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Chapter 4

READINESS

The continuing dangers of today’s international security environment demand that the United States have the best–trained, best–equipped, and best–prepared military forces in the world. Recruiting, retaining, equipping, and training these forces to be ready for the nation’s wars is the number one priority of the Department of Defense. The Department’s plan for the FY 2001 budget continues with initiatives established in 1999 to increase pay, retirement, and other benefits and emphasizes other important short– and long–term initiatives to ensure robust military readiness well into the 21st century.

AMERICA’S FORCE IS READY

The U.S. armed forces remain the most capable in the world and have demonstrated their readiness in meeting America’s many security obligations around the globe. In 1999, U.S. armed forces successfully responded to numerous, worldwide contingency operations ranging from the ongoing mission of Operations Northern and Southern Watch patrolling the no–fly zones over Iraq to Operation Allied Force in the Balkans. In addition, there have been continuing peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations in locations like Bosnia (Operation Joint Forge), new operations in Kosovo (Operation Shining Hope), and operations that are drawing down, as in Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy). Simultaneously, the nation’s armed forces have effectively maintained a forward presence around the world, in such places as Europe and the Pacific Rim. In carrying out this range of missions, from small–scale contingencies, such as peacekeeping, to larger–scale operations, the Services have consistently demonstrated their versatility and unmatched capability. Today’s military is ready to and capable of executing the National Military Strategy.

While the readiness of the armed forces is much higher than during the late 1970s and early 1980s, signs of stress (apparent in readiness indicators and informal field reports) have accompanied the Department’s success. Challenges in recruiting and retaining quality people, keeping equipment readiness high, and managing a high operating tempo (OPTEMPO) have led to some readiness concerns and downward trends.

Working together, the Department of Defense and Congress have taken aggressive steps to reverse these trends and keep the U.S. military the best in the world. The positive effects of the FY 1999 and FY 2000 budget funding increases, which focused on readiness, are beginning to show in the field. As part of a continuing strong five–year plan, the FY 2001 budget calls for aggressive programs to further enhance the Department’s short– and long–term readiness.

READINESS CHALLENGES

Readiness is the foundation of U.S. military credibility as an instrument of national power. The need to maintain well–trained, combat–ready forces is clear and remains unchanged. Although the Department’s plans will significantly improve readiness, reversing today’s downward trends will be neither quick nor easy. Meeting the Department’s readiness goals in today’s dynamic security environment will continue to present challenges.

Challenge: Personnel Readiness

U.S. forces are the best in the world primarily because of the quality of the people. Increasing threats to U.S. security and emerging technology make quality service members indispensable. While the Department is still attracting the best and brightest, the nation’s strong economy poses a challenge in recruiting and retaining such personnel. In 1999, both the Army and Air Force fell short of their recruiting goals. Although the Navy and Marine Corps attained their goals, the cost in both dollars and effort was greater than it has been in the past. Recruiting shortfalls over time will adversely impact the readiness of the Services by limiting the ability to properly man squads and crews.

To maintain a skilled, capable force, the Services must also retain their key mid–career and senior leaders. Through careful management, retention problems have not significantly affected readiness, but shortages in certain skills and specialties, such as pilots, machinists, and information technology specialists, merit increased attention.

With strong support from Congress, the Department is addressing these concerns and actively working to make military compensation more competitive with the private sector. The FY 2000 Defense Authorization Act provided for a 4.8 percent raise in base pay, restoration of the 50 percent of base pay retirement, and needed changes in pay tables. By increasing pay and improving the military retirement system, the Department is demonstrating its resolve to improve the lives of military personnel and ensure that a military career remains attractive. The Department also added $100 million for increased recruiting and advertising campaigns.

