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Transforming the Reserve Components (RC) to an Operational Force

What is it?
The Army is rapidly transforming and modernizing the RC, in a manner consistent with the Active Component (AC), to meet the security threats of the 21st Century. Prior to 1990, the RC (the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve) functioned as a strategic reserve or contingency force to support and supplement the operational AC. Strategically, it was assumed that the AC would be large enough to sustain the fight with forward deployed forces and prepositioned stocks; thus providing time for the RC to man, train, and equip its forces prior to deployment. The current demand for forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and evolving 21st Century security threats, have exceeded the AC's capabilities. This necessitates the transformation of the RC into an operational force, fully integrated with the AC in the Army's Force Generation model.

What has the Army done?
The Chief of Staff of the Army directed the RC transition as one of his primary strategic initiatives in 2007. The Commission on the National Guard and Reserve (CNGR) or 'Punaro Commission' issued their report in January 2008 that reinforced the need for the RC to transition.

The Army designated the effort to transition the RC: "Army Initiative 4" (AI4). In February 2008, the Army established the AI4 Task Force (AI4TF). Its mission is to plan; organize; recommend policies, priorities, and resource requirements; and synchronize the Army's efforts to transition the RC to an operational force. This includes participation in senior-level Department of the Army forums and initiatives, identification of operational and strategic issues affecting AI4, and the creation of metrics to measure the progress of the RC transformation. Overall, the task force is the process manager and facilitator for AI4, ensuring the assimilation of Army programs that impact AI4, and ensuring the Army staff has visibility of AI4 progress.

The AI4TF is focused on six essential tasks: the adaptation of pre- and post-mobilization training cycles; improving generating force processes; leveraging incentives to retain RC Soldiers, Families, and employers; developing pre-mobilization equipping strategies; providing 'continuum of service' for Soldiers by expanding cross-component service options; and adapting the necessary statutes, policies, and processes to institutionalize an operational RC.

Recent AI4TF achievements include:

  • Established a Core Metrics Working Group to develop metrics to measure the achievements of strategic depth, cyclical readiness, and costs versus benefits of RC capabilities.
  • Coordinated and compiled 19 implementation plans for which the Army has the lead, based upon the Secretary of Defense's guidance regarding the CNGR recommendations.
  • Provided analysis and input concerning AI4 into the Chairman's New Administration Transition Team for the Presidential transition.
  • Developed and coordinated the draft AI4 Implementation Plan, staffed through the Army Campaign Plan (ACP) process and will be included as Annex I in the next publication of the ACP which is scheduled for publication in January 2009.
  • Provided analysis and input for the Government Accounting Office study on the Army's progress in operationalizing the RC.
  • Compiled and analyzed unit status reporting and climate surveys for deployed RC units to determine readiness indicators and progress.
  • Completed the Army Forces Command 4+1 comprehensive review, which reviewed lessons learned from the pre and post-mobilization preparations of five Army National Guard Brigade Combat Teams (four for Iraq and one for Afghanistan), producing key findings for improving the deployment training process.
  • Executed the pilot program Designated Unit Stabilization Pay, which utilizes incentives for stabilizing RC units 180 days prior to mobilization.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The AI4TF continues to work closely with Army agencies to ensure there is visibility across the total Army. Key milestones include: finalizing the AI4 metrics, addressing CNGR issues and budgetary proposals, implementation of appropriate RC full-time staffing, and continuum of service improvements throughout 2009. Final decisions on readiness levels and required resources will be implemented in the Program Objective Memorandum for FY12-15.

Why is this important to the Army?
As an evolving operational force, the RC continues to provide the critical skills and forces necessary to ensure the Army possesses the capabilities to maintain operations and meet on-going requirements for ground forces in an era of persistent conflict. We must continue the transformation of our RC to an operational force to achieve the strategic depth necessary to successfully sustain operations across the full-spectrum of conflict.

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