"We are at a critical point in generating Army forces for this long war. In my view, our Nation should continue to grow the Army and fully use the reserve components as an integral part of the total force. To meet current operational requirements, we must make these decisions now, and I solicit your support." -Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Army Chief of the Staff, speaking to the Commission on National Guard and Reserves, Dec. 14, 2006.
Testimony by Gen Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the United States Army to the Commission on National Guard and Reserves, Dec 14, 2006
The changed conditions of warfare have greatly affected our armed services with the significant and sustained demands for Army forces across, the globe continuing to exceed the strategy set by the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review. As it currently stands, the Army is incapable of generating and sustaining the required forces to wage the Global War on Terror and fulfill all other operational requirements without its components - active, Guard, and Reserve - surging together. Fifty-five percent of our Army is in the reserve components, and while our armed forces have made drastic changes adjusting to the post 9/11 strategic environment, our mobilization policies have not.
As you know, the Army is steadfast in its determination to transform the total force from a Cold War structured organization into one best prepared to operate across the full spectrum of conflict; from full-scale combat to stability and reconstruction operations, including the irregular war that we face today. This effort includes modernization, modular conversion, rebalancing our forces across the active and reserve components, and a force generation model that provides for continuous operations. Through the Army Plan, we are driving change at an unprecedented pace across the force - active, Guard, and Reserve -to provide the Combatant Commanders with a broad and necessary set of capabilities required to protect the Nation today and tomorrow.
Today's reserve components hardly resemble the reserve components of the Cold War, which were - by design - principally elements of the Nation's strategic reserve. As such, they were organized and resourced at lower levels than most active component units. In 1970, the Army was twice as large as the force we have today with over two million men and women in uniform; 1.36 million in the active component and 667,000 in the reserve components. Over the next decade and a half, the Army reduced its total end strength by over a half-million Soldiers. In 1991, with 732,000 active Soldiers, the Army had enough strategic depth to contribute 400,000 Soldiers to Operation Desert Storm while maintaining the reserve components as a strategic reserve. However, during the 1990s, the total Army force drew down another half-million Soldiers with the active component authorized 482,400.
Today, the active Army is less than 40 percent of its size 35 years ago, and the sustained high operational demand for volunteer Soldiers is unprecedented. By necessity, the Army's reserve components have become an integral part of the deployed operational force. However, requiring the reserve components to become part of the operational force, on top of their traditional role as the strategic reserve, requires us to change the way the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve are organized, resourced, trained, and mobilized. We recognize, with great clarity, that today's dangerous and uncertain strategic environment demands that all units are maintained at a high state of combat readiness and prepared to rapidly deploy as part of the total force.
To read the complete testimony by Gen Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the United States Army to the Commission on National Guard and Reserves, Click here.