Along with adequate compensation, the Department seeks to ensure service members are not driven from military service by excessive unit deployments. Deployments are a part of military life. The number and frequency of deployments, however, are increasing at a time when the size and permanent forward presence of the armed forces has declined. While this increased tempo has affected all of the Services, it is especially troublesome in the Air Force and Army, and remains a significant concern. Responding to more frequent contingencies is particularly challenging for certain specialized assets that are constantly in demand but possessed in only limited numbers, such as airborne reconnaissance platforms. More frequent deployments are causing military members to spend even more time away from home station and placing greater stress on both the individual and the family. Increasing deployments can also place a greater strain on those personnel who remain at home station because their workload increases to cover ongoing duties normally performed by the deployed personnel. These commitments can stress unit training and morale. Unit commanders must carefully balance military training requirements with the stability necessary for the long–term health of military families.

The Department, as required by Section 923 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, is working to establish definitions, standards, and data collection methods that will provide detailed reporting and help to address these challenges. The current Service policies and methodologies for the management of personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO) and deployment tempo (DEPTEMPO) are discussed below.

ARMY

The Army currently defines PERSTEMPO as the rate of deployment for Army units measured as a percentage. These deployments include operational taskings as well as training deployments. Personnel tempo consists of two components. The first component, deployment tempo, is the percent of time spent on out–of–station operational deployments by a unit, expressed in terms of days. The second component, skill tempo, is the percent of time spent on out–of–station operational deployments by a particular individual military occupational skill and skill level, expressed in terms of days. Army policy requires all units to report DEPTEMPO. If a unit reaches a DEPTEMPO of 120 days, the Chief of Staff of the Army places the unit on a watch list for additional management attention. In addition to the watch list, Army personnel policy directs commanders to provide for a period of stabilization for soldiers following a temporary duty (TDY) or temporary change of station (TCS). To the extent feasible, when soldiers are placed on TDY/TCS for a period of at least 30 consecutive days, they will be provided a period of stabilization equal to one month at home for each month deployed.

The Army measures OPTEMPO as a resource gauge to indicate the amount of miles or operating hours required to execute a unit commanders training strategy to achieve a given specific readiness level.

NAVY

In the Navy, PERSTEMPO is defined as time away from homeport tracked at the unit level versus the individual. A unit away from homeport for 56 days consecutively is considered deployed. A unit’s total days out of homeport during the reporting period divided by the total number of days in the reporting period yields personnel tempo. The Navy uses three guidelines in managing personnel tempo: a maximum deployment of six months, port to port; a minimum turn–around ratio of 2 to 1 between deployments; and a minimum of 50 percent time in homeport for a unit over a five–year cycle. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) personally approves personnel tempo exceptions to these guidelines. Units away from homeport more then 55 percent of the time for a given three–year period are placed on the CNO’s watch list for close monitoring.

The Navy uses an OPTEMPO measure to address fuels budgeting. Operating tempo is measured in steaming days, flying hours, or more generally equipment usage time. Days in port do not count against operating tempo.

MARINE CORPS

The Marine Corps tracks PERSTEMPO at the unit level versus the individual. The Marines use the term DEPTEMPO in lieu of PERSTEMPO. DEPTEMPO is defined as the percentage of time in a given annual period that a unit, or element of the unit, supports operations or training away from its home base or station for a period of 10 consecutive days or greater. DEPTEMPO rates are calculated using the unit deployment data entered into the Marine Corps Training and Exercises Employment Plan. These data capture past, present, and projected DEPTEMPO for each Marine Corps unit.

The Marine Corps defines OPTEMPO as the amount of resources expended over a period of time that are devoted to operations and training. Operating tempo is tracked in terms of equipment expenditures (flight hours flown, tank track hours/mile, vehicle miles driven, etc.).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force measures PERSTEMPO as the number of days an individual is away from home. The Air Force considers a day away as any day that a deployed person is not able to sleep in their own home, for any reason. Personnel tempo is tracked for individuals by social security number in a database maintained at the Air Force Personnel Center. When an individual departs home station, his or her unit’s orderly room is responsible for updating the Personnel Concepts III personnel data system to reflect the individual’s off–station duty status. Once the individual files his or her travel voucher through the Defense Finance and Accounting System, the measured time away from home is cross–checked and validated. Currently, the Air Force desired maximum for PERSTEMPO is that no individual be TDY more than 120 days in any 12–month period. In the past, the Air Force used the term operating tempo to measure equipment activity rates for planning and budgeting purposes. Operating tempo is generally measured in terms of total flying hours or flying hours per crew per month.

