[Top] [Bottom] [Previous] [Next] [TOC]
The demands of todayís international security environment mean that the United States requires the best trained, best equipped, and best prepared military forces in the world, capable of performing a wide range of missions effectively. Recruiting, training, retaining, equipping, and providing for these forces is an ambitious undertaking and the number one priority of the Department of Defense. The Departmentís plan for the FY 2000 budget, and that of successive years, focuses on this priority with pay increases and retirement boosts, as well as many other important readiness initiatives, both short and long term. This will ensure the nationís military readiness is robust well into the next century.
AMERICA'S FORCE IS READY
Todayís military is ready. Overall, the U.S. armed forces remain the most capable in the world. The U.S. military is capable of executing the National Military Strategy, including two overlapping major theater wars, while continuing to meet Americaís many security obligations throughout the world. In the past year, U.S. forces have effectively responded to diverse missions, including evacuating the U.S. embassy in the Congo, executing combat operations in the Persian Gulf, responding to the African embassy bombings, and executing strikes against terrorists in response to those bombings.
The Departmentís forward-deployed and first-to-fight units have distinguished themselves and the nation in these peacekeeping and contingency operations, and their readiness continues to be high. But in spite of the tremendous success in a number of overseas operations, wear is showing on the military as a whole and beginning to take a toll on readiness. With these signs of strain beginning to appear, the Department, in cooperation with Congress, has plans to relieve the stress on its military forces. The FY 2000 budget, as part of a strong five-year plan, calls for aggressive programs to robust short- and long-term readiness.
Stopping the decline in readiness will take some time, however, as strain and wear have accompanied the Departmentís success. While the readiness of the armed forces is much higher than during the 1970s and early 1980s, signs of stress have been apparent in readiness indicators and informal field reports. Challenges in recruiting quality people, retaining experienced personnel, maintaining aging equipment, and managing a historically high operating tempo have led to downturns in readiness. Working together, the Administration, the Department, and Congress have taken aggressive steps to turn around these trends and keep the U.S. military the best in the world.
READINESS AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
Americaís leadership in world affairs relies on ready military forces. Because U.S. forces are organized and trained to support the National Security Strategy, they must be prepared for, and on occasion must engage in, operations that support the full spectrum of national interests.
Shaping the International Environment
The U.S. military plays an essential role in building coalitions and shaping the international environment in ways that protect and promote U. S. interests. On a day-to-day basis, U.S. defense efforts help to promote regional stability, prevent or reduce conflict and threats, and deter aggression and coercion.
Responding to the Full Spectrum of Crises
Despite these efforts to shape the international security environment, the U.S. military will, at times, be called upon to respond to crises in order to protect U.S. interests, demonstrate U.S. resolve, and reaffirm the role of the United States as global leader. Therefore, U.S. forces must also be able to execute the full spectrum of military operations. These include deterring an adversaryís aggression or coercion in crisis, conducting concurrent smaller-scale contingency operations, and fighting and winning major theater wars. Forces must be ready to meet the demands of the National Military Strategy in terms of:
∑ Meeting mobilization and deployment timelines.
∑ Successfully engaging in assigned military operations and tasks.
∑ Disengaging, refitting, retraining, and redeploying if necessary.
Keeping U.S. forces ready to fight requires an appropriate force structure, modernized equipment, adequate maintenance, training and logistics support, and the requisite trained and motivated personnel. A deficiency in any of these elements can hurt readiness. In managing readiness, the Department strives to maintain a balance among these crucial elements to ensure that forces arrive on time and fully capable to meet mission demands.
Readiness is the foundation of U.S. military credibility as an instrument of national power. Difficult decisions lie ahead to ensure the Department strikes the right balance between near-term readiness, modernization, and providing the good quality of life that military personnel deserve. The need to maintain combat ready forces to deploy on short notice is clear and remains unchanged. Changing threat scenarios, coupled with aging equipment, drive the need for force modernization. But the most critical component of the Departmentís future systems will continue to be its high quality personnel, and keeping these outstanding people remains a near- and long-term requirement. To that end, improving the quality of life for the nationís soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines is a crucial part of the readiness equation. Although the Departmentís plans should significantly improve readiness, reversing these adverse trends will be neither quick nor easy. Meeting the Departmentís goals in todayís dynamic environment will continue to present challenges.
Challenge: Recruiting the Ready Forces of the Future
U.S. forces are the best in the world, largely because of the quality of the people who comprise those forces. Threats to U.S. security and emerging technology make quality service members more valuable than ever. While the Department is still attracting the best and brightest, the nationís strong economy, the growing anxiety about military pay and retirement, and a declining propensity to serve among young Americans have made recruiting increasingly difficult. To address these rising concerns, the Department, with the full support of the Administration, plans to add $2.5 billion to the personnel accounts in FY 2000. This increase funds pay and retirement benefits for DoD personnel as well as critical recruiting initiatives in all the Services.
