Captain Fred R. Becker, USN (Ret.)
Director of Naval Affairs
Reserve Officers Association of the United States
Reserve Officers Association
1 Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-5655
FRED R. BECKER, JR.
Fred Becker is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and a retired Captain, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy. He graduated from the
U.S. Naval Academy in 1971. His first assignment after commissioning was as Gunnery Officer on board USS STICKELL (DD-888),
followed by a tour on USS BIDDLE (DLG-34) as Missile Officer. Under his leadership BIDDLE's Missile Battery was awarded the Atlantic
Fleet "E" for excellence in readiness and missile accuracy.
He was then assigned as Aide-de-Camp to Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr., at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia.
While at the Staff College, he was selected as one of an elite group of officers to attend law school under the auspice of the Navy's Law
Education Program. He subsequently attended the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary, graduating with a J.D.
Degree (Order of the Coif) in 1979.
Fred Becker then attended the Naval Justice School where we was the recipient of the American Bar Association Award of Professional
Merit, graduating first in his class. His first assignment as a Judge Advocate was to the Naval Legal Service Office, Norfolk, Virginia where he
served as a prosecution attorney, and later as the senior prosecution attorney. As the senior prosecution attorney, he was responsible for the
supervision of seven other attorneys, who prosecuted in excess of 1,000 cases annually at the Navy's largest Legal Service Office.
Subsequently, Fred Becker was assigned as the Executive Officer, Naval Legal Service Officer, Guam. Following this tour of duty, he was
assigned to the Office of the Judge Advocate General where he was responsible for recruiting and hiring new attorneys for the Navy Judge
Advocate General's Corps. He then commenced a tour at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs where he served as a liaison officer with the
Congress in the area of federal procurement policy and legislation. His ensuing assignment was as the Military Advisor to Mr. L. Wayne Arny,
III, Associate Director, National Security and International Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.
Following this assignment, he was assigned as the Deputy Fleet Judge Advocate, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was then
assigned as the Fleet Judge Advocate, Commander, THIRD Fleet.
Fred Becker's next assignment was as the Legal Counsel to the Chief of Naval Personnel. Following the tour of duty as Legal Counsel to the
Chief of Naval Personnel, Fred Becker was assigned as the Director, Legislation, U.S. Navy Office of Legislative Affairs. In this position he
supervised a staff eleven civilian and military personnel conducting Congressional legislative affairs on such diverse issues as military personnel
and compensation, health care, Naval Reserve programs, government contracting, military construction, moral, welfare and recreation
programs and environmental compliance.
Fred Becker qualified as a Surface Warfare Office in 1974. He is a member of the Virginia Bar. He has been awarded the Legion of Merit
(second award), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (fourth award), the Joint Service
Commendation Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal (second award). He is also entitled to wear the Presidential Service Badge. He
retired from the U.S. Navy on 1 November 1996, immediately assuming the position of Naval Affairs Director for the Reserve Officers
Association of the United States.
Fred Becker is listed in "Who's Who In American Law," and "Who's Who Among Emerging Young Leaders in America." He is married to the
former Barbara Lee Sheinhouse of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Barbara is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve (Nurse Corps)
(Retired). They have four daughters: Kimberly, a junior at East Carolina University; Lori, a freshman at The College of William and Mary;
Melissa, a high school freshman; and Ashley, who is in elementary school.
The Reserve Officers Association is a private, member-supported, congressionally chartered organization. It receives no federal or other public
Mister Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased tobe here today to present the Reserve Officers Association's views on the
proposals of the Quadrennial Defense Review regarding our Reserve forces and their implications for the Total Force.
Even before its release, the QDR was the subject of considerable controversy as its champions and its detractors argued whether it was a
strategy- or a budget-driven document. Given the current emphasis upon balancing the budget and reducing the deficit, as a practical matter
this debate is apparently over. There simply is not enough money available in the defense budget to do all that it is generally agreed must be
done to modernize our forces and maintain their critical technological edge into the twenty-first century.
Given the constrained defense budgets programmed for the foreseeable future, and the desire to increase modernization funding by $20 billion
per year, DoD has recommended personnel reductions and base closures and realignments (BRAC) as the bill payers of choice. The BRAC
proposal appears to have found very little support in the Congress, suggesting that it is unlikely to generate legislation this session. The lack of
an immediate BRAC round and its anticipated savings will, therefore, put additional pressure on the current end strength and the supporting
personnel accounts to provide the desired modernization dollars.