Global Military Force Policy. In addition to the individual Service tempo management policies, the Department currently uses the Global Military Force Policy to establish peacetime prioritization guidelines for Low Density/High Demand (LD/HD) units. LD/HD assets are force elements consisting of major platforms, weapons systems, units, and/or personnel that possess unique mission capabilities and are in continual high demand to support worldwide joint military operations. These assets, such as the EA–6B, Rivet Joint, and the U–2, warrant careful management attention to ensure reasonable PERSTEMPO and asset allocation. The Global Military Force Policy was designed to assist senior leaders in developing options for allocating these assets in crises, contingencies, and long–term joint task force operations.

Challenge: Training the Forces

The Department is fully committed to ensuring that U.S. forces have the highest quality education and training, tailored to current and emerging requirements and delivered cost–effectively, whenever and wherever they are required.

Curriculum developers and managers throughout the Department continue to design and conduct teaching and learning activities that cost–effectively meet resident education and training requirements of their target student populations. Service training commands are increasing their investments in advanced learning technologies to better facilitate the ways in which they provide individual military education and training. In addition, the standard output of the institutional training base will soon be measured as part of the DoD readiness reporting system, to ensure that active and reserve component units are supplied with qualified individuals.

Unit training is paramount in building force readiness. During unit training, individuals and teams complete essential training required for combat proficiency. The military departments continue to pursue unit training programs that place greater emphasis on achieving interoperability between Services and that extend unit–training opportunities to the Total Force. The Department has also made improvements in how unit training will be captured in DoD readiness reporting.

The process of ensuring that units from different Services can work together effectively is called joint training. Through the Joint Training System, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ensures that joint training requirements are being met. This system shapes the way the armed forces train for future military operations, with special emphasis on training the capabilities required to achieve the Chairman’s Joint Vision 2010.

The Department is using advanced modeling and simulation technology to enable it to conduct less expensive, more realistic, and more frequent joint command and control training. The Joint Simulation System (JSIMS), currently in development, will support training at all levels and across all phases of operations in the Department. It provides a distributed training environment to accommodate live, virtual, and constructive simulations for use by units and staffs, joint forces, commander in chief staffs, and Service and interagency personnel in the full range of missions. JSIMS will connect audiences worldwide to allow them to train without having to deploy from home stations. JSIMS will also enhance the exploration and evaluation of new operational concepts and will support joint force experimentation.

As mission diversity increases, the ability to maintain forces at the highest levels of readiness in all mission areas becomes increasingly challenging. Embedded training, the ability to train to accomplish specific missions on or at the warfighting station, ensures that warfighters (or peacekeepers) are fully prepared for the immediate mission. The ability to carry training capacity to forward locations will optimize and sustain readiness throughout the mission. The Department is also pursuing use of commercially available information technology and networks to support on–the–job performance aiding.

The continuing advancements in weapons and sensor technology are placing greater demands for increased training space. Existing training space, however, is being subject to greater commercial and cultural pressures to limit use. Traditional live–training ranges, in the face of these competing demands, must use existing range space more effectively. The increased flexibility of modern instrumentation will enable electronic linkages of training areas and worldwide applications of instrumented live training. Instrumentation will allow DoD to substitute modeling and simulation and/or threat emulators for costly live opposing forces and will increase the depth, breadth, affordability, and flexibility of the live–training environment. Instrumentation will also maximize the efficiency of reduced live–training budgets. Increasing emphasis on common and interconnected instrumentation systems will facilitate interoperability training at the unit level.

