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01-31-08 Commission on the National Guard and Reserves-Final

01-31-08 Commission on the National Guard and Reserves-Final

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Published by Mark Welkie

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Published by: Mark Welkie on Mar 13, 2011
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08/19/2011

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 January 31, 2008Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves is pleased to submit toyou its nal report as required by Public Law 108-375, the Ronald ReaganNational Deense Authoriation Act or Fiscal Year 2005 (as amended byPublic Law 109-163). As you know, Congress chartered this Commissionto assess the reserve component o the U.S. military and to recommendchanges to ensure that the National Guard and other reserve componentsare organied, trained, equipped, compensated, and supported to best meetthe needs o U.S. national security.The Commission’s rst interim report, containing initial ndings andthe description o a strategic plan to complete our work, was deliveredon June 5, 2006. The second interim report, delivered on March 1, 2007,was required by Public Law 109-364, the John Warner National DeenseAuthoriation Act or Fiscal Year 2007, enacted on October 17, 2006. Thatsecond report eamined 17 proposals contained in the National DeenseEnhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act, and included 23Commission recommendations covering the broad spectrum o issues raisedby the legislation.The Commission applauds Congress’s timely and decisive action in imple-menting a number o these important provisions in the 2008 NationalDeense Authoriation Act. In careully considering the Commission’s recom-mendations, Congress has changed in a undamental way the Departmento Deense’s role or the homeland, and taken signicant steps to make thenation saer rom man-made and natural disasters. Secretary o Deense Gates
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The Honorable Carl LevinChairman, Committeeon Armed ServicesUnited States SenateWashington, DC 2051
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The Honorable Ike SkeltonChairman, Committeeon Armed ServicesUnited States House o RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515The Honorable John McCainRanking Member, Committeeon Armed ServicesUnited States SenateWashington, DC 20510The Honorable Duncan HunterRanking Member, Committeeon Armed ServicesUnited States House o RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515
 
also has taken timely and decisive action to implement those recommendations not requiring legisla-tion, and has advocated beore Congress or those requiring legislation.The nal report o the Commission was inormed by 17 days o public hearings involving 115witnesses; 52 Commission meetings; more than 850 interviews; numerous site visits, orums, andpanel discussions; and the detailed analysis o thousands o documents supplied at the Commission’srequest by the military services, government agencies, eperts, and other stakeholders. It containssi major conclusions and 95 recommendations, supported by 163 ndings.In conducting its work, the Commission has gathered inormation, analyed evidence, identiedsignicant problems acing the reserve components, and sought to oer the best possible recom-mendations to solve the problems identied. The problems we identiy in this report are systemic,have evolved over many years, and are not the product o any one ocial or administration. Manyo the Commission’s recommendations to solve those problems can be implemented immediately;however, a number o them may take years to implement eectively. Their ull implementation willrequire additional work by Congress and the eecutive branch.At the core o these changes is the eplicit recognition o the evolution o the reserve componentsrom a purely strategic orce, with lengthy mobiliation times designed to meet Cold War threatsrom large nation-states, to an operational orce. This operational reserve must be readily availableor emergencies at home and abroad, and more ully integrated with the active component. Simul-taneously, this orce must retain required strategic elements and capabilities.The Commission concludes that there is no reasonable alternative to the nation’s continued increasedreliance on reserve components as part o its operational orce or missions at home and abroad.However, the Commission also concludes that this change rom their Cold War posture necessitatesundamental reorms to reserve components’ homeland roles and missions, personnel managementsystems, equipping and training policies, policies aecting amilies and employers, and the orga-niations and structures used to manage the reserves. These reorms are essential to ensure thatthis operational reserve is easible in the short term while sustainable over the long term. In act,the uture o the all-volunteer orce depends or its success on policymakers’ undertaking neededreorms to ensure that the reserve components are ready, capable, and available or both operationaland strategic purposes.In reviewing the past several decades o intense use o the reserve components, most notably asan integral part o operations in Iraq, Aghanistan, and the homeland, the Commission has oundindisputable and overwhelming evidence o the need or policymakers and the military to breakwith outdated policies and processes and implement undamental, thorough reorms in these areas.The members o this Commission share this view unanimously. We note that these recommenda-tions will require the nation to reorder the priorities o the Department o Deense, thereby neces-sitating a major restructuring o laws and DOD’s budget. There are some costs associated with theserecommendations, but the problems are serious, the need to address them is urgent, and the benetso the reorms we identiy more than eceed the epense o implementing them.These issues are etremely comple, and people o good character and conscience will disagreewith some o the solutions we propose. That is to be epected. No signicant reorms have beenundertaken in the laws aecting the reserve components or more than hal a century. The lastmajor Deense reorm eort—the Goldwater-Nichols Department o Deense Reorganiation Acto 1986—made undamental adjustments to the roles o the Secretary o Deense, the Chairman o the Joint Chies o Sta, and combatant commanders but did not aect the structures or policies o the reserve components. We hope and anticipate that this report will generate lively debate amongthe institutions and key policymakers responsible or protecting U.S. national security.With the submission o this our last report, the Commission turns our ndings, conclusions, andrecommendations over to the legislative and eecutive branches, where we eel condent they willbe careully considered, improved upon, and implemented. We believe that this action will have thesame proound and positive eects as did the Goldwater-Nichols legislation.The Commission wants to epress our continuing deep appreciation or the signicant support andcooperation rom the Congress and the Department o Deense as well as the sustained, superb work

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