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US Army National Guard: Rising to Meet the Challenges of Serving in the Operational Force and Operational Reserve

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2017,31 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates issued policy guidance to the Department of Defense to treat the Reserve Components as part of the operational forces. Four years later, the Department of the Army issued Directive 2012-08 to revise policy for integration of the Active and Reserve Components as part of the Army total force. As part of the total force, the Army National Guard contributes to the full range of missions as within the Armys force generation plans. In this role, Army National Guard Soldiers must offer strategic depth as an operational reserve and retain the ability to sustain contributions to the operational force as required. Changes are necessary to ensure that the total force becomes an increasingly capable warfighting organization possessing the operational capacity to win. Several variables significantly affect the Army National Guards ability to perform effectively and in a sustainable manner as part of both the operational force and the operational reserve. Among them are cultural bias across the Active and Reserve Components, meaningful alignment of Army National Guard formations with Regular Army units that increases interoperability, budgetary limitations under sequestration that result in unfulfilled promises that weaken trust, and the lack of an integrated personnel management system. This monograph will examine these four areas to summarize some associated challenges and support recommendations that enable the Army National Guards current role within the Armys operational force while concurrently serving as a cornerstone of an operational reserve comprised of units identified across the Total Force based on tiered levels of the readiness.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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