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Chapter 8


Implemented in 1973, the Total Force Policy has continued to guide decisions about how the manpower resources available to the Department of Defense—active, reserve, retired military, federal civilian, contractor, and allied support personnel—are structured to protect the nation’s interests. As the Department seeks to improve operating efficiencies, maintaining the integrated capabilities of the Total Force remains essential for the U.S. defense strategy to succeed. Because reserve components can provide substantial capability within a smaller defense budget, they have been called upon increasingly to contribute within the Total Force. These elements of the Total Force must be seamlessly integrated to achieve the new levels of proficiency required to successfully conduct joint and combined operations—now and in the future.


There are five armed forces in the United States defense structure: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Within each armed force, there is an active component (AC) and at least one reserve component (RC). The Army and Air Force each have two reserve components.

Active Component

The active component comprises those men and women assigned to units or special accounts in the active military force structure.

Reserve Component

There are seven reserve components: the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve. The reserve components provide trained units and qualified men and women for active duty in time of war or national emergency and at other times in support of the National Military Strategy.

Within the reserve components, personnel serve in one of three manpower management categories: the Ready Reserve, the Standby Reserve, or the Retired Reserve. The Ready Reserve is made up of three subgroups: the Selected Reserve, the Individual Ready Reserve, and the Inactive National Guard. There is no Standby Reserve in the Army National Guard or Air National Guard.


Vision and Challenge

Achieving a seamless Total Force requires command emphasis on supporting the principles of Total Force integration. Progress towards improved integration of reserve and active components depends on the ability of key military and civilian leaders to create an environment that eliminates all residual barriers—structural and cultural—for effective integration. To achieve effective integration, the following basic principles must be applied consistently:

· Clearly understood responsibility for and ownership of the Total Force by senior leaders.

· Clear and mutual understanding of the mission for each unit—active, Guard, and Reserve—in Service and joint/combined operations, during peace and war.

· Commitment to provide the resources needed to accomplish assigned missions.

· Leadership by senior commanders—active, Guard, and Reserve—to ensure the readiness of the Total Force.

Total Force and the National Military Strategy

Since the Cold War, the National Guard and Reserve have become a larger percentage of the Total Force and are essential partners in a wide range of military operations, from smaller-scale contingencies to major theater war. Guard and Reserve forces provide trained units and individuals to fight in wartime and to support the wide range of DoD operations in peacetime. Today, reserve forces are included in all war plans, and no major military operation can be successful without them.

Reserve components are being called upon more frequently and for longer periods in peacetime than ever before because of high operating and personnel tempo demands on the active component. Because this trend is expected to continue, the Department is making major changes to doctrine, training, education, and materiel to ensure reserve components can rapidly deploy when needed.

Optimally Balancing the Seamless Total Force

The Quadrennial Defense Review concluded that national leaders must have a range of viable options for promoting and protecting U.S. interests in peacetime, during crises, and in war. The demonstrated potential of the reserve components to provide increased military capability at a lower overall cost is influencing changes in the mix of active, reserve, and civilian forces. The Total Force increasingly will depend on the reserve components to serve in their traditional role as a hedge against uncertainty and also to provide a more robust and blended deployable force to ease operating and personnel tempo.


Active/Reserve Components and Allied Joint Operations

Each Service routinely provides and will continue to provide indispensable, mission-essential reserve component forces to accomplish a multiplicity of global missions.

Reserve components are essential to operations in and supporting the Bosnia peacekeeping force. As of October 1998, 16,528 Guardsmen and Reservists have served in this effort and returned to civilian life, while another 800 are on active duty. RC forces have been and continue to be deployed to provide vital augmentation in civil affairs, psychological operations, aviation, air traffic control, military police, public affairs and military history, medical, supply, and transportation. In addition, over 500 RC volunteers (individuals not called up for full-length, 270 day tours) may be found supporting operations in Bosnia on a daily basis.

