Executive Summary

The armed forces of the United States are composed of active duty personnel, who serve full time, and reserve personnel, who serve part time, mostly in the National Guard and the Reserves (known collectively as ''reserve components"). The reserve components have served the nation well throughout its history, and they are being increasingly called upon today to participate in the full spectrum of military operations. Although reserve components bring considerable expertise to the U.S. armed forces, they are geographically dispersed, and their principal jobs are in the civilian world. The tension between the reserve components' part-time status and the increasing demand for their participation with active components in military operations is the basis for this study into how new technologies can be used to improve their effectiveness and their integration with active components.

In a study by the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, the U.S. Department of Defense was advised that better use could be made of reserve components. The commission's report included the following recommendation:

...where significant uncertainties or differences of opinion exist, ... [the Department of Defense should] establish a series of tests, experiments, and pilot programs to determine whether the reserve components can perform to standard and whether different organizational and training arrangements would be more effective. (DoD, 1995)

Following the commission's study, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs requested that the National Research Council conduct a study to fulfill the following tasks:

  • characterize the technological environment that could influence the roles of the reserve components in support of active component forces and Commanders in Chief, considering both peacetime and wartime contingencies

  • assess the technologies potentially available over the next 10 to 20 years and determine how technological advances could affect readiness of personnel (including effective and efficient training), mission effectiveness of the reserve components, and integration of the reserve components with the active components

  • describe a range of scientific and technical pilot programs that will shed light on how to achieve greater reserve component effectiveness and integration

The Committee on Reserve Forces for 2010 and Beyond, under the National Research Council's Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, was formed to perform these tasks. This report documents the study results.

Based on the anticipated role of reserve components in military operations in the first decade of the next century, the committee identified key technologies that could dramatically improve their readiness, effectiveness, and integration. Many of these technologies and applications are either already in use or are under consideration by some military components, but their applications have been uneven, and their benefits have not been fully realized. The committee has suggested how these benefits could be spread more widely across the total force and focused specifically on improving the effectiveness and integration of reserve components.



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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces Executive Summary The armed forces of the United States are composed of active duty personnel, who serve full time, and reserve personnel, who serve part time, mostly in the National Guard and the Reserves (known collectively as ''reserve components"). The reserve components have served the nation well throughout its history, and they are being increasingly called upon today to participate in the full spectrum of military operations. Although reserve components bring considerable expertise to the U.S. armed forces, they are geographically dispersed, and their principal jobs are in the civilian world. The tension between the reserve components' part-time status and the increasing demand for their participation with active components in military operations is the basis for this study into how new technologies can be used to improve their effectiveness and their integration with active components. In a study by the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, the U.S. Department of Defense was advised that better use could be made of reserve components. The commission's report included the following recommendation: ...where significant uncertainties or differences of opinion exist, ... [the Department of Defense should] establish a series of tests, experiments, and pilot programs to determine whether the reserve components can perform to standard and whether different organizational and training arrangements would be more effective. (DoD, 1995) Following the commission's study, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs requested that the National Research Council conduct a study to fulfill the following tasks: characterize the technological environment that could influence the roles of the reserve components in support of active component forces and Commanders in Chief, considering both peacetime and wartime contingencies assess the technologies potentially available over the next 10 to 20 years and determine how technological advances could affect readiness of personnel (including effective and efficient training), mission effectiveness of the reserve components, and integration of the reserve components with the active components describe a range of scientific and technical pilot programs that will shed light on how to achieve greater reserve component effectiveness and integration The Committee on Reserve Forces for 2010 and Beyond, under the National Research Council's Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, was formed to perform these tasks. This report documents the study results. Based on the anticipated role of reserve components in military operations in the first decade of the next century, the committee identified key technologies that could dramatically improve their readiness, effectiveness, and integration. Many of these technologies and applications are either already in use or are under consideration by some military components, but their applications have been uneven, and their benefits have not been fully realized. The committee has suggested how these benefits could be spread more widely across the total force and focused specifically on improving the effectiveness and integration of reserve components.