DoD’s innovative approaches to education and training are a key factor in maintaining the readiness of U.S. armed forces. The Department will use advanced information technologies to create an integrated global network of knowledge resources in support of training policies and programs. In particular, DoD will take advantage of key advances in learning and communications technologies to overcome obstacles that have precluded widespread application of learning technologies in the past. DoD is working diligently to implement technology–based learning across the Department on a broad range of platforms that is reusable for a number of applications and that can be delivered over a network, anywhere and anytime needed. Key to this effort is collaboration with the private sector to create open architecture guidelines and standards for distributed learning. The use of learning technologies will improve readiness and make education and training programs more cost–effective. Under the auspices of the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, working with the Services, prepared and delivered to Congress a strategic plan for developing and applying learning technologies across the Department on a broad scale. The Department’s implementation plan, currently under development, will provide an integrated view of specific plans, programs, and budgets for each Service. These initiatives and plans are designed to achieve DoD’s goal of making U.S. forces ready by ensuring that they have access to the highest quality education, training, and performance aids that can be tailored to their needs and delivered cost effectively anytime and anywhere.

Challenge: Materiel Readiness

The Department faces a number of challenges in keeping its equipment ready for the next mission. Aging systems, spot spare parts shortages, and high OPTEMPO are placing increased pressure on the materiel readiness of the force. Of particular concern are negative readiness trends in mission capable rates for aircraft. Lack of experience among maintainers has caused improvements in mission capable rates to lag. Ground equipment condition is somewhat better, but the long–term capability to sustain this equipment is increasingly difficult because of the effects of equipment wear, excessive age, and the rising cost of spare parts. These factors increase maintenance costs, the total number of spare parts required, and the number of personnel needed to perform the maintenance.

The Department has taken aggressive action to address these materiel readiness concerns, to include providing additional funding over the last two years for spare parts and depot level repairs. The Air Force will continue to recruit additional maintenance technicians to improve aircraft mission capable rates. In addition, the Department released over $1.8 billion in Kosovo emergency supplemental funding to meet the most urgent requirements. The Department also increased its investment in new procurement to $60 billion per year to replace aging equipment, thereby reducing maintenance costs. The prepositioned equipment sets of both the Army and the Marine Corps are in good condition and improving. The Army prepositioned equipment for maneuver battalions is 86 percent filled, and the Marine Corps is continuing its strong replenishment and maintenance programs on its prepositioned squadrons with over 99 percent filled. Air Force bare base asset sets are in constant demand for contingency operations; funding for these assets was added in the FY 2000 budget to maintain their readiness.

Challenge: Readiness Reporting

In response to legislation and DoD internal review, the Department undertook an extensive and collaborative process to enhance the current readiness reporting system. Throughout this process, one simple calculus applied: make readiness reporting more objective, timely, and accurate. The Department’s new reporting system will provide commanders, leaders, and Congress the best possible information with which to assess readiness and ensure that U.S. forces remain the best trained and equipped in the world. The new system will enhance unit readiness reporting, as well as capture the readiness of the Department’s institutional training establishments and installations.

Challenge: Medical Readiness

Medical readiness, the Military Health System’s primary focus, encompasses protecting and sustaining the health of the force, medical operations in small–scale contingency operations, and medical support of the Department’s role in domestic preparedness against weapons of mass destruction. Significant progress has been made in designing a joint health strategy for the 21st century and in implementing efforts to protect the health of the force. DoD developed the Joint Health Service Support Vision 2010–Full Spectrum Health, which supports Joint Vision 2010 and will become the conceptual framework for developing and providing health services to support the warfighting mission into the 21st century.

