland defense and civil support operations
- Improve access to Guard and reserve consequence management capabilities and capacity in support of civil authorities
- Revise the Presidential Reserve Call-Up to allow activation of RC personnel and units for natural disasters
- Allow individuals to volunteer for activation on short notice to serve for long periods as individual augmentees
- Develop more specialized reserve units that train more intensively and require shorter notice for deployment
DoD will increasingly activate reserve units with high-demand capabilities and expand the concept of contracted volunteers.
Why is this important to the Army? The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve are in high demand today and certainly will be needed in the future to protect our country. It is critical that the Total Force is rebalanced and reconfigured to provide not only the Combatant Commanders, but the American people at home with the skill sets they need.
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