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces CURRENT RESERVE COMPONENTS Because of recent reductions in military personnel, the aggregate strength of reserve components is now about the same as the aggregate strength of active components.1 This is a change from the days of the Cold War, when active component strength was one-third greater than reserve-component strength. The total-force policy, which was introduced in 1970 by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, is the basis for the increased reliance on reserve components to expand wartime capabilities. The purpose of this policy was to lower overall peacetime costs without compromising the military's ability to mobilize in time of war. Since the end of the Cold War, reserve components have continued to augment active components in wartime, but they are also increasingly being used to assist in peacetime operations, such as enforcing exclusion zones and embargoes, peacekeeping operations, and bolstering friendly nations around the globe. The extensive use of reserve components in peacetime is unprecedented, and its effects are not yet clear. Up to now, reserve components have been able to fulfill their peacetime missions. However, extensive peacetime use that requires part-time military personnel to spend frequent periods of time away from their families and civilian occupations could adversely affect the retention and recruitment levels of reserve forces. In addition to a greatly expanded peacetime workload, some reserve component units are also required to be ready to mobilize, train, and deploy rapidly to support and augment active component forces. These requirements have made high priorities of facilitating the transition to active duty status and preparing to fight very quickly. Some of the problems could be alleviated by innovative applications of existing or new technologies. NATIONAL SECURITY AND TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENTS AND THEIR EFFECTS Although characteristics of the future environment in terms of national security and new technologies cannot be predicted precisely, the following significant trends will continue: the globalization of business, with relatively rapid transfers of technologies increased access by unfriendly foreign governments and nongovernmental entities to sophisticated weapons and weapons of mass destruction tensions among and within nations that could necessitate the rapid deployment of U.S. military capabilities, either to deter or respond to hostile actions pressure to reduce U.S. defense spending in the absence of a major peer competitor The specific missions that will be assigned to reserve components in the future cannot be predicted. However, if present trends continue, future assignments will range from very small missions, such as small peacekeeping operations, to major missions, such as augmenting active components in major wars. In addition to working in fully integrated operations with active components, reserve components could also provide the bulk of the forces for some military missions, such as homeland defense against missile attacks (analogous to their long-standing participation in air defense of the United States). Although the requirements for small-scale operations, such as peacekeeping, may develop gradually allowing time for preparation, the reserve components will be asked to respond rapidly for future combat missions involving major elements. Mobilization time is likely to be measured in weeks, or even days, rather than months. The two common elements of the potential uses of reserve components are (1) the need for them to respond quickly and (2) the potential for lever-aging technologies to reduce the training time for part-time forces and facilitate their integration with active components. This need and opportunity can be addressed without having to predict specific future missions. Technology will certainly influence the ways future military operations are conducted, as well as the character of the missions reserve components will be asked to perform. The committee considered a broad range of technologies and their potential applications to the reserve components. Advanced technologies, such as precision-guided weapons that can be used at very long ranges in all types of weather, will have a profound and positive effect on the capabilities of both active components and reserve components between now and 2010. Most of the potential impact of applying advanced technologies will be common to both 1    The U.S. armed forces consist of 12 components: (1) three each in the Army and the Air Force (active forces, reserve forces, and the guard forces) and (2) two each in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (active forces and a reserve).