The QDR remains rooted in the requirement for US forces to be able to successfully fight two nearly simultaneous major theater wars, Korea
and Southwest Asia being the most likely regional candidates. That these remain unchanged from the Bottom-up Review's assumptions signals
that there is to be no reduction in missions or contingency planning whatever the post-reduction force structure may be. Further, the force
continues to be consistently strained by an apparently endless catalogue of peacekeeping missions. This means that the Total Force, reduced in
numbers and organizations to pay for modernization, will experience both an increase in operations tempo and a reduction in capability as it
strains to support a rising tide of requirements, demands, and opportunities.
Exacerbating these pressures is the fact that the QDR, exhibiting some programmatic ambivalence (or perhaps lack of focus), has
recommended significant reductions (some 54,000 personnel) in Reserve component end strength. This share-the-pain approach means that as
the Active force is reduced to meet QDR targets, there will be fewer Reserve component billets available to receive the qualified service
members who are being forced off active duty. Mission capability will be lost or degraded either immediately or in the long term as these
reductions are implemented.
Of the two effects the long-term one is, perhaps, the more insidious since it will probably entail an indeterminate period of striving in which the
same members and units of our shrunken Reserve forces are repeatedly activated to support new and ever-increasing contingencies. (This
situation is already occurring to a degree in the Army Reserve civil affairs community, where after several years of continual activations,
Reservists' employers are voicing their distress to the extent that Marine Corps Reserve civil affairs assets are now being called to active duty
to assist in fulfilling this critical mission.) Eventually these Reserve service members, their employers, and their families may reach the saturation
point and abandon the program. When that happens, the Reserve system will collapse, and with it the Total Force. If we can't afford an
adequately structured Total Force, can we afford the all-active duty force that is its only alternative?
On the other hand, there is a way to protect both mission capability and our Reserve forces, and that would be to increase rather than
decrease the size of the services' Reserve components, to add structure and end strength to accommodate selected missions that are
transferred appropriately to the Reserve components. Additional structure and end strength would ensure that the same Reserve soldiers are
not bearing a disproportionate share of the burden of supporting contingencies. Consideration should be given to identifying the types of RC
units most likely to be frequently activated and increasing their numbers in the Reserve force structure.
This strategy would ensure that Total Force mission capability is preserved and Reserve component assets are not jeopardized through
overuse. Moreover, because of the relatively inexpensive personnel costs associated with Reserve personnel when compared with their active
duty counterparts, the personnel savings "lost" to the modernization effort would be minimal. (Recall that the commonly accepted active duty -
Reserve duty cost ratio is anywhere from three to six to one. This cost advantage also suggests that the most efficient bill-payer in this
circumstance is active duty end strength -- simply put: cut appropriate missions and the end strength in the Active components and transfer the
missions and assets to the Reserve components.)
Finally, there is one observation that we believe needs to be made regarding the way the QDR assigns reduction targets. The practice of
allocating personnel reductions to the services in gross numbers has the advantage of allowing the individual services to cut their end strengths
where they think best. Regrettably, this approach also obscures the real cost in readiness when the services opt to reduce manning levels rather
than eliminating missions. The result is a hollow force whose readiness and effectiveness has been subtly degraded and whose lessened
efficiency is not immediately evident. Such a process raises no red flags and sounds no alarms, and the damage can go unnoticed and
unremedied until an emergency arises that highlights just how much readiness has decayed as a result of force hollowness.
Before turning to service-specific comments allow me to raise one issue that has given us at ROA some concern. The reductions proposed by
the QDR are intended to provide funding to modernize the force's warfighting equipment and ensure that we maintain our technological edge on
the battlefield. No where in the background material that we have seen on this process has there been any indication that the Reserve
components' equipment shortfalls have been factored into this equation. Indeed, there is every indication that the shortfall to be targeted is
virtually entirely in the Active component. We believe that the Reserve components should benefit in proportion to their share of the pain. If we
are to share the pain, let us at least share the benefit.
We are pleased to note that the House FY98 Defense Authorization Bill requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report to the
Congress regarding measures being taken to ensure that the Reserve components are being appropriately funded and equipped in the long and
the short term.
