Army Total Force Policy

Tuesday July 27, 2010

What is it?

The Army's Total Force Policy is an ongoing effort by the service to transition its reserve component forces, both the Army Reserve and the National Guard, into an operational force. The intent is to create a seamless and holistic "total force" governed by the same interchangeable policies and procedures.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Total Force Policy is important to the Army for two reasons: First, it will align the Army with Secretary of Defense directives that require better integration of the Army's active and reserve component forces. The Secretary of Defense issued a directive (1200.17) on Oct. 29, 2008, that requires the military services to manage their reserve component forces as an operational force.

The Total Force Policy also is important to the Army because it will facilitate better and more efficient use of its reserve component forces.

Current Army force policies were designed well before September 11, 2001, and thus do not adequately account for 21st century operational requirements. The Total Force Policy recognizes that the operational environment has changed. Reserve component forces have become an integral part of Army overseas operations. Army policies and procedures that govern the total force must, therefore, be updated.

What has the Army done?

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ASA (M&RA)) is the lead agent for developing policies and legislative proposals for transitioning the Army's reserve component forces into an operational force.

The ASA (M&RA), in turn, has tasked his staff with developing and staffing, throughout headquarters, Department of the Army, a new directive, the "Army Total Force Policy." The M&RA staff initiated its work earlier this year and has begun assessing which policies must be rewritten, and which policies must be developed anew.

What's planned for the future?

The Army expects to announce its new Total Force Policy later this year after the proposed policy change has been coordinated with the Army staff (including the Human Capital Enterprise and the Army Enterprise Board) and then approved by the Secretary of the Army.

The new Total Force Policy will provide for a more uniform set of policies and procedures to govern all three Army component forces: Active-Duty, Reserve and National Guard. It will facilitate better integration of these three component forces and a more balanced total force. And it will standardize authorities and procedures for pre-deployment readiness validation of the total Army.

References:

The Commission on the National Guard and Reserve

Department of Defense Directive;
"Managing the Reserve Components as an Operational Force" (PDF) (DoDD) 1200.17

2010 Army Posture Statement

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