ACCESSION NUMBER:327823 FILE ID:POL503 DATE:02/18/94 TITLE:DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (02/18/94) TEXT:*94021803.POL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (Readiness) (290) U.S. MILITARY READINESS AS HIGH AS EVER BEEN The readiness of U.S. military forces is as high as it has ever been, says Defense Secretary Perry, but he is looking to reading a forthcoming study on how "to avoid future problems of readiness deficiencies." The study, an interim report of the Task Force on Readiness, was welcomed by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman John Shalikashvili, who said February 18 that having forces ready "to fight and win" is the military's "first priority." Retired Army General Edward Meyer, who headed the Defense Science Board's study, said his panel focused on the capability of current and future conventional and unconventional forces to respond rapidly to two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts, militarily address small contingencies, and provide special capabilities such as peacekeeping or humanitarian assistance. For the U.S. to fight in two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts today would be "difficult" because it hasn't fully developed the needed integrated command, control, communications, computer and intelligence assets needed to support joint military operations. He also cited a potential shortfall in strategic lift capability. Meyer said the interim report urges the Pentagon to work with Congress to create a contingency funding system which won't delay or disrupt the flow of money needed to maintain readiness of forces which aren't engaged in special contingency operations. The report notes that near-term readiness has been reduced in the Army by its practice of borrowing military personnel to carry out tasks unrelated to their military missions and in the Air Force, where a critical spare parts shortage has been caused by the rapid military drawdown. NNNN .