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces components, particularly applications related to combat systems. However, if technologies are deployed unevenly across the active and reserve components, integration could be adversely affected. The committee believes that two technology areas have the most potential for improving reserve component capabilities in comparison to active component capabilities. These technologies are key enablers to improving the readiness of reserve components, facilitating the integration of reserve and active components, and enhancing the effectiveness of reserve components for carrying out future missions. These two technology areas are (1) communications technologies, which are providing substantial increases in bandwidth every year (i.e., vastly increased capacity to move large volumes of data quickly); and (2) information technologies, which include dramatically increased computing power and rapid, reliable, worldwide access to information over secured or unsecured intranets. The incredible brawn and speed of these technologies will give individuals unparalleled control over goods, services, and activities effectively eliminating the barriers of time and distance. The capabilities of reserve components to participate in early overseas operations can be improved in two ways: (1) improving their readiness to deploy rapidly (e.g., better trained individuals on call-up status, more efficient administrative procedures, more efficient postmobilization training), and (2) creating remote organizations with sufficient data communications capability to support deployed forces from the continental United States, thus reducing the need to deploy support forces with combat forces. (Reducing deployment time through additional airlift or sealift capability is another approach to accelerating the overseas deployment of reserve components, but this approach is not addressed in this report.) Communications and information technologies will be essential for improving the readiness of reserve components that accompany active components. Innovative uses of technology-for example, increasing the availability of information workstations and training reserve personnel in duty stations or even in their homes-could free more of the reserves' limited weekend and annual training time for developing and maintaining unit proficiency. New types of simulations could also improve the training of reserve components and ease their integration with active components. In addition, meeting future deployment time lines will require that reserve components take advantage of uniform, rapidly updatable databases and database management systems. Databases and database management systems could also simplify studies and assessments of operational variables and performance measures, both for investigating well defined questions (like the effect of turnover rate on performance) and for data mining (i.e., searching databases for hidden relationships). Future studies and assessments of both reserve and active components could be enhanced by performance databases based on distributed simulations and field exercises. With the communications bandwidth available now (and projected increases) remote support units could be created that could support deployed forces from their home bases. The committee believes that the use of remote staffs2 will be one of the most important technological advances in the integration of reserve and active forces. By 2010, technology will provide deployed and forward-based staff with ready access to remote databases, imagery, and technical and operational expertise. This capability will enable personnel operating in multiple locations around the world to share a common picture of events. Advanced technology can make a rapidly expandable and adaptable staff available for the planning and execution of activities. Properly trained remote staffs with specific areas of expertise will be able to respond to unusual events and situations, or simply to augment the capabilities of the staffs of forward-based commanders. Reducing the size of forward-based support organizations, which are often the targets of enemy attack, would limit vulnerabilities. The remote staff concept for augmenting deployed units in times of crisis or conflict could make serving in reserve units more attractive to personnel with certain specialized skills (e.g., information technology) who may be difficult to retain in active components because of competing civilian opportunities. The committee's focus on communications and information technologies for improving the relative contributions of the reserve components is also consistent with the importance of these technologies in future commercial activities and military operations.3 In both 2    For the purposes of this report, a remote staff is a staff that is not physically present with a commander but is well connected to the commander (i.e., has a virtual presence) through a variety of advanced information and communications capabilities. 3    See Joint Vision 2010, the conceptual template for achieving new levels of effectiveness in joint war-fighting, issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS, 1996).

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces technologies, the committee anticipates that the leadership will be in the civilian sector. PILOT PROGRAMS Pilot programs, including tests and experiments, are relatively low-cost ways of exploring the uses of new technologies and, possibly, demonstrating the feasibility of innovative concepts.4 A successful pilot program can also be an effective tool for securing program funding in the Department of Defense and from Congress. Pilot programs may also have significant benefits for the integration of reserve and active components. These benefits could extend beyond the substance of the program-for example, by increasing confidence in each other's abilities through increased interactions between reserve and active personnel on several levels. Pilot programs represent low-risk opportunities to increase familiarity in a nonthreatening environment. The scientific and technical pilot programs developed by the committee are intended to shed light on ways of using technologies to improve the readiness or effectiveness of reserve components or improve integration with their active counterparts. The committee reviewed the pilot programs to determine which ones merit priority attention by the Department of Defense in terms of the following criteria: (1) the impact of the program on effectiveness and integration, and (2) the feasibility of conducting a credible pilot program that would produce valid data and shed light on issues of effectiveness and integration. The four high-priority pilot programs are: (1) increasing training time through technology; (2) using advanced distributed-learning technology for maintenance personnel; (3) streamlining administrative processes; and (4) using telesupport and remote staffing. The committee recognizes that the Department of Defense is already making limited use of the technologies identified in these pilot programs, and the proposals in this report are not intended as criticisms. It is the committee's intent to focus specifically on how these technologies could affect reserve component effectiveness and active-reserve integration. Second, the pilot programs explore nontraditional uses of technology in lieu of the cost, time, and energy of full-scale implementation. High-Priority Pilot Programs Increased Training Time through Technology This pilot program applies distance-learning technology (with which all services are experimenting) to increase the time effectively available for training. Reserve units have limited time to conduct both individual and unit training. A significant barrier to the effectiveness of reserve units as a whole is that many unit members must use unit training time for their individual training. This pilot program would explore the use of distance-learning technology to increase voluntary individual training, either at home or at another convenient place (examinations would be given under controlled conditions). The pilot program would explore the costs and effectiveness of a wide range of incentives for reservists to complete courses successfully, including satisfying requirements for promotion, early advancement, retirement points, paid training time, the reward of a computer, and cash bonuses. Advanced Distributed-Learning Technology for Maintenance Personnel Modern military equipment is becoming increasingly complex, and this equipment tends to fail in unanticipated ways, making repairs difficult. This pilot program would be conducted in cooperation with private companies that have already tackled the same problem to determine if their diagnostic and repair technologies-transferred over long distances from an expert to a user-could be used to maintain military equipment. The program would also examine whether advanced distributed-learning technology for the maintenance of one kind of machine could be readily transferred to another-an important issue for reserve components who must maintain a variety of equipment often different from the equipment used by their active counterparts. Streamlined Administrative Processes Current administrative practices, which are both time consuming and labor intensive, cut into training time and slow down mobilization. Although widely available commercial practices and technologies could 4    The committee uses the term pilot program as an umbrella concept that includes one or more tests or experiments on subissues. A test is a highly structured exercise designed to determine if a measured outcome meets or exceeds some standard. An experiment is an exercise in which some control variables are changed to determine their effects.