A smaller number of Guardsmen and Reservists are supporting recent United States Central Command operations in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. The Army Reserve provides needed capabilities in biological/ chemical warfare detection. RC contributions now include Army National Guard aviation units, as well as Marine and Air Force staff augmentation. A total of 399 Guardsmen and Reservists have supported operations or are now on active duty. Over 10,000 Reservists, both Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, have voluntarily supported air superiority operations over the north and south of Iraq in Operations Northern and Southern Watch.

Also demonstrating the success of AC/RC operations are the Army National Guard enhanced Separate Brigades. These enhanced brigades are included in the war plans for both Korea and Southwest Asia. The Army is committed to having them ready for combat within 90 days after mobilization.

In support of allied joint operations, the Naval Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve provide air, ground, and sea support—everything from Seabees to minesweepers. The air reserve components provide tankers, transports, and fighters to support numerous and diverse global operations such as Operation Deny Flight. Coast Guard port security units and joint Navy/Coast Guard harbor defense command units, along with Naval Coastal Warfare Groups, provide commander in chief (CINC) support in command, control, and security of port operations on both ends of the sea-lanes, as in Operations Desert Storm and Uphold Democracy. Coast Guard reservists also provide daily and crisis operational augmentation in the joint arena at United States Transportation Command and at the Pentagon. Most Coast Guard reservists serve in fully integrated AC/RC units, reflecting the Team Coast Guard philosophy.

Over the past two years, the reserve components have provided support to Total Force missions across the entire spectrum of military operations. Support provided has equated to approximately 13 million man-days (or the equivalent of about 35,000 full time personnel) in both FY 1996 and 1997. This equates to about one-third of the level of support provided during the peak of the Gulf War, when more than 250,000 reservists served on active duty for an average of six months.

Reserve Component Manpower and Personnel Programs


The Department of Defense has rewritten policies to provide for increased accessibility and flexibility in the use of reserve component forces. Just as the Total Force Policy is shifting the way forces are structured and utilized, the principle of compensating leverage, which involves leveraging untapped capabilities of reserve components to meet the ongoing mission needs of a much smaller active force, is being applied on a routine basis across the Services.

The Department continues to expand the traditional definition of accessibility to reservists. Utilization of the reserves requires appropriately balancing the nation’s ongoing requirements with individual reservists’ nonmilitary career demands. Therefore, it is essential that when reservists are called, they participate in real operational and/or relevant training opportunities.

Table 12

FY 1999 Force Structure and End Strengths


Force Structure

End Strengths

(Active /Reserve Component)

Divisions (10/8)

480,000 / 565,000



Aircraft Carriers (11/1)
Air Wings (10/1)
Amphibious Ready Groups (12)
Attack Submarines (57)
Surface Combatants (106/10)

372,355 / 90,843

Air Force
(Active/Reserve Component)

Fighter Wings (13/7)
Air Defense Squadrons (0/4)
Bombers (208 total)

365,882 / 181,233

Marine Corps

Marine Expeditionary Forces (3/0)
Divisions (3/1)
Wings (3/1)

172,200 / 39,966

The policy governing the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program has been revised to provide increased flexibility in the use of augmentees to support CINC, Defense Intelligence, and joint support functions. Other policies have been rewritten to provide additional flexibility in the use of training time and options for scheduling training which support active component missions.

A plan is under way to integrate existing force planning efforts, establish a requirements determination process, establish funding mechanisms, and develop more flexible policies for the use of reserve components on a larger scale than previously accomplished. This ongoing review of possible impediments to and alternatives for future employment of the reserve components should result in a more formal structure for reserve component utilization and integration.


The FY 1998 National Defense Authorization Act created a new category of Individual Ready Reserve members who are subject to involuntary call-up under Presidential Selected Reserve Call-up (PSRC) authority. The Secretary of Defense may call up to a maximum of 30,000 of these members under PSRC. This legislation ensures that trained/qualified members of the Individual Ready Reserve manpower pool are available to fill selected skill shortfalls in early mobilizing or deploying active and reserve component units, thus precluding the need for cross-leveling personnel from units scheduled for later deployment to fill shortages in early deploying units.