Now let me turn to our observations regarding service-specific QDR recommendations.
The Army Reserve today is prepared better than ever, to not only be a full partner in America's Army, but to do so quickly, efficiently, and
professionally. In fact the Army places such reliance on the Army Reserve that it can not go to war or accomplish missions like Operation Joint
Guard without it. Through Army Reserve core competencies of combat support (CS) and combat service support (CSS), the Army Reserve
provides the majority of the Army's capability. Listed below are just a few of the many Army Reserve's contributions to the force structure of
100 percent of the Army's training and exercise divisions,
100 percent of the enemy prisoner of war brigades,
97 percent of the civil affairs units,
85 percent of the psychological operations units,
81 percent of the Judge Advocate General units,
80 percent of the transportation groups, and
more than 70 percent of the Army's medical and chemical defense capability.
Even with diminished defense dollars the Army and its Reserve components continue to be the world's premier land combat force, serving the
nation every day at home and around the world. Since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 the Army has transformed itself from a
forward-deployed, primarily European-based force to a Conus-based, power projection Army capable of deploying worldwide to protect
Today's Army is smaller now than at any time since before WWII and yet its pace of operations continues to increase. Since 1990 the Army
has conducted operations in such places as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia. It conducts these and similar
missions at a level 16-times that of the much larger Army in place prior to 1990. In 1996, on any given day, more than 35,000 soldiers, from
all Army components, were deployed from their home stations participating in exercises and conducting operations in more than 70 countries,
and this pace continues in 1997.
It appears that the QDR's recommendations affecting America's Army are budget- not strategy-driven. Even though the national defense
strategy still proposes a two-major-theater war (MTW) scenario, requiring adequate forces to fight and win two nearly simultaneous MTWs,
the QDR recommends cuts to both the Active and Reserve component structures of the Army, structures that many doubted were adequate to
fight a second MTW, such as Korea, during Operation Desert Storm, and structures that have already been reduced by almost 500,000
personnel from the Army that fought and won the Persian Gulf War.
During the current (QDR) reduction process the Army met its targets largely through military and civilian personnel cuts, with major reductions
directed at its Reserve components, primarily its National Guard. The Army did well with the hand it was dealt, but the deck was stacked.
Dollars drove the strategy and the resulting QDR recommendations.
In today's fiscally constrained environment, the Army can not maintain an active force large enough to meet its requirements under a two-MTW
scenario or meet the peacekeeping requirements that have risen during this decade. Realistically, the Army depends on its cost-effective
Reserve components to be able to meet world contingencies. To return to a Cold-War military structure dependent on a large standing Army
would be cost-prohibitive in these days of declining budgets, would be unrealistic when there is less than a clear threat to our national security
interests. Moreover, such a return is not necessary because the Army's Reserve components are capable, trained, and ready to perform their
The post Cold-War reductions and the Army's decision to maintain much of its combat service (CS) and combat service support (CSS) in the
Reserve have placed much greater reliance on its Army Reserve. Today's Army Reserve is a full partner in every Army operation. Although the
Army Reserve is only 20 percent of the Total Army, it is structured and missioned to perform 46 percent of the Army's combat service support
and 32 percent of the Army's combat support missions and does this for only 5.3 percent of the Army's budget.
Seventy-three percent of the Reserve Component personnel and 74 percent of the RC units mobilized for Operation Joint Endeavor and
Operation Joint Guard are from the Army Reserve. Eighty-six thousand Army Reserve soldiers and 650 units were mobilized for ODS. Four
hundred and twenty-four Army Reserve units are part of the Force Support Package (FSP) -- Active, Guard, and Reserve units that support
America's Army Crisis Response Force and Early Reinforcing Force. Unlike many Army Reserve units of just a few years ago that were
"break-glass-in-case-of-war" type organizations, today's Army Reserve units are required at the beginning of any contingency operation. The
Army Reserve is truly a relevant force.
