Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Active to Reserve: Transferring Missions to Cut Spending

Last week, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Col.) submitted a plan to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, suggesting that 100,000 soldiers be removed from Active Duty end strength and be transferred to the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard. According to Coffman, this would achieve a $90 billion savings in personnel cost over a ten year period.

Congressman Coffman gave the example that the average cost of a U.S. Army soldier is $130,000 per year while that same soldier cost $43,000 in the National Guard and $37,000 in the Army Reserve. Currently, the military has 1.42 million on active duty with 740,000 in the National Guard and Reserve. Cost of a mobilized Reservist would be about the same, but the saving would occur during the four to five years of Selected Reserve Time between mobilizations.

The topic of transferring missions from Active Duty to the Reserve Component has been given serious consideration in the Pentagon. As suggested in the recommendations by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserve, this has led to a comprehensive study by DoD Reserve Affairs. The Military Times reported last spring that “leaders of the National Guard and Army Reserve are looking to theater security cooperation missions as a way to keep their forces ready, even as demand for boots on the ground.”

Legislation is being considered in the Senate that would authorize “assured access” to 60,000 Reservists a year, even after the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Missions would have to be pre-planned and budgeted in advanced by the President. The House is suspicious of this concept, fearing that this will give any such authority to the service secretaries and thus are hesitant to permit a peacetime Title 10 call-up of National Guard and Reserve members.

“This strategy works if the National Guard is prohibited from deploying beyond America's borders except in the event of a declared war or national emergency," Doug Macgregor told Defense.AOL.COM A longtime advocate of changes to new force structure for the Army and Marines, Mr. Macgregor added, “This is a strategy I would strongly support, particularly if the Guard is refocused on homeland security and disaster relief."

ROA was a leader on this issue last spring, testifying before both the Senate and House about transferring manpower and resources from the Active Duty into the Reserve Component. In addition we have submitted letters of support for “assured access” as it will provide flexibility, maintain an operational reserve, and will eventually permit Title 10 Reservists to respond to domestic emergencies.


Anonymous said...

If we had done this in the 90s, instead of playing politics with "shared pain" cuts, the bench would not have gone empty so quickly this time around.

cavcol said...

What are the individuals who are transferred to the Reserves and National Guard going to do for a living? Is there a plan in place or has anyone thought about how these transferred active duty personnel are going to support themselves. Drill pay is not enough to support a person or a family. With out a guaranteed job the MOS/AFSC/RATING mismatch would be horrendous. These units that are part of the strategic Reserve and National Guard have to be trained well enough to be in theater within 30 days of call up. Has anyone thought of how this is going to be accomplished? Right now in the junior officer ranks in the Army Reserve there is such a mismatch of officers in slots that they do not have branch qualification in the branch required by the slot. How are you going to fix that? The reason for the mismatch is the Reserve has to take the officers that are in the geographic proximity of the slot or are willing to travel a distance to have a paid drill slot.

Anonymous said...

While I think this is a good idea. This is not as easy as everyone thinks. If you are taking active duty units and turning them into Reserve or NG units takes a lot of planning and years in the making. There has to be stationing plans, the active duty positions must be moved to the USAR or NG, facilities have to be identified. If no facilities are available the USAR or NG have to POM for Military Construction. That would take at least 8 year to get completed. So would there even be a savings by doing this. The Senator is only looking at the salary cost, not all the other costs associated with this move. Sounds good but I doubt the savings is there.

Lew Gorman III said...

With the proposed Active to Reserve mission transfer there will certainly be transition costs and operationally phased-in timelines, this is an initiative that should be supported, especially by those who have served in the Reserves and know its capabilities, as proven time and again.
I look at this as a mission transfer vs a personnel transfer. I don't see Active personnel being involuntarily transferred to the Reserves/Guard (is it still call Compo 3). Getting qualified officers in units is nothing new for Compo 3. Assistance with Reserve career management would assist with matching officers with positions. The Reserve component can do this in a timely fashion if properly funded. It may cut some of projected cost savings in the near term, but savings should still be signficant in the intermediate and long term without loss of mission effectiveness. If this occurred years ago, we'd be capturing savings. Lets get behind this.