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.