The new strategic context of continuous operations renders obsolete the old Army readiness paradigm of “all ready, all the time.” Continuous, full-spectrum expeditionary operations are the new reality. To meet this new strategic context, the Army is developing a process of force generation to provide combatant commanders and civil authorities with rapidly deployable, employable, and sustainable force capabilities packages tailored to specific mission requirements. Implementation of Army Force Generation cuts across the entire Army. While having a profound effect on operating forces, ARFORGEN processes also shape the ways the institutional base executes Title 10 and executive agent functions.
Army Force Generation leverages new unit designs and operational cycles to provide a sustained deployment posture of operationally ready units with less uncertainty. The process retains the capability to surge combat power for major combat operations. The ARFORGEN process allows commanders to identify predictable deployment windows and manage readiness and training of forces accordingly. These windows are based on the objective cyclic rotation rates of active and reserve component forces defined in July 9, 2003 Secretary of Defense memorandum goals: One operational deployment in three years for the active component, and one operational deployment in six years for the reserve component.
The ARFORGEN process creates operational readiness cycles where individual units increase their readiness over time, culminating in full mission readiness and availability to deploy. Manning, equipping, resourcing, and training processes are synchronized to the ARFORGEN process. To achieve the readiness progression required by operational readiness cycles, units transition through three ARFORGEN-defined readiness pools:
- Reset/Train Force Pool: Comprised of forces coming out of the Available force pool. Often units are recovering from previous deployments. Units are provided with replacements in manning, equipment, funding and training resources to achieve designated Reset/Train force pool unit capability levels. Unit mission is to reconstitute, reset equipment, receive new equipment, assign new personnel, and train to achieve the required unit capability level necessary to enter the Ready force pool. They are capable to immediately perform defense support to civil authority missions.
- Ready Force Pool: Units are assessed as ready to conduct mission preparation and higher level collective training with other operational headquarters for upcoming missions. Ready force pool units are eligible for sourcing, may be mobilized if required, and can be committed, if necessary, to meet operational (surge) requirements.
- Available Force Pool: The Available force pool includes those units immediately available to conduct mission execution. Active Component units are available for immediate deployment and Reserve Component units are available for alert/mobilization/required post-mobilization training and validation/deployment. Units will be sourced against operational (Deployed Expeditionary Force Package) or contingency (Contingency Expeditionary Force Package) requirements.
Within the Ready and Available force pools ARFORGEN task organizes units into Expeditionary Force Packages, providing targeted resourcing for units based on known, validated mission requirements. Through semi-annual ARFORGEN synchronization conferences modular-based Ready, Deployment, and Contingency Expeditionary Force Packages are designated and managed to corresponding readiness and resourcing metrics.
- Ready Expeditionary Forces (REF) conduct mission training and readiness activities/functions.
- Deployment Expeditionary Forces (DEF) are task organized to either execute planned operational requirements or are currently executing deployed missions.
- Contingency Expeditionary Forces (CEF) are remaining (not in DEF) Available force pool units that are task organized to meet operational plans and contingency requirements.
Like pieces of a puzzle, Army force generation processes are necessary complements to ensure that modular conversion, restructuring, and restationing initiatives achieve the Army’s objective to be a campaign-quality, joint and expeditionary force. Army formations stationed at power projection installations are pooled into force packages under ARFORGEN to make expeditionary operations easier to plan and execute. Restructuring across the active and reserve components optimizes Army operating forces to the right capability packages for sustained operations. Generating force and business transformation efforts will simultaneously improve the Army’s ability to man, train, and equip Army operating forces during a period of dwindling resources and heavy operational demand. Implementing these interlocking concepts will relieve stress on the force, provide time to train, create more predictable deployment schedules, and enable the Army to maintain a continuous supply of ready land power to combatant commanders and civil authorities.