If Operation Just Cause (Bosnia) and Operation Desert Storm (Kuwait) are the examples of future peacekeeping and combat operations in
which America's Armed Forces are expected to participate, then it is clear that the Army will be the primary participant in these land-based
operations. A familiar quote from T.R. Fehrenbach's This Kind of War says it all: "You may fly over a land forever. You may bomb it, atomize
it, pulverize it, and wipe it clean of life - but if you decide to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do it on the ground, the
way the Roman legions did, by putting young men in the mud." What the ground soldier and marine accomplished in 100 hours in Kuwait and
Iraq may never have been accomplished by continued air bombardment. No amount of air power or sea power could have accomplished what
the soldier has accomplished in bringing stability to Bosnia and Kuwait. If we expect to control the ground, there must be soldiers on the
There is no doubt that the threat of US airpower to potential adversaries was a major contributor to today's peace in Bosnia, but it is the
presence of the soldier on the ground providing security as well as humanitarian assistance to the war-torn region that gives the region the
In the administration's effort to reduce the budget, today's readiness and operations tempo requirements are being funded at the expense of
procurement, upkeep of existing facilities, and future force modernization. The administration's decisions to use defense as a billpayer and the
desire to convert defense spending to the long-sought peace dividend continue to put Total Army readiness, modernization, and the defense of
our nation at too great a risk. These are the pressures that drove the recommendations reached in the QDR process. By the end of FY98 the
programmed post-Cold War downsizing will reduce the Total Army by nearly 500,000 personnel - approximately 285,000 from the Active,
90,000 from the Guard, and 111,000 from the Reserve.
These personnel cuts do not include those proposed by the QDR. The QDR recommends that the AC be cut an additional 15,000 soldiers to
480,000 and the RC by 45,000 - the Army Reserve would be cut another 7,000 to 201,000, and the Army National Guard would be
reduced 38,000 to 329,000. For America's Army since 1989 this means a cut of 550,000 soldiers, over 35 percent of its Cold-War strength -
for the AC a total cut of 39 percent, for the Army Reserve a cut of 37 percent, and for the Army National Guard a cut of 28 percent.
OSD, apparently unwilling to resolve its own recommendations to cut 45,000 personnel from for Army National Guard and Reserve, directed
that the Army conduct an offsite meeting to determine the split of personnel cuts between the Guard and Reserve. The subsequent meeting, that
was held 2-4 June at Fort McNair, recommended that the Reserve be cut 3,000 personnel in FY00 and the Guard be cut 17,000 personnel
(5,000 in FY98, 5,000 in FY99, and 7,000 in FY00), kicking the proverbial can down the road for the additional 25,000 (4,000 Army
Reserve and 21,000 Army Guard) QDR- recommended cuts into FY01 and FY02.
There is danger in cutting the AC force beyond the obvious reduction in immediate war fighting capability. Many Reserve soldiers receive their
initial training as members of the Active Army and complete 4 years or more of active duty before they leave active duty and join the Reserve
components. A smaller AC reduces the opportunities for Reserve soldiers to train, to gain the benefit of active duty experience learning from
active duty personnel with many years' experience as soldiers, warfighters, and leaders. Reducing the Active Army too much will reduce the
number of soldiers with active duty experience transferring to the Reserve.
The QDR recommends that the Army maintain its 12 AC divisions, yet fails to recommend mission transfer to its capable Reserve components,
and only touches on potential missions for National Guard divisions. Once again, as in the Bottom-Up Review, cuts are being made to the
Guard and Reserve to decrease defense spending, not to retain quality soldiers necessary to maintain a viable mobilization base that is essential
to an all-volunteer force that lacks a draft.
Unfortunately the QDR-recommended cuts for the Army are yet another salami-slice approach to reducing the defense budget. There appears
to be no plan to transfer missions to the cost-effective Reserve components, only a plan to cut end-strength and then determine what missions
would be transferred or eliminated. In the out-years the Army envisions a reduction to its division structure due to increased division lethality
brought by improved technology and modernization. However, this increased lethality is in the out-years and reductions to end-strength must
be accomplished in the next 5 years to support a balanced budget in 2002.
In general, the QDR's recommendations for the Navy budget, and Naval Reserve budget in particular, appear to be driven by arithmetic and
the perceived requirement for the Reserve to "share the pain" with the Active component despite the significant and well-recognized
compensating leverage offered by today's Naval Reserve.
