Army Force Structure:

Future Reserve Roles Shaped by New Strategy, Base Force Mandates, and Gulf War

NSIAD-93-80: Published: Dec 15, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's planned force reductions, focusing on: (1) the key factors influencing the Army's decision on the size and role of its reserves; (2) the Army's rationale for its planned reserve force reductions; and (3) more effective ways to use reserve forces in the downsized force.

GAO found that: (1) in response to budgetary pressures and changing international relations, the Army began planning major force reductions in 1989; (2) the Army plans to staff National Guard cadre divisions at lower levels in peacetime and reconstitute the divisions with contingency reserve forces for deployment missions; (3) the Department of Defense's (DOD) Base Force Plan mandated specific active and reserve force end strengths and a specific divisional mix for the Army's forces; (4) although DOD assumptions regarding the occurrence of global war have changed, DOD has not modified its Base Force Plan; (5) the Army believes that its planned reductions will ensure a balanced future force, missions for all reserve units, and fewer undue costs, but it has not adequately considered all relevant factors; and (6) the Army could expand the use of its reserve support forces by filling force structure vacancies, restructuring some National Guard divisions into smaller combat units that could be more quickly deployed, and converting some reserve combat units to support units.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD recently completed its study of National Guard combat forces and agreed to convert some of those combat forces to combat support/combat service support. The specific cost and timelines for converting those forces are being worked out.

    Recommendation: To the extent that future defense plans permit a change in the Army's active and reserve force mix, the Secretary of the Army should evaluate the merits of restructuring one or more of the latest deploying National Guard combat divisions to provide additional personnel spaces to be used to: (1) round out active divisions at the battalion and company levels; and (2) add more reserve support units to the Army's force.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: As a result of the nation's new National Security Strategy (i.e., Bottom Up Review), the size, composition, roles, and mix of both active and reserve Army forces have changed. Specifically, the new strategy requires an all active component division structure to meet its 2 MRC requirement and a reduced level of forward stationed forces than before. As a result, significant shifts in the Army's active/reserve force mix are occurring.

    Recommendation: To the extent that future defense plans permit a change in the Army's active and reserve force mix, the Secretary of the Army should examine each of the elements of the force structure being withdrawn from Europe to determine whether any of these missions could be shifted to the reserves.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Since the issuance of this report, the Army has reorganized and expanded its contingency force support packages. This expansion has increased reserve component utilization. Moreover, the Army is continually revising these force packages to meet the National Military Strategy and Defense Planning Guidance.

    Recommendation: To the extent that future defense plans permit a change in the Army's active and reserve force mix, the Secretary of the Army should substitute additional reserve support forces for active forces in the latter two support force packages of the Army's contingency force, in which the reserves can reasonably be expected to meet the established timelines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Bottom Up Review and the National Military Strategy eliminated the need for the cadre division concept.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in reviewing future defense requirements, determine whether the Army's planned size of cadre divisions is consistent with the concept envisioned to implement the reconstitution element of the new national military strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD will continue to consider the need for and type of guidance best suited to achieve policy objectives. It has determined, at this time, that no further guidance is needed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop criteria to guide the military services in their decisions on force mix and mission assignment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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