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces be used to streamline administrative processes, their adoption has been slow despite strenuous efforts by all of the services. This pilot program would evaluate some "quick fixes" and demonstration projects that use advanced database technologies. One goal of the program would be to demonstrate to Congress and the Department of Defense that streamlining procedures could save time and money that could be reallocated to other essential tasks. If this can be demonstrated, it would exert pressure for the implementation of near-term improvements. Telesupport and Remote Staffing With vastly increased bandwidth and computing power, combat units could be linked to technical support units and personnel based in the United States. This capability could reduce the size and vulnerability of units deployed overseas and, at the same time, provide the deployed units with access to the best advice from a wide range of sources. It could also help reserve components retain technical support personnel who might otherwise be discouraged by frequent overseas deployments. The experiments in this pilot program would be used to determine which "remote staffing" technologies and configurations work best. Highlighted Pilot Programs One aspect of improving the integration of reserve components with active components is cultural, and the effect of technical pilot programs on cultures is hard to estimate. Nevertheless, the committee decided to highlight four pilot programs that could shed light on reserve component capabilities and, perhaps, mitigate some of the cultural differences. Each program proposes that the Army Reserves or Army National Guard perform an important, visible task in partnership with active component forces. The committee believes that simply working together on a pilot project would promote trust and improve integration between active and reserve components. The four highlighted programs are described briefly below. Reserve Component Battle-Staff Performance The Army National Guard has about half of the Army's combat forces in its brigades and divisions. Skeptics are doubtful that these units could be trained quickly enough after mobilization to get into the fight. The principal impediment involves training time for high-level commanders and their staffs to work together to hone their leadership and battle-staff skills. This pilot program is designed to explore using modern simulations as part of distance training of the leadership of the Army National Guard. Best-of-Type Competitions The fact that "the reserves often win the annual fighter competition" is often cited as evidence of the capabilities of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. The committee did not find a consensus (or objective data), however, about the capabilities of the Army Reserve. This pilot program would involve experiments featuring competitions using attack helicopters-an important weapon system for all Army components that is also well represented in reserve component units. These competitions could provide objective measures of capabilities (as they do for the Air Force). Competitions might increase incentives for training, reveal new tactics, and engender mutual pride and respect. Reserve Peacekeeping Battle Laboratory Although the Department of Defense has been studying small-scale contingencies, little attention has been paid to the role of the reserve components in these missions. This pilot program would explore the merits of setting up a peacekeeping battle laboratory focused on improving the effectiveness and integration of the reserve components in peacekeeping operations. Continuous Land Warfare The technological superiority of U.S. forces has enabled them to "own the night" (i.e., to operate around the clock and in adverse weather). However, in the early stages of a military operation, there may not be enough personnel to maintain this momentum. A potential solution could be to augment combat support and combat service support units, whose equipment is already in theater, with personnel who have been shipped into theater ahead of their equipment. Experiments would be conducted to address uncertainties, such as (1) the best level of augmentation (e.g., individual, team, or unit); (2) the most effective timing for augmentation; and (3) the merits of using distributed training, exercises, and battle simulations to integrate the reserve component augmentees with their active counterparts.