The Naval Reserve is a major force multiplier for today's Navy. Consider the following percentages of the total capability provided by today's
Naval Reserves: inshore undersea warfare - 100%; organic airlift - 100%; adversary squadrons - 100%; Naval control of shipping - 100%;
cargo handling battalions - 95%; combat search and rescue/Naval special warfare -70%; special boat - 70%; mobile construction battalions -
60%; fleet hospitals - 40%; maritime patrol squadrons - 40%. All of these missions are accomplished at a fraction of the active duty personnel
cost. This much is background.
The QDR notes that although some additional Reserve personnel will be required to support the transition of combat logistic force ships to the
Military Sealift Command, other Reserve positions could be reduced due to the reduction of surface combatants and submarine tenders, as
well as the early withdrawal of the SH-2G helicopter from service and some cutbacks in overseas activities.
The QDR proposes that the Navy reduce active and Reserve end strength by 18,000 and 4,100 personnel respectively. Although not
specifically addressed in the QDR it is assumed that these reductions will be in addition to those previously proposed for FY98 and FY99,
which will take the Naval Reserve to 93,500. As a result, the Naval Reserve, which has already taken the highest personnel reduction as
compared to any other component during the 1988 to 1998 time period, from 157,000 to 94,000 (40 percent), and a greater percentage in
personnel reductions than the active force during the 1989 to 1997 time period (37 percent as opposed to 32 percent) is proposed for another
significant reduction, to below 90,000.
The QDR also recommends that the Navy retain 116 of its 128 surface combatants; 12 aircraft carriers, including the Reserve carrier; and 12
amphibious ready groups. Although not directly addressed in the QDR, it is apparent that the predominant reduction in surface combatants
would be from the Reserve force. In addition, it is apparent that the QDR recommendations would result in the elimination of the SH-2G
helicopter squadrons that support the Reserve frigates. In this vein, it makes little sense to remove warfighting equipment from the Naval
reserve. To do so would be tantamount to the elimination of the Total Force policy since Reservists will not be provided the opportunity to get
vital warfighting experience or achieve command. In short, from a business perspective it makes little sense to make the Naval Reserve - the
Navy's most cost-effective entity - a cash cow for active duty hardware. Finally, the QDR also recommends that the Navy retain 11 air wings,
including the Reserve air wing. The QDR also recommends that the Navy retain 11 air wings, including the Reserve air wing.
In recent years the Navy has made force mix changes that have placed increased reliance on the Naval Reserve in recognition of the Naval
Reserve force's ever-increasing value as a force multiplier. The transfer of LSTs, FFGs, minesweepers and the role of the USS John F.
Kennedy as an operational reserve carrier are recent examples. In addition, the entire responsibility for coastal defense, subsurface, surface
and air, now rests with the Naval Reserve, with augmentation from the United States Coast Guard Reserve.
The Naval Reserve also continues to take on new and additional roles as it provides ever-increasing fleet support. Further areas of possible
expansion include, but are not limited to:
Naval Reserve manning of the Ready Reserve Force,
Increased Reserve contribution to Airborne Electronic Warfare and combat adversary training in the continental United States,
Increased Reserve contribution to intelligence programs, and
Increased Reserve participation in the Undersea Surveillance System,
Increased direct participation in the Western Hemisphere Group and counter-narcotics operations,
Other areas where forces are in general not required except in a national emergency, such as cargo afloat replenishment teams,
ordnance handling, air logistics capabilities, and various facets of amphibious operations.
In short, given budgeting constraints and the force-multiplying effect of today's Naval Reserve, the Naval Reserve should not be viewed as a
continual fair sharer in force reductions, but a cost-effective force multiplier. Today's Naval Reserve represents 20 percent of the Navy's
capability, yet consumes only 3 percent of the budget. In an environment of cost-savings and tight budgets, the leverage provided by the
citizen-sailor should, therefore, be increasing not decreasing.
Today, more than ever, the Marine Corps Reserve is a key player in the Corps' worldwide missions. The following chart suggests the scope of
some of these critical contributions:
Civil Affairs - 100%
Adversary Aircraft - 100%
Force Reconnaissance Companies - 50%
ANGLICO - 50%
Tank Battalions - 50%
Light Antiaircraft Missiles - 50%
Aerial Refueling - 40%
Artillery Battalions - 33%
Low Altitude Air Defense - 33%
Fighter Aircraft - 28%
Infantry Regiments - 27%
Engineer Support - 25%
Landing Support - 25%
Helicopters - 20%.
