Stabilizing Soldiers and Units to Enhance Cohesion and Predictability

What is it?  Force Stabilization is one of the Chief of Staff, Army‘s focus areas in support of Army-wide transformation.  The intent of Force Stabilization (FS) is to stabilize Soldiers for longer periods thereby increasing unit cohesion, readiness, and individual stability, while lowering turbulence Army-wide.  Two strategies that support FS are Stabilization and Unit Focused Stability (UFS).  Under the stabilization strategy, Soldiers are no longer moved based on time on station but are moved based on three prioritized criteria:  Needs of the Army; leader development; and individual preference.  The principal manning method in support of UFS is Lifecycle Management (LM).  LM supports the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model.  ARFORGEN is the Army  G-3’s operational initiative to synchronize manning and equipping units throughout the Army based on operational requirements and timelines in terms of unit reset/training, readiness, and available Force Pools for deployment phases.

The Army began FS in October 2003 with implementation of LM for the 172d Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Alaska.  Currently, the Army has implemented LM in 13 BCTs.  Lifecycle Management involves the synchronization of Soldier’s assignments so they generally arrive, train, and deploy together. Lifecycle Management focuses personnel turbulence to a single period in the unit’s lifecycle, reducing or eliminating the need for Stop Loss in the long term.  Once assigned to a LM unit, Soldiers are typically stabilized for the entire length of the unit’s lifecycle.  Unit lifecycles are designed to last 36 months but, in some cases are shorter due to operational requirements.  Stabilizing Soldiers under LM builds unit cohesion and teamwork; provides depth of experience to the individual Soldiers; and enhances overall training efficiency and readiness as the unit collectively prepares for its eventual deployment.  Additionally families of Soldiers in LM units enjoy a degree of predictability as they know when the unit deploys and the lifecycle ends months in advance. 

What has the Army done?  Currently, 13 BCTs have implemented LM.  The Army’s goal, with the exception of the forward-stationed BCTS in Europe and Korea, is to initiate LM for all BCTs NLT Fiscal Year 2013.  The LM schedule is published in the Army Campaign Plan and is continuously updated to reflect operational changes and requirements generated by Base Realignment and Closures, Global Defense Posture Realignment, and other transformation requirements.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?  The Army will continue to implement LM in an effort to reduce dependence on Stop Move/Stop Loss policies and to support the ARFORGEN model.   As needed, the Army will modify personnel policies to support both LM and ARFORGEN.

Why is this important to the Army?  This initiative fully supports our efforts to improve stability, predictability, and quality of life for Soldiers and families.  Additionally, FS will help the Army retain Soldiers and families which is the keystone for the success of the all volunteer force.  Support for FS, LM and ARFORGEN and the policies that govern it are also crucial at every level of government.