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Ready, Reliable, and Relevant: The Army Reserve Component as an Operational Reserve

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,21 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Army Reserve Component RC has a major role in Americas Global War on Terror GWOT. Over the past decade and a half, the Army National Guard ARNG and the United States Army Reserve USAR have mobilized hundreds of thousands of Soldiers in support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to numerous other missions worldwide and throughout the Continental United States CONUS. They have proven their capabilities and exceeded operational expectations, successfully transitioning from the strategic reserve force of the Cold War era to a well-trained and experienced operational reserve force of the GWOT era. The problem facing the Department of Defense DOD, is determining the future utilization of RC forces, specifically their operational role, their implementation, and the development of a suitable mobilization authority that will support a broad spectrum of future operational requirements. This monograph presents two primary arguments. First, the Army RC should continue its role as an operational reserve in support of future operational requirements. Second, continuing the use of the Army RC as an operational reserve requires the implementation of a new mobilization authority, one that will be more lasting, functional, and suitable for the current operating environment. This monograph presents two key proposals including the sustainment of the RC as an operational reserve, and a comprehensive plan for the implementation of a new mobilization authority. The action plan for these proposals includes a recommended framework and guidelines for a new mobilization authority that will achieve the goals of maintaining the use of RC forces as an operational reserve while modernizing the mobilization process to meet the demands of the current operating environment.

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