The total force concept, which calls for reserve forces to augment peacetime operations, is a reality. The selected reserve call-up process needs streamlining to get the reserves into action more rapidly.
In the National Military Strategy of 1997, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Shalikashvili described the strategic environment as one with "a number of uncertainties, including potentially serious threats to America's security. Principal among these are regional dangers, asymmetric challenges, transnational threats, and 'wild cards.'" Operation Allied Force (Kosovo, 1999) exemplified all of the challenges described by the Chairman.
Like many military conflicts, Allied Force did not culminate as quickly as the original planners had anticipated. When it became apparent that the war would be protracted, sustainment became an issue and the regional commander-in-chief (CinC) looked to the reserve component for assistance. Although reservists were trained and ready to join the fight, the recall and mobilization processes were very slow. In the case of the Naval Reserve, those who were mobilized by presidential selected reserve call-up (PSRC) did not arrive in theater until almost seven weeks after hostilities had commenced. Although many reservists volunteered for duty and arrived much earlier, the PSRC process must be improved. The CinCs must be adequately supported and must not be required to depend on the availability of volunteers to fight a war.
To speed the recall process, the National Command Authority (NCA) should give the CinCs approval to recall a limited number of reservists as part of the alert and execute orders. Granting the CinCs early access to their reservists would enhance both phases of the joint operational planning and execution system.
Today's total force policy shows that our current active-duty force structure is not adequate even for effective peacetime operations. The policy states that "during peacetime, the Navy will employ reserve forces and personnel to relieve the stress on Active Operating Tempo and Personnel Tempo." If active-duty force structure is not adequate for peacetime operations, it certainly is not adequate for the greatly increased workload associated with crises and contingency operations. The Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized this for several years now. In 1994, DoD asked Congress to give the Secretary of Defense the authority "to call-up 25,000 Selected Reserve members for contingencies and operations other than war." Congress failed to act on that request, but because of our present force structure, the CinCs need access to reservists as soon as crisis action planning is under way. The CinCs also need to know with certainty what forces will be available to him if and when an execute order is issued.
Given that only the President is authorized to recall reservists, one way to expedite the process is to include PSRC authorization in the alert and execute orders. Naval reservists who augment Navy commands within a CinC's area of responsibility should be considered apportioned forces, "assumed to be available for deliberate planning," and should be able to be recalled quickly for crisis action planning. When a warning order is issued, the CinC directs his planners to develop various courses of action (COAs). Each course of action should include input from the component commanders regarding the number of reservists needed for successful planning and execution.
These requirements should be in two phases: The first would be the number of reservists required to complete crisis action planning and force preparation. That number normally would be small—enough to augment intelligence cells and planning staffs if necessary. The second phase would be the number required upon receipt of an execute order. The CinC then should communicate the requirements to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with the commander's estimate and the recommended COA. The CinC should specify the number of reservists from each service requested by each of his component commanders. The Chairman then would advise the NCA and request authorization to recall the appropriate number of reservists both for the crisis action planning phase and for execution of the selected COA.
Adequacy, Feasibility, Acceptability
By initiating a PSRC during the initial planning stages, we can ensure that the CinC's plans pass the tests of adequacy, feasibility, and acceptability. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Doctrine for Planning Joint Operations states that "adequacy determines whether the scope and concept of planned operations satisfy the tasking and will accomplish the mission." With the Navy's manning and operational tempo levels, many commands simply cannot accomplish a wartime mission without reserve support. The commanding officer of JAC Molesworth stated emphatically that during Operation Allied Force he could not have accomplished his mission without the augmentation provided by his reservists. Identifying the requirements up front in a crisis planning situation would ensure that sufficient augmentation is requested to get the job done. Making it a PSRC, as opposed to relying on pure volunteerism, would ensure that the CinC is not placed "in a dilemma where reserves that are required for implementing a CinC's plan may not be called, even though the CinC is held responsible for accomplishing his mission."