Challenge: Retaining the Ready Force
To maintain highly capable forces, it is important to retain individuals needed as middle and senior leaders. Retention issues are emerging as a result of combined economic and quality of life issues. On recent base visits, Secretary Cohen found among military members concerns with pay, housing, health care, retirement compensation, and the pace of deployments. Retention problems are for the most part not yet threatening readiness, but shortages in certain skills and specialties such as pilots, machinists, and information technology specialists are becoming critical. Congress approved a 3.6 percent pay raise for FY 1999. DoDís budgeted pay raise of 4.4 percent for FY 2000 shows a commitment to keep service membersí pay competitive. In addition, an improved military retirement plan further demonstrates the Administrationís and Departmentís resolve to improve the lives of military personnel and make a military career attractive.
Challenge: Managing Time Away From Home
Deployments are part of military life. But as the size of the armed forces has been reduced and as DoD has reduced overseas base infrastructure, the number and frequency of overseas deployments have increased. The impact on military personnel as a result of this increase in tempo has been significant. Spending more time away from home station places greater stress on both individuals and families. Increasing deployments can also place a greater strain on personnel remaining at home because their workload increases dramatically to cover for deployed personnel. This results in a downward training spiral that decreases morale. It is necessary to balance the needs of the military in terms of training, exercises, and peacetime operations with the needs of military families for stability and predictable tempo. To that end, the Department has taken the following steps to better monitor the peacetime tempo of the force:
∑ Each Service is addressing its specific personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO) concerns and has developed metrics reported on a monthly basis and derived from the following goals:
∑∑ The Army limits the number of deployed days for a single unit, in a single deployment, to 179. While the Army Chief of Staff will consider extensions on a case-by-case basis, the Army goal is no more than 120 days deployed per year.
∑∑ The Navy manages PERSTEMPO through its deployment cycle of a maximum deployed length of six months, with a minimum turnaround time between deployments equal to twice the length of the deployment.
∑∑ The Marine Corps has established the goal of a unit deployment length of six months and seeks a time between deployments equal to twice the length of the deployment.
∑∑ The Air Force has limited the number of deployed days in a single deployment to 179 and has established a goal of military members being away from home station no more than 120 days per year. Expeditionary Air Forces are designed to improve predictability and stability by moving to ten Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEFs) that are designed to deploy rapidly.
∑ The Global Military Force Policy (GMFP) systematically manages low-density, high-demand forces to ensure their capabilities are efficiently allocated to each theater based on prioritized commander in chief (CINC) requirements. This policy also attempts to manage excessive tempo for high demand units, thereby increasing long-term readiness. There are very few of these units, such as the Airborne Warning and Control Systems, yet they are called upon to support almost all contingency operations. GMFP establishes deployment thresholds for these units and makes the Secretary of Defense the approving authority for deployments exceeding the threshold. The policy encourages optimal use of the units across all CINC mission, while discouraging overuse of selected units and maintaining required levels of unit training.
∑ The Department continues to develop a centralized repository for PERSTEMPO data. When fully operational, DoD will be able to monitor deployment demands placed on service members.
The Department will continue to develop additional initiatives as needed to regulate excessive personnel tempo.
Challenge: Training the Forces
The Departmentís training objective is to ensure that U.S. forces have the highest quality education and training, tailored to needs, delivered cost-effectively whenever and wherever required. DoDís challenge is to modernize its training policies and processes to ensure that U.S. forces are ready.
The Joint Training System is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffís program to align joint training requirements with assigned missions. The system shapes the way the armed forces train for future military operations and translates the Joint Vision 2010 concepts into an achievable process. It improves the quality of joint training and the readiness of forces by enabling joint experimentation, joint doctrine, and joint exercises.
SERVICE UNIT TRAINING
Unit training is a key building block to Service readiness. During unit training, individuals and teams complete essential training required for unit readiness. The military departments continue to pursue vigorous unit training programs. To ensure highly ready forces in times of crisis, the Department continues to give special emphasis to unit training resources for first deploying forces.
The Departmentís training will involve new environments and methods of learning and performance aiding. It will use information technologies to provide an integrated global network of knowledge resources. It will be more distributed, adaptive, and tailored to operational missions and tasks. In particular, DoD will take advantage of key advances in learning technology, which will overcome obstacles that precluded widespread application of training technology in the past. DoD is working diligently to implement technology-based training that can be used across the Department on a broad range of platforms, that is reusable for a number of applications, and that can be delivered over a network. This promises to improve readiness and make training programs more cost-effective.
∑ Modeling and Simulation. Todayís operations involve joint/interservice interactions at organizational levels lower than envisioned in traditionally designed military force structure and doctrine. The Department is using advanced modeling and simulation technology to allow less expensive, more realistic, and more frequent joint command and control training. The Joint Simulation System is the principal simulation network that will guide training units and staffs, joint task forces, CINC staffs, and interagency personnel in the full range of missions across all phases of military operations. It will globally connect training audiences to allow distance training without deployment and will enhance the exploration and evaluation of new operational concepts and joint force experimentation.
