Monday, January 31, 2011

McCarthy Sees Reserve as Answer to Strained Force and Belt-Tightening

Dennis McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for Reserve Affairs, said Monday that many who used to see the Reserve Component as a strategic force that is used “once in a lifetime,” now understand that it will never be that way again.

Speaking at the first-ever Reserve Officers Association (ROA) National Security Symposium, Mr. McCarthy emphasized that these ideas have changed significantly. Along with declining budgets, of which many symposium speakers have noted, it’s the Reserves who will likely get the call in the future.

Secretary McCarthy speaks at the Symposium
“We’re going to continue to need a force that can deploy worldwide for a variety of missions—a full spectrum of missions—perhaps not the least of which will be missions that are designed to prevent war, not to wage it or to engage in it,” he said.

He also noted that the Active Component continues to live under short dwell-to-deploy timeframes, and often times, even dwell time is punctuated with other duties and assignments that impact the long-term dwell times for the force. He suggested the Reserve Component as an answer to this dilemma.

But it all must be done with declining dollars.

“Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates has already announced a number of ways to change the way the department spends money,” Mr. McCarthy said. “[And] we understand that most of the deployments of the Reserve Components over the last nine or 10 years have come from supplemental funding, outside of the regular budget.”

As demand in Iraq and Afghanistan decreases, so must the funding, he said.

“The Reserve Components [are] positioned, I’d suggest to you, to play an important role in putting forth a full spectrum force around the world in an efficient and cost effective way.”
Mr. McCarthy also commented on the symposium itself, suggesting such forums were crucial for a better understanding and interest in the Reserve Component.

“The Reserve Officers Association is one of a very, very few organizations, enterprises in Washington that would conduct an event like this,” he said. “And if you don’t do it, it’s unlikely to get done; and if you don’t continue to do it, it’s certainly not going to get done at the level that it needs to be.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is easy for someone like McCarthy, who isn't in today's modern reserve forces, to think the reserves can be 'national security on the cheap.' The truth is that most reservists have deployed multiple times, face issues with unhappy employers, and strained families. This is not a good plan.