To further the integration of the reserve components into the Total Force and accomplish the National Military Strategy, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1998 required, and the Department of Defense has established, two reserve component general/flag officer positions on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as Assistants to the Chairman for National Guard and Reserve Matters. The incumbents of those positions will ensure the Chairman and the Joint Staff have the benefit of the best advice with regard to all reserve forces, particularly as it pertains to their unique capabilities and requirements.


To prepare RC officers to function more effectively in the joint environment, the Department conducted a study to identify those joint reserve component billets that may require intermediate and senior-level Joint Professional Military Education (JPME). It is essential that formal JPME be provided RC officers since they are occupying an increasing number of billets in joint organizations and are being called upon more frequently to support joint operational missions.


A strong, properly resourced, full-time support program is essential in ensuring a full reserve component partnership with the other components of the Total Force. Full-time support personnel perform the critical functions of administering, training, recruiting, and retaining reserve component personnel and providing vital supply support and equipment maintenance. Increased demands on the reserve components require that training be well-planned, organized, and conducted on well-maintained state-of-the-art equipment. Full-time support personnel make that happen. In addition, full-time support personnel provide reserve expertise and a crucial linkage to the active components, defense agencies, the Joint Staff, and the CINCs.

The Department is committed to working in partnership with the reserve components and Congress to ensure that the full-time support program remains sized and resourced to maximize reserve component readiness. Table 12 shows current and planned full-time support strengths.


Recognizing the fact the reserve components are being called upon to support military operations around the world on a daily basis, thereby increasing their potential exposure to harm, the Secretary of Defense convened a health care summit to address the full range of Reserve health care issues. The objectives of the summit were to improve the readiness of reserve component personnel by providing recommendations, assigning responsibilities, and identifying resources; to ensure that those who become ill or are injured as a result of service receive appropriate medical care and benefits; and to ensure the uniformity and consistency of benefits among the Services.

Table 13

Full-Time Support Personnela
(End Strength)


FY 1996

FY 1997

FY 1998

FY 1999

Army National Guard





Army Reserve





Naval Reserve





Marine Corps Reserve





Air National Guard





Air Force Reserve










a Includes Active Guard and Reserve, military technicians, active component, and civil service personnel.


Additionally, Section 746 of the Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997 directed the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study to identify mechanisms to improve the provision of medical and dental care to members of the reserve components in order to ensure uniformity and consistency. The results of these efforts will significantly improve the medical readiness of the reserve force and provide the health care appropriate for members of the National Guard and Reserve.


Taking care of families is vitally important for the reserve components. Knowing their families have the necessary support mechanisms in place allows Guardsmen and Reservists to focus on their missions. Significant efforts and progress have been made in supporting all families of the Total Force. Joint programs and interservice facilities have been combined with cross-training initiatives to ensure that military families receive assistance when needed. The National Guard and Reserve are now included in Total Force family readiness and support provided by the Services.

All Services have completed the transition to an integrated family readiness program, which supports both active and reserve component families. The Coast Guard also supports both active component and Reserve members and their families through a common family support program.

Most Services use a combination of chain of command, staff assistance and inspection, mobilization exercises, and joint exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of family readiness plans and programs. The Army and Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve also use active component inspections as well as Operational Readiness Evaluations (Exercises and Inspections) to evaluate family support programs.

Family support plans are now extensively coordinated at regional, state, or major command levels. Inter-Service Family Assistance Committees, automated networks, and professionally prepared guides and brochures are also available to facilitate the widest possible dissemination of information about family support programs to the Total Force.


· ID Card. Issuing the new green identification card to reserve component members started in June 1998. The new ID card removes the stigma associated with the old red card, which distinguished reserve component personnel from their active duty counterparts. This simple change reflects a major step toward AC/RC integration.

· Quality of Life. Reserve quality of life issues are being included in the DoD Quality of Life Executive Committee focus.