While the QDR proposes that the Marine Corps maintain a three Marine Expeditionary Force structure, it also recommends reductions in
Reserve end-strength by 4,200 personnel, a 10 percent reduction, while cutting the active duty force by only 1,800 personnel. The report
states that Reserve infrastructure can be reduced through a combination of fewer active duty personnel in support of the Reserves, active
Reserves, individual mobilization augmentees and drilling Reservists.
As a follow-on to the recommendations of the QDR, the Commandant has convened a Marine Corps Active Force Structure Review and a
Marine Corps Reserve Force Structure Review. The appointing directive to the Reserve Force structure review states that the, "task is to
define the most effective, capable, relevant and realistically attainable force structure for the Marine Corps Reserve in the mid-range
(2005-2010) time frame." The directive also notes that, "With capabilities inextricably linked to structure, it is vital that the Total Force Marine
Corps be designed with one goal in mind: success in the battlefield."
Specific guidance includes:
The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) as the source for the strategic setting for the review. "The force structure reduction numbers
on the QDR reflect notional numbers and are not to be considered as a target."
Guidance that current Active component force structure and capabilities will be utilized as a baseline.
The assumption that the Marine Corps will maintain its current structure (division, wing and force service support group). Inside this
macro-structure, however, the directive notes that the "mirror-imaging concept is not sacrosanct ... recommendations must consider all
elements of the (RSMCR, IMA, AR, civilian) as they impact and relate to the organization, structure and mission of the Marine Corps....
Furthermore,[the studies should] remain open to considering nontraditional roles/assignments of the RC in support of the AC."
The assumption that the Marine Reserve component will be integrated into the warfighting Marine Expeditionary Forces principally at
the squadron/battalion level.
Focusing on potential force structure changes that better support the regular Marine Force commanders and exploring initiatives that will
lead to the imaginative use of Reserve capabilities.
The results of the Marine Corps Structure Review are due to the commandant on August 1, 1997. While we are pleased to note that the
commandant's directive indicates that the numbers within the QDR are notional and are not to be considered a target, there is concern that the
numbers appear to be budget- rather than requirements-driven.
It should also be noted that although the Coast Guard was very much involved in the QDR process at all levels, the final report fails to mention
its contributions or the contributions of the Coast Guard Reserve in support of defense operations.
The Coast Guard provides a 40,000 member military force, 125 cutters and patrol boats, 160 aircraft, environmental defense capability,
integrated harbor defense packages and port security units that are commanded and operated virtually entirely by the Coast Guard Reserve.
For example, during the Dynamic Commitment Wargames, it was obvious that U.S. military operations are most vulnerable while our military
sealift ships approach the foreign coast, transit the harbor and conduct their off-loads. Military sealift carries all our heavy military equipment,
and the loss of even one would seriously impair U.S. operations. Deployed Coast Guard cutters and Reserve port security units play critical
roles in protecting these ships against the Asymmetrical Threat -- the missile-firing patrol boat, the terrorist with a boat, or swimmer with a
pack of explosives.
During Dynamic Commitment, Coast Guard forces were required in 59 percent of the scenarios, including every scenario where military sealift
ships were used. Since 95 percent of all military equipment and cargo moves to the theater by sealift, the warfighting Commanders in chief
were anxious that the Coast Guard protect this critical vulnerability.
Coast Guard cutters also play an important role in providing a back-fill for more capable Navy ships in low threat missions, such as Maritime
Interdiction Operations in the Red Sea or Persian Gulf. Such options allow Navy "high end" ships to be more effectively employed in higher
threat/combat operations. As the Navy surface combatant fleet grows smaller, this could be an increasingly important Coast Guard mission in
the future. Finally, it should be noted that the Coast Guard provides the nation's entire ice-breaking and environmental defense capability.
