Stand-to! update Beginning May 2022, STAND-TO! will no longer be published on and/or distributed to its subscribers. Please continue to learn about the U.S. Army on and follow @USArmy on our social media platforms. Thank you for your continued interest in learning about the U.S. Army.

Operational Army Reserve

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What is it?

Operational Army Reserve is the result of the 1993 Offsite Agreement which resulted in one of the most impactful changes to the force mix, stabilizing force structure and end strength reductions, enabling the Army to place more operational reliance on the Army Reserve. As directed by the then chief of staff of the Army, each of the reserve components took on distinct roles, with a majority of the Army’s technical enablers residing in the Army Reserve, available for peacetime and combat operations.

DoDD 1200.17 now defines reserve components as an operational part of the force; and Army and Joint combat forces continue to rely on an operational Army Reserve to sustain prolonged operations, using its critical enabling capabilities to meet U.S. defense requirements across the range of military operations.

Army Reserve operating and generating forces are maintained at programmed readiness levels to best forecast resources to meet training, sustaining, manning and equipping thresholds.

What has the Army Reserve done?

An operational Army Reserve is best able to meet projected demands by functioning in an established, cyclic manner. This provides predictability for combatant commands, the Army, Soldiers, their families and employers.

The Army Reserve is working to establish programmed readiness levels with Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA), sequenced to create available and ready units at the prescribed level of resourcing. The result is a steady flow of tailorable capabilities, satisfying conventional and unconventional demands domestically and abroad.

What does the Army Reserve have planned for the future?

As directed by the Department of Defense, the Army Reserve will continue to work with HQDA to properly program for preplanned missions and training events. Continued modernization of critical enabling systems is also required to retain an operational Army Reserve compatible and integrated with Joint Forces.

The Army Reserve and HQDA must define what missions its Citizen Soldiers will execute in its operational and strategic roles. Overall, programming events and foundational missions allow combatant commands, service members/families and civilian employers to work from ample planning horizons.

Why is this important to the Army?

Fiscal constraints, downsizing, and increasing demands on capabilities cause friction in limited resource allocations across the Army. There are not enough resources to maintain the same level of readiness across all units; however, when resourced as an operational force, the Army Reserve is invaluable in providing interoperable and enabling support to joint, whole-of-government, and multinational operations. Cyclic readiness becomes the tool of choice in order for the Army to mitigate shortfalls.


Subscribe to STAND-TO! to learn about the U.S. Army initiatives.