· Personnel Systems. Common DoD standard data elements are being phased in for core military personnel data elements across all components, active and reserve. Also, with emphasis on consolidating management functions and combining automated systems, substantive progress has been achieved both within the Services and across DoD. Examples of ongoing DoD-level systems integration include: Active and Reserve Pay in the Defense Joint Military Pay Systems (DJMS); Active and Reserve Travel in the Defense Travel System; and Active and Reserve Personnel and Pay (software and hardware) in the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, which will eventually encompass DJMS.

Reserve Component Readiness and Training Programs


DoD has reviewed and modified force planning processes to provide National Command Authorities greater flexibility in the use of reserve components’ units and members. By emphasizing the total spectrum of military requirements and relating them to reserve components’ capabilities which can best support those requirements, the reserve components have been increasingly accepted within force planning organizations of the Department. Policy changes recently implemented require that RC capabilities be tied to war plans and contingency plans across the total spectrum of national military requirements. These changes provide the Services and CINCs greater efficiency and flexibility in accomplishing missions and aid in furthering AC/RC integration. The following are examples of structural barriers being removed:

· Army. Six Army National Guard enhanced Separate Brigades assigned to two new active Army division headquarters.

· Navy. Two fully integrated Mine Countermeasure Helicopter Squadrons with commanding officers selected from either component.

· Marine Corps. An active Light Armored Vehicle Air Defense Platoon integrated into the Reserve Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

· Air Force. New Aerospace Expeditionary Forces fully integrated.

· Coast Guard. Team Coast Guard fully integrated active/reserve personnel into units at all levels.


The Army is committed to implementing two integrated divisions (authorized both active component and Army National Guard members) that will each consist of a division headquarters and three Army National Guard enhanced Separate Brigades. These divisions will be established in October 1999. Under the Army National Guard’s division redesign program, surplus combat units are being converted to required combat support and combat service support units. Under Force XXI, the new Division XXI design incorporates 513 reserve component soldiers embedded in active component heavy divisions. These soldiers will be placed in active component units, forming multi-component units. Reserve component soldiers from both the Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve will conduct all readiness training with the assigned active Army division. The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) is the first digital division and will commence integration of reserve component soldiers in June 1999.

By FY 2003, the Army plans to provide four corps with 18 divisions (ten active, eight reserve); 15 National Guard enhanced Separate Brigades; and other appropriate forces. The Army’s Reserve components will be restructured to reduce some combat forces, converting some reserve component units from combat to combat support and combat service support roles, thereby relieving an important warfighting shortfall.


By 2003, the Navy plans to provide 12 aircraft carriers (11 active and one deployable reserve), 11 air wings (10 active and one reserve), and 12 amphibious ready groups that include 116 surface combatant ships (108 active and 8 reserve) and 50 attack submarines. The reduced size of the fleet will be offset by newer and more capable systems now coming on line. The Navy will reduce the procurement of F/A-18E/F aircraft from 1,000 to 548 and transition to the Joint Strike Fighter as soon as possible. Based on these adjustments, the Navy will reduce active, reserve, and civilian end strengths by 18,000, 4,100, and 8,400 personnel, respectively.


The Marine Corps will maintain an active force of three Marine Expeditionary Forces, each comprised of a command element, a division, an aircraft wing, and a service support group. The active force will continue to be supported by one reserve division, wing, and service support group. End strength reductions of 2,445 active, 3,000 reserves, and 400 civilians began in 1998 and will be complete by 2003.


The Air Force has recently undertaken a transition to become a more expeditionary aerospace force. This new organizational construct will allow even greater integration of active, Guard, and Reserve units to meet contingency taskings.

By 2003, the Air Force will be well into the Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF) Implementation Plan. Under the EAF concept, forces are drawn from approximately ten Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) pools consisting of active, guard, and reserve assets and resources. From these AEFs, force packages will be provided to the CINCs to meet the full spectrum of theater taskings and warfighting requirements. These AEFs will include fighters, bombers, airlift, and support aircraft optimized in size and capability. As a result of competitive sourcing, force structure, and organizational consolidation, reductions of 26,900 active, 1,200 reserve, and 18,300 civilian personnel will be achieved by 2003.