If properly resourced the Reserve component can participate in any Air Force mission at the current operational tempo. Proper resourcing
includes sufficient authorizations in end strength, the reserve personnel account (RPA), operations and maintenance (O&M), equipment
modernization and military construction (MILCON). The FY98 budget gives AFRC $2,453.8 million, or 3.3% of the total Air Force TOA of
For this amount the Air Force gets aircrews who put in from 95 days per year in the C-9 medical evacuation mission to 140 days per year in
C-17, B-52, MC-130 and HH-60 missions. It gets 100 percent of DOD's weather reconnaissance, aerial spray, and helicopter space shuttle
support. It gets 67 percent of its total medical crews; 62 percent of its special operations "Talon 1" capability; and 50 percent of the KC-10
tanker crews and maintenance personnel through its associate program, where the aircraft are owned by the Active component and the tasks
of flying and maintaining them are shared evenly with AFRC. And it gets 45 percent of the strategic airlift C-141, C-5 and C-17 crews and
maintenance, also through the associate program. The AFRC itself owns 25 percent of the C-5 and C-141 assets of the Total Air Force. It
owns 23 percent of the tactical airlift C-130 force, 15 percent of the B-52 bomber force and 13 percent of the KC-135 tanker force as well.
The QDR results for the Air Reserve Components include a personnel cut recommendation of 700 for the combined Air Force Reserve and
Air National Guard. The Active component is to lose one fighter wing equivalent to the Reserve component, maintaining a total of 20 fighter
wings. Not addressed is the split between the Reserve and the Guard for both issues. It would seem appropriate to split the personnel
reduction proportionally. It would also seem appropriate to move the fighter wing from the Active component to the Air Force Reserve
Command, inasmuch as the Air Guard presently has six wings, while the Reserve has but one.
ROA notes with appreciation that AFRC end-strength drawdown appears to have bottomed out in the FY97 NDAA and FY98 PB at
73,431. If the drawdown is indeed finished, the command will be able to enjoy a period of relative stability, even if the operations tempo
remains high. While some Pentagon officials believe the concept of compensating leverage has not yet been stretched as far as possible, and
that there is more the Reserve components can do to relieve the fearsome operations tempo of the Active component, many of our members in
the flying units tell us it is no longer a concept but a policy, and that they are coming close to maximum output.
With contributions of the magnitude noted above, it is not difficult to view AFRC as an infinite leveraging resource. Up to a point, it is very
effective leverage at a very reasonable cost. But it is not infinite. Further increases in operations tempo will likely reach the limits of what a
volunteer force can do, while still fulfilling obligations to civilian employers and families -- if the size of the Reserve force does not grow. With
force structure growth comes the ability to decrease personnel tempo at a cost much lower than that of increasing the size of the Active
component. In short, the airframes will be able to fly at the same high rate, but with more crews and maintainers to accomplish the mission.
Several key issues are relevant to the continued success of the AFRC. The first of these is readiness. Supporting high readiness rates includes
fair, equitable and adequate compensation and benefits; adequate manpower authorizations, personal equipment, and funding; appropriate
long-term capital investment in military construction; and procurement of enhanced training devices.
Modernization is the second key issue. With modernization comes compatibility and the use of AFRC's assets in any theater at any time.
Without modernization, AFRC's aircraft become irrelevant.
The third key issue is accessibility. Given the tools to maximize volunteerism (i.e., support of employers of Reservists, parity with Active
component personnel while on tours of 30 days or less, and reasonable personnel tempo) AFRC citizen-airmen will continue to volunteer in the
numbers required by the mission.
The last key is force structure. Recent decisions by DOD to reduce the strategic and tactical airlift fleets in the face of an already unmet
ton-mile airlift requirement are dangerous and inefficient. The Air Force's C-141 fleet is presently being reduced in number to meet a phase-out
date of 2006, and the service hopes to draw down the C-130 fleet by some 40 aircraft. If the drawdowns continue DOD will close the door
on many active duty, Reserve associate, and Reserve (aircraft) equipped units. The country will lose the tremendous investment in and
expertise of the aircrews and maintenance personnel who have operated the aircraft for years.
Speculation sees the older aircraft as bill payers for the new C-17. While the C-17 is certainly an excellent airlifter, the current buy is for only
120 airframes, the last to be delivered 6 years hence. The result of the older aircraft and their crews and support personnel being eliminated
before the new aircraft are on line is a significant airlift shortfall, for which the department has no planned solution. This is significant because it
takes time - years - to rebuild an airlift unit from scratch. With the experienced people gone, getting back to our present capability in the event
of a short notice contingency will not be possible.
The Department should put what it considers its old and excess strategic and tactical airlift assets into the Reserve component, at least until the
C-17 is on line and the new defense guidance dictates a ton-mile airlift requirement for the Air Force based on the world situation at that time.