The Department continues the implementation of its force health protection (FHP) strategy for sustaining and preserving the health of the force as part of the larger Force Protection Program. With the ongoing operations in the Balkans and Southwest Asia, the Department and Services are focusing on improvements in medical record keeping, disease and non–battle injury surveillance, pre– and post–deployment health assessments, and environmental surveillance. Service members receive briefings and training on how to remain healthy and safe while performing their mission under potentially hazardous environmental, chemical, and biological warfare conditions. The complementary tools of immunization—to meet biologic threats posed by the environment or the enemy, and protective clothing and other gear for protection from harmful agents—remain critical elements of force health protection. In addition, the Department established policy for the Services to specifically address the prevention of combat and operational stress in order to enhance service members’ readiness and combat effectiveness as well as to protect their physical and mental health.

The FHP strategy leverages technology to better monitor and protect the health of deployed forces. The Department’s medical research efforts exploit biotechnology to develop better vaccines and more sensitive detection measures for chemical, biological, and environmental hazards. Information technology forms the linchpin of the Department’s efforts to capture and analyze health and readiness information regarding service members, especially during deployments. The Department is conducting a proof–of–concept test for a medical Personal Information Carrier, an electronic medical dog tag, that will document important health and exposure information for all deployed personnel. Ongoing development of the Theater Medical Information Program continues. Once operational, it will provide deployed medical units with the information tools to capture and document inpatient and outpatient medical encounters and to conduct health surveillance.

The Department’s commitment to protecting the health of the men and women in uniform continues when they leave military service. The Secretary joined with the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services to charter the Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board. The Board provides a structure for FHP collaborations and coordination to address health issues of military members and veterans. The Department also established Deployment Health Centers with clinical, surveillance, and research capabilities that will identify trends in the health of deployed service members. It will work, in conjunction with a similar Department of Veterans Affairs effort, to respond with appropriate clinical care, research, and health communication.

During 1999, the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program (AVIP) was a major focus of the Department. In March 1998, the Secretary approved the AVIP implementation plan for Southwest Asia due to increasing concerns about biological threats in the region. Subsequently, the Secretary approved implementation of the AVIP for the Total Force on May 18, 1998, with vaccine administration beginning in August 1998. As of August 1999, over 323,000 service personnel have received approximately 1.05 million doses of anthrax vaccine. Eventually, the Total Force of approximately 2.4 million personnel, including the more than one million members of the National Guard and Reserves, will receive the Food and Drug Administration licensed anthrax vaccine. Unique concerns related to this program have surfaced within the reserve community and an aggressive communication/education plan designed to address these issues is underway. The Department has multiple initiatives that continue to support the anthrax vaccine program, including an outstanding immunization tracking system, civilian review of reports of vaccine adverse events, and a responsive health communication program.

Small–scale contingency operations and the Department’s role in support of the consequence management aspect of domestic preparedness carry responsibilities for military medicine. Operations dedicated to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping frequently include or are solely supported by military medical personnel. These operations help to build international coalitions and promote U.S. interests, as well as providing training experiences for medical personnel. With domestic preparedness, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs works in close collaboration with other federal agencies to plan for and test a variety of possible medical responses, in the event of a national disaster or an attack with weapons of mass destruction. See Chapter 7, Managing the Consequences of Domestic Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, for further information. Medical readiness is an important facet of personnel readiness and is a core quality of life issue. Accessible and quality medical care for active duty members, retirees, and eligible dependents directly affects the Department’s ability to attract and retain the quality men and women required to sustain the all–volunteer force.

CONCLUSION

The Department’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines continue to do a remarkable job managing the changes of the past decade. The Department’s initiatives, with strong congressional support, are addressing the hard issues and contributing to improved force readiness. The positive effects of the FY 1999 and FY 2000 budget funding increases are beginning to show in the field. The resources budgeted and programmed over the FY 2000 to 2005 time frame will continue to fuel aggressive programs to further enhance the Departments short– and long–term readiness. These efforts will set the stage for future readiness and ensure the United States will continue to have the best–trained, best–equipped, best–led force in the world.

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