Conclusions and Recommendations
National Security Environment
Conclusion 1. Four significant trends important to the U.S. military that are expected to continue are: (1) increasing globalization of business, with relatively rapid transfers of technology; (2) increasing access by unfriendly foreign governments and nongovernmental entities to relatively sophisticated weapons and weapons of mass destruction; (3) tensions among and within nations that could require the rapid deployment of U.S. military capabilities; and (4) increasing pressure to reduce U.S. defense spending.
Conclusion 2. The future missions for reserve components could range from very small missions, such as small peacekeeping operations, to major missions, such as the augmentation of active forces in major-theater wars.
In addition to working with active components in fully integrated operations, reserve components could also be assigned the primary responsibility for providing the bulk of the forces to carry out some military missions, such as homeland defense against missile attacks (similar to their long-standing participation in the air defense of the United States).
Conclusion 3. In all likelihood, reserve components will be asked to respond rapidly for most future combat missions involving major force units. Mobilization times are likely to be measured in weeks or days rather than months for deployments overseas or for reserve components remaining in the United States to support other forces overseas.
Conclusion 4. Advanced technologies will have a profound effect on the capabilities of both active and reserve components between now and 2010.
Most of the impact of advanced technologies related to combat systems, such as precision-guided weapons that can be used in all types of weather, will be common to both the active and reserve components. In most respects, the effects on both components will be positive. However, if advanced technologies are deployed unevenly among the active and reserve components, integration could be adversely affected.
Conclusion 5. Communications and information technologies have the most potential for improving reserve component capabilities compared to the capabilities of the active components.
Communications technologies are providing substantial increases in bandwidth every year (i.e., vastly increasing the capacity to move large volumes of data quickly). Information technologies are providing dramatic increases in computing power and the capacity for worldwide access to information by users on either secured or unsecured intranets. The incredible brawn and speed of these technologies will give individuals unparalleled control over goods, services, and activities, all but eliminating the barriers of time and distance. Therefore, communications and information technologies will be especially important for improving the integration of reserve and active components, improving the readiness of reserve components for action, and enhancing the ability of reserve components to carry out future missions.
Effect of Technologies on Reserve Components
Conclusion 6. Capabilities of the reserve components can be increased (1) by improving their readiness for rapid deployment or (2) by creating remote organizations that can support deployed forces.
Improving the readiness (and integration) of reserve and active components will depend on: (1) readiness to deploy more rapidly (e.g., better trained individuals on call-up, faster administrative processing, more efficient post-mobilization training); or (2) creating remote organizations with sufficient communications capability to support deployed forces from the continental United States.
Conclusion 7. Communications and information technologies are the technical keys to improving the readiness of reserve components to serve alongside active components.
Innovative uses of technology-for example, increasing the availability of information workstations and providing training for reserve components in their duty locations or even in their homes-could free more weekend and annual training time for improving unit proficiency. New types of simulations will also improve training for the reserve components, which will make integration with active components easier. In addition, the interval between mobilization and deployment can be shortened by taking advantage of uniform, rapidly updateable databases and database management systems.
Conclusion 8. As available communications bandwidth increases, more remote support units could be used to support deployed forces from their home bases. The increased use of "remote staffs" will be one of the most important effects of technology on integration.
Conclusion 9. The pilot programs described in this report (and others that could be developed) can be of great value to the Department of Defense.
Pilot programs, tests, and experiments offer relatively low-cost opportunities for exploring the use of technologies and demonstrating the feasibility of innovative concepts. Pilot programs could also improve the integration of reserve and active components by improving their confidence in each other's capabilities through increased interaction on several levels in a nonthreatening environment.
Conclusion 10. In addition to pilot programs, the Department of Defense could take other steps to improve reserve component capabilities and integration.
In some areas (e.g., administration) the Department of Defense could immediately implement good business practices. In other areas (e.g., the stability of small units over time), the Department of Defense will have to gather data on existing practices to determine whether or not changes in policies or the implementation of pilot programs would be beneficial and cost effective.
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 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.