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Over 580,000 reservists have been activated for military operations between September 2001 and March 2007. The challenges of continuing to mobilize large numbers of reserve component servicemembers for ongoing operations while balancing their support to homeland defense missions have led to questions about whether changes are needed in the way the reserve components are structured and resourced, particularly in light of mounting 21st century fiscal imbalances. This testimony focuses on: (1) the nation's fiscal and security challenges and their implications for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Guard and Reserves; (2) the need for DOD to better align its reserve component business model, including human capital strategies, with the reserve forces' current and future needs; and (3) the extent to which DOD's current compensation system for reserve and National Guard personnel is helping the department to meet its human capital goals of recruiting and retaining a high-quality force. The testimony is based on GAO's body of work on the nation's long-term fiscal outlook, National Guard and reserve readiness, military personnel issues such as recruitment and retention, and the report GAO is issuing today on reserve and National Guard compensation issues. GAO has made several recommendations to address these challenges.

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