The Reserves:

Can They Effectively Augment the Active Forces?

LCD-75-402: Published: Oct 3, 1975. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1975.

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GAO reviewed whether the Reserves can effectively augment the active forces, focusing on Reserve readiness.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army and Navy Reserve components may not have the capabilities to mobilize and deploy combat-ready forces in the time required; (2) unless their contingency planning for the Reserves' role in an emergency is in line with the Secretary of Defense's planning guidance and unless resources are distributed in accordance with deployment requirements, the total force policy may not be feasible; (3) even if the reserve components could deploy in time to meet a major contingency, many units would not be able to fully meet assigned missions; (4) problems which caused this low readiness posture were: (a) equipment shortages and inadequacies; (b) personnel and skill imbalances; and (c) training deficiencies; (5) because of inaccurate readiness reporting, military officials at all levels have not been able to evaluate adequately the Reserves' readiness or take corrective actions where necessary; (6) DOD could more efficiently use money, manpower, and material by eliminating nonessential organizations and transferring men and materiel to combat or combat-support units; (7) by doing so, DOD could realize large savings without impairing its ability to meet mobilization requirements; (8) the government budgets over $4 billion annually for Reserve Forces, yet most Reserve units cannot carry out missions for which they were organized; (9) DOD and the military services will have to make decisive and far-reaching changes to the Reserve system; and (10) several alternatives for improving the Reserves' readiness include: (a) placing more emphasis on military occupational training, rather than unit training, and then using reservists only as fillers for the active forces; (b) training more reservists with active personnel on active equipment; (c) having several Reserve units share facilities and equipment for training purposes; (d) putting more emphasis on brigade- or division-level training before mobilization to reduce the time between mobilization and deployment; (e) centrally locating reserve equipment and having it maintained by a full-time staff; and (f) assigning reservist to units within a geographical area on the basis of the units' deployment dates and the reservists' skills.

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