Each year, the Services will be making incremental changes in force structure and personnel end strength to achieve these reduction targets under the rubric of optimally balancing the seamless Total Force. The pace for achieving them is different for each Service, based on the ability to improve force integration and accommodate changes in operational concepts and organizational structures, while continuing to sustain maximum capability to respond to the full spectrum of threats. Planned FY 1999 adjustments are shown in Table 13.


Reserve components are planning to increase their use of simulation, embedded training, and distributed learning technologies to train Selected Reservists in the Total Force. Through the use of these technologies, the limited time available to train Selected Reservists—collectively in units, and as individuals—can be made more productive. Expansion of these technologies throughout the Total Force is essential to achieving planned improvements in force integration and readiness. Distributed learning technologies have the potential to make training more cost-effective and available to both the active and reserve community. The full spectrum of distributed learning media, fully interoperable with existing DoD and government systems, is being actively pursued and will facilitate improved training readiness throughout the Department.

To enhance progress towards force integration goals, DoD is developing policies to emphasize education and experience in joint matters for reserve officers. Such policies will be, to the extent practicable for the reserve components, similar to the personnel management and professional military education policies established to enable active component military officers to function more effectively in a joint environment.

In FY 1998, all joint positions occupied by reserve component officers were identified and each evaluated for the required level of joint professional military education. Approximately 1,100 of 4,400 reserve officer positions require traditional phase I, intermediate, or senior joint professional military education levels. Several options are being considered to address this, including a shorter version of the Armed Forces Staff College course and a revised National Defense University Reserve Forces National Security course.

The Joint Reserve Intelligence Program (JRIP) leverages the pre-paid training days of approximately 19,000 reserve intelligence specialists in direct support of force-wide intelligence requirements. In FY 1998, the JRIP allocated approximately 41,000 man-days to CINCs, combat support agencies, and Services in direct support of current intelligence requirements, and is expecting to execute approximately the same amount in FY 1999. The JRIP has the potential of providing 2,450 military workyears of intelligence support annually. By design, the JRIP enhances individual and unit wartime readiness training by providing reserve intelligence specialists the opportunity to do in peacetime what they will be doing in wartime. Moreover, these reservists frequently bring to the operational environment unique civilian/military mixes of skills, capabilities, and networks that may be particularly critical, but not otherwise available to the defense community. To maximize these unique capabilities, the Joint Reserve Intelligence Connectivity program (JRICP) has been established by the JRIP. The JRICP provides electronic connectivity and collaborative analysis capabilities to 28 active and reserve component installations and 3,200 drilling reservists who can immediately mobilize to the sites to support CINC surge and crisis support intelligence requirements. A Defense Reserve Language Program is also being developed to increase the availability, utilization and efficiency of reserve linguists supporting Defense Intelligence programs.

Congressional legislation now permits joint and unified commands and combat support agencies and the Services to transfer Operations and Maintenance funds directly to the reserve components in support of additional workdays to meet unexpected intelligence requirements. As a result, many of DoD’s 20,000 reserve intelligence specialists now provide critical and often unique support to current operational requirements.

Military Assistance to Civil Authorities

The United States’ vulnerability to terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has necessitated the development of a strong homeland defense against domestic terrorism. At the direction of the President, and in partnership with Congress, new plans, policies, and laws have been developed to increase the nation’s effectiveness to counter asymmetric threats and to prepare to manage the consequences of attacks against U.S. citizens and/or infrastructure.

In support of this initiative, the Department is leveraging its existing military capacities to support civil authorities in partnership with other federal agencies. The reserve components will be increasingly relied upon to apply their expertise and capabilities to this homeland defense mission. The Guard and Reserve are uniquely suited for this mission because they are a highly effective workforce that spans nearly four thousand communities across the country with well-established links to first responders.