In addition to passing the test of adequacy, an early PSRC would ensure that plans pass the test of feasibility, defined by the Joint Chiefs' doctrine as "plans [that] accomplish assigned tasks with resources that are available within the time frames contemplated by the plan." During Allied Force, some commands relied on the individual augmentation (IA) process, which is designed to assign active-duty personnel from different commands, on a temporary additional duty (TAD) basis, to the supported CinC. The process, however, "is not designed for rapid response," took a long time to implement, and left supporting commands undermanned in several key areas. Both the IA process and the PSRC process do not allow the CinC to develop feasible plans since the CinC does not receive the guaranteed augmentation he needs within the contemplated time frame. Above is the Allied Force timeline for both the PSRC process and the IA (indicated as TAD events) process. The operation order for Noble Anvil (Kosovo air campaign) was released on 17 February, but it was not until the end of March that the first augmentees arrived via the IA process, and mid-May before the first augmentees from the PSRC arrived. Both processes are too slow in providing the augmentation needed for crisis planning and combat operations. If the CinC were authorized to recall reservists as part of the alert and execute orders, he would get his augmentees much faster, would know when his augmentees were to arrive, and would be certain that they would arrive in time to accomplish the mission.
The third test that a CinC's plan must pass is that of acceptability, defined as "plans [that] are proportional and worth the anticipated cost." The concept of acceptability normally deals with the anticipated loss of "personnel, equipment, material, time, or position." While recalling reservists to augment planning and operational staffs would not increase the likelihood of losses in these areas, it does incur an increased monetary and political cost.
Recalling reservists to active duty costs money, but so does the active-duty IA process. The cost of travel and lodging would be the same regardless of which process was used. The only additional cost would be for the time that reservists would be on active duty. These costs normally would be unanticipated since they would be incurred because of crisis action planning. Looking at recent historical trends, however, would give the CinCs a reasonable forecast for budgetary purposes. In addition, any contingency operation is unexpected and incurs additional costs. If Congress allocates extra funds during the course of a year to pay the costs of contingency operations, the cost of recalling reservists would be covered by increasing the Reserve Personnel, Navy (RPN) budget from the congressional "plus-up." If additional funding is not allocated, then, like the additional operational and maintenance costs incurred during contingency operations, the CinC would have to ask the Navy to cover the additional RPN costs from other areas. The CinC's justification would hinge on the concept of acceptability, meaning that the benefits to him are worth the anticipated costs.
Another cost related to acceptability is the political cost of recalling reservists. Where the National Command Authority might be reluctant to authorize a recall of tens of thousands of reservists, recalling small numbers carries significantly less political consequence. Recalling 20,000 reservists for Desert Shield and Desert Storm was a significant event, but the President has authorized much smaller PSRCs on other occasions with little attention from the American public. In September 1994, the President signed a PSRC for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti that included 400 reservists for the Navy. In December 1995, he signed another PSRC that included 220 naval reservists for Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia. The American public paid little attention to these recalls and the reaction from the reservists actually has been positive. The Department of Defense reported that "The recent use of reserve component units in and around Bosnia called for a deployment of up to 270 days. The reserve components have indicated that there has not been any negative impact on their readiness because of the increased use of the reserve units. Some of the reserve units have indicated a positive impact on their respective units. There is no statistical data to indicate any trend that reservists are `voting with their feet' as a result of being mobilized." This should come as no surprise because 97% of the Navy PSRC billets for Allied Force were filled by volunteers.
Total force is a reality. Operation Allied Force was a vivid example of how the active and reserve components of the Navy, as well as the other services, train, operate, and fight as a single entity. In numerous commands throughout the fleet, reservists are an integral part of the command in peacetime and an indispensable part of the command in wartime. The present process of accessing reservists, however, is simply too slow.
To rectify this, the PSRC process should be streamlined. When a warning order is issued, CinCs should immediately assess their need for reservists and include a request for the number of reservists needed to complete crisis action planning and to execute each potential course of action. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs then should immediately seek a PSRC. When they issue the alert and execute orders, they should include authority to recall the appropriate number of reservists. Naval reservists play a vital role today in accomplishing routine peacetime operations. They must be made available quickly for the critical role they play in wartime.
Captain Roy is Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Programs and Requirements (N5) for Commander Naval Air Reserve Force in New Orleans.