and missions will be increased. The Navy's use of highly trained personnel can be better applied to those systems and missions. In improving shore support, the quality of life of Navy personnel and their families will be improved, leading to higher rates of retention and better-trained crews. Overall fleet readiness and combat capability will be improved within given, constrained budget levels. Also, tendencies toward isolation of the Navy from the civilian economy and population that may have attended the shift to an all-volunteer, career force and reduction of its supporting infrastructure through the BRAC process will be lessened or reversed.
The risks are those attending disruption and establishment of new organizational connections and procedures. Traditional organizational responsibilities and authorities will be shifted to other who will have to learn how to use them in new circumstances. Unfamiliar funding patterns will require different justification that may be more difficult to support with budgeting authorities, such as OMB and the Congress, to which the new patterns will be unfamiliar. The order of sequentially dependent changes may be lost in the processes of overcoming institutional resistance, throwing the effectiveness of such changes in doubt without remedying the negative effects of the disruptions or gaining all of the positive benefits that were sought. Mistakes will be made. Some may be costly, using resources sorely needed for substantive investments; other may be irretrievable in a less forgiving oversight environment, causing ripples that could further disrupt the process of change.
In the last analysis, all such risks entail potential added expenditures of time and resources in effecting the sought-after changes, with the chance of using the fleet's financial resources ineffectively and, in consequence, hurting its readiness and combat capability. The benefits, to the extent that they are achieved, will greatly enhance resources available for the Navy's core missions and capabilities, and its readiness along with them.
It is the balance between the risks and rewards that must be weighed by Department of the Navy decision markers in taking each step of the strategy to rationalize the fleet system and its support component. Perhaps the only certainty in the equation is that failure to take at least some of the risks will lead inevitably to further decline in the fleet's efficient and effective use of any available resources, and consequently in its size, capability, and readiness. There thus seems to be no alternative to going forward, managing the risks as they are anticipated and felt.