In the coming year, the Department will take major steps to establish the reserve components as critical partners in supporting response to incidents involving WMD. Ten National Guard Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection teams, each team consisting of 22 full-time Guard members, will be formed in each of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ten regions. These teams will provide immediate support and expert technical assistance to local first responders following a WMD incident. Reserve component patient decontamination and WMD reconnaissance capabilities will be expanded and upgraded. These teams will provide support and expert technical assistance to local first responders following a WMD incident. The National Guard will also complete its work in examining the roles, missions, and responsibilities that the National Guard may appropriately fulfill in responding to terrorist attacks involving WMD. Additionally, by the end of FY 1999, DoD will have provided specialized WMD consequence management training, equipment and technical advice via its Domestic Preparedness Program to metropolitan firefighters, law enforcement officials, and medical personnel in over 84 cities.

Presidential Decision Directive 62 refined the national policy with respect to preparing and responding to terrorist attacks involving the use of WMD. DoD, in partnership with other federal agencies, has a clear and continuing supporting role in assisting state and local first responders for such events. Toward that end, DoD has implemented a management structure for integrating its efforts with those of other federal agencies.

Reserve Component Equipment

The increased employment of reserve forces in support of operational missions has emphasized the importance of compatible and interoperable equipment for the reserve components. The ability to fight the same fight or fly the same missions is imperative for the total integration of the RC with active forces. Reserve component equipment is modernized through new procurements and cascading of equipment from the active component. The redistribution of equipment from the AC is still the primary method of providing modern equipment to the RC. However, this resource is dwindling. The estimated cost of the used cascaded equipment received from the AC, if purchased new for the reserves, was $4.1 billion in FY 1998.

Consistent with the Department’s priority to modernize, the Department requested $1.4 billion in new equipment procurement and upgrades during FY 1998 for the reserve components. In addition to these funds, Congress added over $640 million for new equipment procurement. This equipment included C-130, CH-53, and C-40 aircraft; medium and light tactical vehicles; and various aircraft system modifications and upgrades.

The reserve component chiefs continue to directly participate in the Program, Planning, and Budgeting System process at the highest levels. Their active participation in the Program Review Groups and on the Defense Resources Board ensured that reserve component equipment issues were considered during the most recent program review process. Additionally, DoD has initiated a study to examine the degree to which the equipment differences existing between the AC and RC impact the Department’s mission readiness. The results of this study are expected to identify areas for further focus to ensure the Total Force integration of the reserve components.

Reserve Component Facilities

Increasing the joint use of facilities, consolidating reserve units, and co-locating onto existing installations were a major catalyst in the reserve component facilities programs in FY 1998. There have been marked changes in the RC facilities requirements as a result of this effort. For example, active Navy and Air Force units have moved to an Army Reserve enclave in New Jersey; active Army, Army National Guard, and Marine Corps Reserve units co-located on an Air Reserve base in Massachusetts; Army, Navy, and Marine Corps active and reserve units now are together on an Air Reserve base in California. More recently, units of the Texas Air National Guard relocated from Dallas to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base at Fort Worth, Texas. These examples are just some of the 20 reserve component co-locations occurring in 1998 alone, with more expected in the years ahead.

As units look for ways to reduce the costs of leasing, base operation support, and real property maintenance, Joint Use opportunities for pooling assets become a necessity. However, the benefits from Joint Use go far beyond economics. The units live and work together and learn more about each other’s capabilities as well as their supply, maintenance, and training systems. The Department’s emphasis on Joint Use and the economies gained from this effort encouraged the reserve components to look at several of their individual facility requirements and consider combining them with other units’ needs.


Maintaining the integrated capabilities of the Total Force is the key to successfully achieving the goals of shaping, responding, and preparing for the challenges and opportunities confronting the nation—today and tomorrow. Only a well-balanced, seamlessly integrated military force is capable of dominating opponents across the full range of military operations. Using the concepts and principles of the National Military Strategy, the Concept for Future Joint Operations, and the Total Force Policy, the Department of Defense will continue managing change and responding to the challenges of restructuring, streamlining and modernizing its Total Force to ensure efficient and effective joint operations.

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