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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces 1 Introduction This report contains the results of the National Research Council study to (1) characterize the future technological environment that could influence the role of reserve components in support of active components, (2) determine how technological advances could affect the readiness, mission effectiveness, and integration of reserve components with active components, and (3) describe a range of pilot programs, tests, and experiments to investigate ways of improving the effectiveness and integration of reserve components. BACKGROUND The armed forces of the United States are composed of active components (full-time military personnel) and reserve components (military personnel who serve part time in the National Guard and other reserve forces). To reduce the size and cost of the peacetime military establishment, the United States has traditionally called on its citizens to augment the armed forces in times of need, either voluntarily or through the draft. Historically, the reserve components have been, and remain today, the first echelon to augment the active components in times of national emergency1 (Kriedberg and Henry, 1955). In the aftermath of the Cold War, the U.S. armed forces are expected to (1) deter and, if necessary, fight and win two nearly simultaneous major-theater wars; and (2) conduct a wide range of other operations around the world, such as peacekeeping operations. In recent years, the U.S. armed forces have been engaged in operations three to four times as often as during the Cold War (Collins, 1998). At the same time, the number of active component personnel has fallen to its lowest level since prior to World War II (DoD, 1999b). As a result, reserve components, whose strength now approximately equals that of active components, have been called upon not only to prepare for war but also to augment active components in a variety of ways in peacetime. This new arrangement is consistent with Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen's announcement in September 1997: Our goal, as we move into the twenty-first century, must be a seamless total force that provides the national command authorities the flexibility and interoperability necessary for the full range of military operations. We cannot achieve this as separate components. Much progress has already been made. We must continue to work towards the principles of total force and achieve full integration of the reserve and active components. (DoD, 1997a) The growing dependence of the armed forces on reserve components-part-time personnel who must detach themselves from their full-time civilian occupations before reporting for military duty-comes at a time when potential adversaries may attack with little or no warning and when the armed forces are still searching for ways of meeting high operational demands and, simultaneously, modernizing equipment to 1 The military value of the reserve components has been their readiness to serve with a minimum of refresher training. Today, reserve units are already configured into functioning elements, are fully equipped, and are familiar with the requirements of their positions. By contrast, volunteers and draftees must begin with the rudiments of military training and normally enter at the lowest levels of the military structure as individual fillers and replacements. Volunteers and draftees are not usually available for duty for several months after their induction.
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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces protect our future national security interests. In the 1998 Summer Study, the Defense Science Board acknowledges that maintaining the military's capability to respond very quickly is a significant challenge. 2 If reserve components could improve their reaction times, they could improve the flexibility of the total force.3 Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces As the Department of Defense realigns to meet post-Cold-War national-security requirements, the roles of the military services and their reserve components are under constant congressional scrutiny. The Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces established by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994 noted that "information technologies, space, stealth, and precision-guided weapons will be increasingly important to military success" (DoD, 1995). The report's recommendations for using the reserve components as part of the total force fall under a general directive to "Further Integrate the Reserve Components." There are ways that Department of Defense can make better use of the Reserve Components. Some reserve forces are not organized, trained, or equipped appropriately for the types of operations they are likely to face in the future... (DoD, 1995.) The report further recommended the following: ...where significant uncertainties or differences of opinion exist, we recommend Department of Defense 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) In recognition of the technological expertise of the National Research Council, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs requested its assistance in assessing how advanced technologies could affect the performance of both active components and reserve components. The Statement of Task below defines the terms of the study. Statement of Task The National Research Council will perform the following major study tasks: Within the national security visions of the future (2010 and beyond), as estimated by government and other sources, characterize the technological environment that could influence the roles of the reserve components in support of active components and Commanders in Chief in consideration of both peacetime and wartime contingencies. Using information provided by the Department of Defense, industry, and other sources, assess the technologies available, or potentially available to the U.S. reserve and active components over the next 10 to 20 years (as well as to allies and potential enemies) and determine how technological advances could affect readiness of personnel, including effective/efficient training; mission effectiveness of the reserve components; and the integration of the reserve components with the active components. Describe a range of scientific and technical pilot programs (and their constituent tests and experiments) that will produce valid data if selected and implemented by Department of Defense. The spectrum of pilot programs should shed light on how to achieve greater reserve component effectiveness and integration in light of major changes in technology and how they affect the way Department of Defense fights future wars and maintains military presence. In general, in light of the then-anticipated technological environment, the study will identify methodologies for Department of Defense to gather data on the broadest set of opportunities for efficient total-force integration after 2010. The National Research Council established the Committee on Reserve Forces for 2010 and Beyond to conduct the study. According to the Statement of Task, this study is confined to findings related to science and technology and does not include assessments of roles and missions or the size of the reserve components. This constraint was considered repeatedly during the study, and the committee has refrained from taking a position on nontechnical solutions to problems. Nevertheless, many challenges to "efficient total-force integration" do not lend themselves to technological solutions. The committee readily acknowledges that 2 Data in the Defense Science Board report indicate that, currently, the U.S. military can influence events in 8 to 36 hours through bombers; 8 to 168 hours through naval forces; and 96 hours through land forces (the ground early entry force) (DoD, 1998d). 3 The reaction times of reserve components vary widely. They are discussed in Chapter 3.
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Technology-Based Pilot Programs: Improving Future U.S. Military Reserve Forces technologies alone cannot solve all of the problems associated with integrating active and reserve components.4 Committee Process The members of the committee were selected for their expertise in a wide range of disciplines and their experience in technology development, experimental design, and issues relating to the military. To augment this knowledge, the committee familiarized itself with the strategies and long-range plans of the Department of Defense and the individual services, especially as they involved the reserve components and future applications of technology. The committee also investigated some technologies being pursued outside the Department of Defense to assess their applicability. The data-gathering phase of the study continued over the course of the first five committee meetings through a series of briefings by and discussions with representatives of many elements of the Department of Defense, including the individual services, the joint staff, and the reserve components; various industries; organizations that conduct studies or research for the government; and representatives of Israel, an allied nation well known for the successful integration of its reserve and active components (see Appendix A). The committee also reviewed written information in the open literature and from some experts who were unable to attend the meetings. REPORT ROAD MAP Chapter 2 contains background information on current reserve components in the context of the total U.S. military force. Chapter 3 characterizes the emerging national security and technological environments, as well as the potential effects of advanced technologies on the participation of future reserve components in a wide variety of missions. Chapter 4 summarizes the pilot programs developed by the committee, including associated tests and experiments. Chapter 5 describes the eight pilot programs that the committee believes merit the greatest attention by the Department of Defense. Detailed descriptions of the remaining pilot programs are given in Appendix B. In Chapter 6, the committee presents its conclusions and recommendations. 4 For the purposes of this report, the committee defines integration of active and reserve components as the process of uniting these components into a total force that can be maintained at reasonable cost in peacetime without compromising wartime output. In this integration process, the units are melded into a fighting force without relinquishing their individual identities, and reserve components are joined with active components to accomplish missions.
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