Reset to Restore Readiness and Depth for Future Operations
With Soldiers deployed and forward-stationed in nearly 80 countries around the world, the ongoing demands of the Global War on Terror continue to exact a toll on our Soldiers, their Families and the Army’s equipment. As elements of readiness are consumed in operations, they must be reconstituted. To build readiness to meet the demands of the current conflict and restore the strategic breadth and depth needed for anticipated contingencies, the Army must continue its deliberate efforts to reset the force. Reset is defined as rebuilding readiness consumed in operations to prepare Soldiers and units for future deployments and contingencies. The goal of Reset is to undo the accumulated effects of repeated deployments in more than six years of combat operations. The Army is implementing a standard reset model to rebuild readiness across the force and to serve as a part of full implementation of the ARFORGEN process. There are three broad components of Reset: resetting equipment, retraining Soldiers, and reconstituting units by revitalizing Soldiers and Families. Each of these components must be sufficiently resourced to set the conditions for units to prepare for their next deployment and future contingencies.
To accomplish its mission, the Army must repair, replace and recapitalize its equipment. As we reset equipment, we must not only return units to predeployment levels of equipment readiness, but we must also equip them at the standards required either as part of the modular Army or posture them to return to combat.
Repair Equipment. The Army has operated its equipment at over five times the programmed rate, which has taken its toll. Equipment damaged from battle or prolonged heavy use must be repaired and returned to the inventory. Equipment must be inspected and repaired to meet maintenance readiness standards. The Army has programs to repair its equipment ranging from centralized repair sites in the Army’s depots to specialized teams that surge to repair the equipment of recently returned units. These repair programs must continue throughout the current conflict and for an anticipated additional three years afterward.
Replace Equipment. The Army has experienced equipment losses over the past six years of protracted conflict. A brigade’s worth of helicopters has been lost since the start of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. Battle losses, excessive wear-out and obsolete equipment also create gaps in our units that must be filled through the procurement of replacement equipment. Unit equipment that is left in theater but is needed for homeland defense and civil support must also be replaced. The Army has repeatedly relied upon the Army’s prepositioned stocks since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, particularly during the surge of the five brigade combat teams for operations in Iraq. Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat have been consumed during current operations. The Army has lost the strategic flexibility to respond to other contingency operations. The Army needs to quickly reestablish the modernized equipment sets for response to full-spectrum operations worldwide. While the Army has been successful in replacing some of its equipment that has been lost or consumed in operations, as well as replenishing some of its prepositioned stocks, additional resources are needed to replace all of its equipment losses and to fill the formations of the larger modernized force. Examples include high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and aircraft losses. We must quickly reestablish these modernized equipment sets to ensure we are ready to respond to the full spectrum of future worldwide missions.
Recapitalize Equipment. Equipment that has been returned from a deployment must also be recapitalized to return it to “zero mile and zero hour” level and upgraded to the newest equipment standards to both prolong its service life and ensure compatibility with current equipment. A number of programs are in place to recapitalize our equipment. These include our depot maintenance programs that have reset more than 200,000 pieces of equipment and weapons since 9/11. Upgrades in Army systems, including Abrams and Bradleys, aircraft, such as the AH-64D Apache, CH-47F Chinook, UH-60M Black Hawk, and unmanned aerial systems (Raven, Shadow, and Warrior), are all producing systems that are ready for both the current and future fight. Through careful stewardship, a number of these modernized pieces of equipment are produced by bringing older versions of each into the recapitalization program. Instead of purchasing new systems outright or only bringing an aircraft up to current capability standards, depots and industry combine the best features of both programs to build a fully upgraded system that is ready to begin its new career of service. The dedication of our depot-level maintenance personnel has kept us viable in the current fight; however, funding for the depots has been through supplemental funding. This expense must migrate back to the base budget.
Retrain Soldiers. Soldiers must be retrained to accomplish the full range of missions they may be required to execute. Units back from deployments face the challenge of retraining Soldiers for missions that may be different from those they just completed, especially in the reserve component. Some units face a transformation process that includes a new mission and organizational structure. Soldiers must be trained on new job skills and new equipment. Additionally, units returning from the current counterinsurgency mission must retrain for a homeland defense or a mid- to high-intensity conflict mission. These requirements are in addition to that of programming professional education requirements for Soldiers and leaders that build backlogs for our schooling programs when units are deployed. While every effort is being made to bring the training to the Soldier at installations through mobile training teams, a number of these training programs require Soldiers to attend courses at a remote training center or school creating a need for additional resources as well as a need to address the cumulative effects of repeated sustained absences from their homes and Families.
Revitalize Soldiers and Families. Repeated deployments of longer length combined with shorter dwell time at home have stressed Soldiers and their Families. Rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder have increased. To fully reconstitute our units, Soldiers and their Families must be given the time and resources they need to reintegrate and reverse the effects of the sustained operational tempo. The first six months following a deployment are designed to give Soldiers and their Families such an opportunity. The Army is providing a number of programs and services to assist the Soldiers and Families during this time, including health surveys before, during and after deployments, “Strong Bonds” relationship skills training, and increased access to assistance through pastoral care counseling and other mental health professionals. Properly resourced, each of these programs will contribute to revitalizing our Soldiers and Families, as well as those Soldiers who prepare to leave the service, as we build toward achieving a more sustainable pace with shorter deployments and longer dwell time at home.
Reset will contribute to restoring balance by reconstituting units, equipment, Soldiers and Families. Full funding is needed to restore units to required levels of readiness to execute projected operational deployments, while remaining prepared for likely future contingencies and homeland defense and security missions. To be ready, we must not only ensure that battle damaged items are repaired, replaced and upgraded; we must also enable our Soldiers and Families to recover from the stress of combat and prolonged separation. The requirement to reset our units will not be satisfied with a one-time infusion of funds; it will require a sustained, predictable commitment of funds. Today, supplemental funding is sustaining the equipment readiness of returning units. This cannot continue. Funding must be established in the base budget for several years beyond current major deployments if we are to restore balance to our Army by 2011 and beyond.
Related Information Papers:
- 360-Degree Logistics Readiness
- Army Equipping and Reuse Conference
- Army Sustainability
- Black Hawk Utility Helicopter
- Building Army Prepositioned Stocks
- CH-47 Medium Lift Helicopter
- Depot Maintenance Initiatives
- Equipment Reset Program
- Life Cycle Management Initiative
- Longbow Apache
- Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System
- Retained Issue
- Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System
- War Reserve Secondary Items