∑ Embedded Training. Because each operation is unique, forces require additional on-the-spot training to prepare for new roles. Embedding training in the unit itself, either on the operational platform or in a deployable training device such as a simulator, allows just-in-time training tailored to the immediate situation.
∑ Advanced Distributed Learning Methodologies and Technologies. With advanced distributed learning (ADL), the Department can take training, education, and performance mentoring to the learner, and teach or reinforce individual, collective, and joint critical skills anywhere, anytime. ADL learning technologies will permit people to access knowledge as required based on their learning needs. ADL will provide high quality education faster, at lower cost, and enhance readiness.
Challenge: Medical Readiness
Medical readiness, which remains the Military Health Systemís primary focus, is composed of four interrelated domains: battlefield medicine; protecting the health of the force; medical operations in smaller-scale contingency operations; and medical support of the Departmentís role in domestic preparedness against weapons of mass destruction. Significant progress has been made in designing a joint health strategy for the next century and in implementing efforts to protect the health of the force. To this end, DoD developed the Joint Health Service Support Vision 2010óFull Spectrum Health, which supports the Chairmanís Joint Vision 2010 and will become the conceptual framework for developing and providing military health services into the 21st century.
Implementing lessons learned from Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, the Department has embarked on an aggressive campaign to develop and implement a force health protection (FHP) strategy for sustaining and preserving the health of the force as part of the larger Force Protection Program. This new strategy leverages technology to better monitor and protect the health of deployed forces. It surveys potential water, soil, and air hazards of deployment environments. Health information is collected before and after deployment through survey completions, serum collection, and other tests. Service members are immunized with appropriate agents to meet biologic threats posed by the environment or the enemy and issued protective clothing and other gear to protect them from harmful agents. Meanwhile, service members are trained how to live, fight, and survive under chemical and biologic warfare conditions. Records of this training become part of the force health protection database.
The comprehensive medical surveillance program, one component of FHP, has been implemented for all operational deployments. In Bosnia, this program proved to be a major factor in the lowest number of non-battle injury incidents of any previous deployment.
A linchpin of FHP is accurate capture of information regarding all service members and then rapid access to it. The Medical Personnel Information Carrier, an electronic medical dog tag, will document important health and exposure information for all deployed personnel and will travel with all members during every deployment. Information will be uploaded prior to deployment and be available in theater. The Personnel Information Carrier is being operationally tested and will be deployed in 1999.
On December 15, 1997, Secretary Cohen approved a plan to vaccinate the armed forces against biological warfare agent anthrax, and on May 18, 1998, he approved implementation of that plan. It is a time-phase implementation plan that requires forces in high threat areas to receive the anthrax vaccination first. Eventually, all 2.4 million military service members in the active and reserve components will receive the FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine. The phased vaccination program will take six to seven years to complete.
Smaller-scale contingencies and DoDís role in support of the consequence management aspect of Domestic Preparedness both carry responsibilities for military medicine. Operations dedicated to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping frequently include or are solely supported by military medical personnel. These operations help to build international coalitions and promote U.S. interests, as well as to provide training experiences for medical personnel. Regarding Domestic Preparedness, DoD works in close collaboration with other federal agencies to plan for, and test, a variety of possible medical responses in the event of an attack with weapons of mass destruction.
MEETING THE READINESS CHALLENGE
The Department and the Administration, with congressional support, are meeting these challenges head-on in order to stop readiness declines. The FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, already signed into law, added $1.3 billion to readiness accounts in all the Services. Adding to these initiatives is the Administrationís and Departmentís plan to plus up FY 2000 funding by $12 billion, and to increase the FY 2000 to FY 2005 funding for DoD by a total of $110 billion, to turn around the downward readiness trends. Many of these resources will go to each Serviceís principal readiness shortfalls:
∑ The Army will increase funds for flying hours, training, improving barracks, and installation improvement.
∑ Navy funding will increase flying hours, ship maintenance, and spare parts.
∑ The Air Force increase will fund spare parts, recruiting and retention, and new engines.
∑ The Marine Corps will replace aging vehicles and buy new communications gear, engineering equipment, and training ammunition.
These resources pave the way for not only stopping readiness declines, but for raising readiness to higher levels. This is a five-year effort that will require continued commitment from both the Department and Congress. The good news is that the downward trends should stop soon.
The Departmentís soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have done a remarkable job managing the changes that have affected them since the end of the Cold War. Even as force structure has declined by more than 35 percent worldwide, the nation has maintained an effective global military presence. The recent additional appropriations reflect the continued dedication and cooperation of the Department, the Administration, and Congress not only to stop declines in readiness, but to reverse the indicators and post positive trends. This will not be easy, as the solutions to readiness issues will require focus and energy over a long period. These efforts will set the stage for future readiness and ensure the United States will continue to have the best trained, best equipped, best led force in the world.
[Top] [Bottom] [Previous] [Next] [TOC]