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REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE RESERVE FORCES POLICY BOARD
I am once again pleased to have this opportunity to present a brief summary of the Reserve Forces Policy Board’s highlights, observations and recommendations, and outlook for the future. The Board’s theme this year was Education – The Gateway to Integration. This theme was in keeping with the Board’s work to assist the Secretary of Defense in eliminating all residual barriers—structural and cultural—to effective integration of the Reserve and Active components into a seamless Total Force. Education was identified as one of the most significant means to eliminate or, at least, mitigate those barriers. With the approval of the Secretary of Defense, an Education Summit was held which is discussed later on in this report.
The Board serves as the principal and independent policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on matters relating to the Reserve components. The Board continues to be the resource of choice, providing efficient integration and effective utilization of Reserve components into the Total Force. Representatives from each of the Service secretariats, Joint Staff, Active components, and Reserve components serve as Board members. The Board provides timely, relevant, and credible advice and reporting to ensure that DoD decisions affecting the Reserve components enhance the capability of the Total Force to meet national security requirements. The Reserve component members represent a wide range of industrial, business, professional, and civic experience, in addition to their military expertise.
Many of the issues worked by the Board are discovered during field trips. One of the Board’s most recent field trips was to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), as well as U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces, and U.S. Army Pacific, to include the 9th Regional Support Command and Hawaii National Guard. This trip completed the Board’s visits to the Unified Combatant Commands begun in 1997. The purpose of this trip was to continue the information collection process with the Unified Combatant Commands and discuss any issues identified by USPACOM and the commanders of the component elements and their staffs which impeded the integration of their respective Reserve components. The issues raised in USPACOM validated the Board’s findings in previous visits to other commanders in chief (CINCs).
FIELD TRIP TO UNITED STATES PACIFIC COMMAND
In addition to Hawaiian congressional representatives welcoming us to their districts, the Board met with the United States Pacific Command Commander in Chief (USCINCPAC) who asked the Board to assist in carrying the word back to the Secretary of Defense and Hometown America concerning the mission and challenges America faces in the Pacific. He emphasized that Reserve component augmentation to USPACOM forces is crucial to the United States maintaining military and economic stability in the region. Following the meeting with USCINCPAC, three days of discussions were held with USCINCPAC’s component commands. The issues and concerns raised by USCINCPAC and his component commands throughout the visit, which are presented in this report, are concurred with and endorsed by the Board.
MAJOR ISSUES AND CONCERNS
179 Day Issue
During the Board’s discussions with the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, he remarked that the missions conducted by the Active Air Force and the Air Guard and Air Force Reserve have become transparent within his command. He indicated though that there are times when his command would like to keep a highly qualified, productive individual on orders longer than 179 days. However, current legislation does not allow this to happen without the individual counting against Active component end strength. The USCINCPAC and the component commands concurred that the Board support the modification of Title 10 to exclude Reserve component tours in excess of 179 days from counting against Active component end strength. This change would ultimately allow all CINCs greater continuity in the use of Reserve component members and increase the accessibility to the Reserve components at negligible cost.
Joint Professional Military Education
The USCINCPAC indicated to the Board that the assignment of Reserve component officers to joint commands is increasing. However, these individuals serve at a disadvantage from their Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) trained Active component counterparts because they lack the foundation of knowledge in joint operations. The Services currently do not program JPME for Reserve officers. Completion of JPME will better prepare Reserve component officers for joint duty. It was also stated that all full–time support officers should attend the Armed Forces Staff College prior to reporting for a joint duty assignment.
Parity of Benefits and Treatment
The Deputy/Chief Staff Officer, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, stated to the Board that some specialized Reservist skills are frequently needed within 24 to 48 hours—just like Active duty members. The Commander, Pacific Air Forces, stated that many skills (communicators, computer programmers, pilots) are sought as eagerly in the civilian market as they are in the military. Both individuals acknowledged that any disparity in benefits and treatment of Active and Reserve component members would impede Total Force integration—not just differences in pay and benefits, but the day–to–day differences in the treatment of Active and Reserve component members in the use of available morale, welfare, and recreation services and child care facilities. USPACOM and its components recommended that a review of benefits, entitlements, and treatment of Reserve component members be conducted to determine if any disparities exist in today’s environment between the Active and Reserve components.
Simplify Administration and Funding
USPACOM and its component commands indicated to the Board that the process to access Reserve component members is time consuming and varies from Service to Service. It was strongly recommended that the Board support standardizing terminology, pay and personnel systems, orders generation, and travel programs and adopt a single DoD–wide billet number scheme and consolidate funding categories. The command stated that access to Reserve components for peacetime/short–notice contingencies should be simplified.
General/Flag Officer End Strength Relief
USPACOM, as well as all the previous CINCs visited by the Board, recommended that Title 10 be modified to permit Reserve component general and flag officers to serve in excess of 180 days without counting against Active component end strength. This relief would provide continuity in the use of senior Reserve component members to support CINC requirements and permit CINCs to utilize the experience and leadership of senior Reserve component members at a negligible cost.
Commonality of Equipment
The Commander, Pacific Air Forces, remarked to the Board that the lack of commonality of equipment between the Active and Reserve components is a significant deterrent to operational integration between the two. He believes munitions and equipment should be the same for both the Active and Reserve components to improve operability.
The CINCs, being at the pointed end of the spear, have a good understanding of the structural barriers that prevent seamless integration of the Active and Reserve components. They are ahead of us in understanding the issues that negatively affect their ability to access and utilize Reserve component members to conduct operations. The CINCs have to live with the impact of legislation, DoD policies, and Service policies on a day–to–day basis. The CINCs want and need the resources and flexibility that the Guard and Reserve offer to accomplish their mission. Their issues and concerns must be addressed. Most of the issues the Board received in USPACOM and their subordinate commands were the same as the recent policy and legislative initiatives discussed with the Deputy Secretary of Defense. The trip to USPACOM validated the issues previously identified.
POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
As a result of the Board’s visits to many of the CINCs over the past two years, as well as recent Total Force symposiums conducted at such prestigious institutions as National Defense University and the Harvard School of Government, the Board identified the top 20 CINC issues and symposium recommendations. Although all the issues need to be worked, the following three policy and three legislative initiatives recommended to the Secretary of Defense in January 1999 are the ones that would have an immediate positive impact upon Total Force if initiated:
·Direct an educational summit to address the feasibility of redesigning commissioning and Professional Military Education (PME) programs from a more Total Force perspective and review the potential of extending a form of PME to Reserve components.
·Direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs to conduct a Treatment and Military Benefits Review to determine if disparities between the Active and Reserve components are appropriate in today’s environment.
·Request each Service conduct a Total Force review on utilizing innovative applications of technology to optimize opportunities for skills training while reducing non–mission related training.
·Support the authorization of, and exemption for, Reserve Chiefs and National Guard Directors to become 0–9 billets.
·Support legislative action to give the Secretary of Defense the ability to call to active duty certain Guardsmen and Reservists with special skills which may be required in the early development of a domestic or national emergency prior to a Presidential Reserve Call–up.
·Support legislative action to encourage an integrated military by providing relief of active duty end strength accountability when Reserve component members are called to active duty.
The most visible of all the policy initiatives approved by the Secretary of Defense was tasking the Reserve Forces Policy Board to host an Education Summit and report its findings. In the Secretary of Defense memorandum dated January 11, 1999, he states: "Creating a truly seamless Total Force requires an educational process that begins upon entering military service and continues throughout one’s career. The aim of this summit is to devise better means to inculcate through our educational systems an awareness among Active and Reserve service members of the imperative that we operate as a Total Force."
Hence, from May 5–7, 1999, in coordination with the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the summit was held. The summit brought together the key leadership from the Services’ education organizations and the Reserve components. Work at the summit centered on the vision of a DoD professional military and education system that would develop a positive attitude and build a strong foundation for a Total Force team in which future leaders at all levels view Active, Guard, Reserve, and civilians as integral partners. Results of the summit included a shared vision, principles, and policy elements for Total Force education. Other recommendations were also made regarding course content, methods of instruction, and a strategy for implementation. Finally, it was determined that an effective, dynamic, and diverse organization will exhibit a culture that emphasizes inclusiveness for the common good and institutionalizes the process of increasing strengths and capabilities whenever possible, often building upon differences found within components of that organization. The work of the Board has shown that good progress has been made toward realization of the Total Force.
A dynamic educational system constantly evolves as new ways of looking at the world we live in bring changes in both philosophy and technology. Since the end of the Cold War, our military strategy has changed with greater reliance on, and integration of, the Reserve components. These new realities have created an opportunity to review the DoD professional education system. We must ensure all military members have access to the professional military education they need throughout their careers.
However, in many basic and crucial areas, there is much to do before the U.S. military and its civilian component attain the vision of true unity and mutual understanding in fulfillment of national defense needs and the indispensable role of the Reserve components.
The CINCs and others have come to depend on the Board to pick up, research, staff, and work Total Force issues. The Board contemplated, but decided against, changing their name from the Reserve Forces Policy Board to the Total Force Policy Board. This is because the line separating Active and the Reserve component issues is slowly disappearing. Some of the many issues the Board is working or monitoring, in cooperation with other DoD offices and agencies, are military funeral honors, smart ID card, medical care for families, disability severance pay, recruiting and retention, Defense Reform Initiative Directive #20 (DRID), and determining if the Reserve component chiefs and directors should be 0–9 billets. DRID 20 was put forward which could have the effect of replacing Combat Support (CS) and Combat Service Support (CSS) soldiers with contract civilians. Having recently transformed Guard combat units to CS/CSS units, the Board is concerned with the proposal that these CS/CSS units now be replaced with contract civilians. DRID 20 recommendation puts extreme stress on the integration process. The Board is working to ensure that personnel with operational Guard and Reserve experience are consulted on the effects of DRID 20 prior to any decisions being made.
The Board recommends periodically reviewing the who, what, when, where, and why of the Reserve components. The Board favors reviewing the evolving Service component role process to remind ourselves of the basic philosophies that continue to be the basis of our attitude and culture. For example, are the Reserve components used as Congress and its citizens expect them to be utilized? How many times will a Guardsmen or Reservist be willing to be called up; yet on the other hand, how many times would an Active component member be expected to go to war in a 20 year career? These and other issues are constantly being discussed by the Board.
This one of a kind Board was created during President Harry S. Truman’s Administration over 50 years ago. During the first 50 years of the Board, we have seen its membership increase from six Service Secretaries to 24 Active duty and Reserve component general/flag officers and Assistant Service Secretaries. Additionally, the Board has been the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on matters affecting the Reserve components. The Board looks with great satisfaction to many ongoing program and policies that are based upon recommendations formulated by the Board. The Board has played a major role and takes great pride in the development of policy for our Reserve components. It stands ready to assist the Secretary and the Department in meeting the challenges of the new millennium.
The Reserve Forces Policy Board’s annual report, entitled Reserve Component Programs, Fiscal Year 1999, is scheduled for publication in March 2000. This report not only provides detailed information regarding Reserve component programs and issues, but also has become one of the premier publications on the Reserve components.
Terrence M. O’Connell
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