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces Programs for Immediate Action One focus of this report is improving the readiness of reserve components for deployment by using modern information and communications technologies to improve administrative procedures that now reduce useful training time and impede rapid integration with active components. The committee developed two pilot programs in this area, Management of the Individual Ready Reserve to improve the management of individual ready reservists to fill units more rapidly before deployment, and Reserve Component Automation System to deal with the availability and potential of using a peacetime reserve component computer system after mobilization. After careful consideration, however, the committee concluded that the need for improvements in this area was obvious and that they could be made immediately without waiting for the results of a pilot program. Other Pilot Programs The committee strongly believes that the remaining eight pilot programs developed during this study also merit consideration by the Department of Defense. They are listed in Box ES-1 and are described in the report. In addition to pilot programs, the Department of Defense can take other steps to improve reserve component capabilities and integration. For example, in the two areas discussed above, the Department of Defense can simply begin implementing good business practices without waiting for a pilot program. In other areas, gathering data related to existing practices will BOX ES-1 Other Pilot Programs for Consideration Cadre Units for Peacekeeping Operations Reserve Component Participation in the Aftermath of Incidents Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction Information Technologists in the Total Force Unmanned Vehicles Biosensors Total Force for the Twenty-First Century Helicopter Unit Interfaces with Allies Test-Bed for Active Force Transformation be necessary to determine whether or not changes in policies or the implementation of pilot programs would be beneficial and cost effective. For example, the stability and cohesion of small units may be very important to their effectiveness. However, before relevant pilot programs are developed and implemented, the Department of Defense should gather data on the stability of individuals in small active and reserve units over time to prove or disprove anecdotal reports of high turnover. RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendation 1. The Department of Defense should implement selected pilot programs to provide decision makers with better information on issues affecting reserve components. The four high-priority pilot programs selected by the committee should be included in the initial set of programs. The Department of Defense should give second priority to planning and conducting the four highlighted pilot programs and should also consider the other pilot programs discussed in this report. The significant increase in the use of reserve components should be accompanied by a significant increase in experimentation in the use of new technologies to ensure that reserve components are ready and trained to operate in concert with active components. Recommendation 2. The Department of Defense should develop and consider implementing additional pilot programs on an ongoing basis. The development and initial evaluation of reserve component pilot programs should be conducted jointly by elements of reserve and active components. The Department of Defense could use a selection process similar to the one used for deciding which Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations will be funded. Recommendation 3. The individual military services, using currently available communication and information technologies, should integrate information on reserve and active component personnel. The services should reengineer the processing of information on reserve components and the processing of reserve component personnel upon call-up to eliminate cumbersome and unnecessary transitions between reserve component and active component systems and

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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces to minimize the time spent on administrative procedures. Recommendation 4. The Department of Defense should take immediate action to improve the management of the Individual Ready Reserve and extend the Army's Reserve Component Automation System for use beyond peacetime. Rather than conduct pilot programs in these two areas, the Department of Defense should employ available technologies to help fill units more rapidly before deployment and to use the existing peacetime computer system after mobilization. If necessary, Congress should be asked to change the law and provide funding. Recommendation 5. The Department of Defense should instruct the military services to collect data on the stability of reserve component and active component personnel-specifically, the stability of individuals in small units. The data should be collected in consistent form using standard definitions. The Department of Defense should consider including this data in an integrated database with unit performance data, thereby providing a basis for data mining to search for hidden relationships between best practices and small unit performance. The data should cover, for example, members of tank crews, battle staffs at the battalion or other levels, and maintenance teams for sophisticated equipment. Once these data have been collected and analyzed, the merits of alternative means of improving the stability of individuals in units should be assessed, especially in units where stabilization is essential to performance. REFERENCES DoD (U.S. Department of Defense). 1995. Directions for Defense. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense, Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces. CJCS (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff). 1996. Joint Vision 2010. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.