Investing in People: The Secret to Success in the Global War on Terrorism

Article excerpt

The requirements of the global war on terrorism and ongoing efforts to transform the military personnel system have presented the Army with unique opportunities for innovative change. The Acting secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff have seized these opportunities to initiate a series of groundbreaking Transformation efforts. This series of important initiatives will eventually transform the Army personnel system and its organizational structure. Unit modularity force stabilization, active component/reserve component (AC/RC) rebalancing, and military-to-civilian job conversions are all playing key roles in the ongoing transformation of the Army personnel system.

The Office of Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) has helped to support and sustain a deployment process that has seen more than 90 percent of the Army's active component maneuver brigades deployed to combat, and has helped manage a mobilization system that has seen more than 350,000 members of the reserve components mobilized and deployed around the world. July 2004 alone found more than 140,000 of these citizen-soldiers answering the call in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo and more than 70 other countries worldwide.

In implementing mobilization, M&RA has undertaken a number of systemic improvements. We have refined the alert and mobilization process, eased restrictions on the promotion of mobilized reservists and improved the timeliness and quality of medical care received by reserve component personnel.

M&RA has insisted upon timely notification of alert and mobilization of reserve component units. Units being mobilized are being given the maximum notice whenever possible. For example, many of the units scheduled to deploy in early 2005 have already been notified.

Efforts to improve reserve component personnel management during mobilization have required a great deal of time and attention, but these efforts have not impeded the determination to continue the Transformation of the Army. Among M&RA Transformation efforts are AC/RC rebalancing and modularity. These initiatives will result in significant changes in the structure arid composition of both the active and reserve components in the years to come.

The most important result of AC/RC rebalancing will be a shift away from a force structure based on Cold War expectations to one more responsive to the asymmetric needs of the current threat environment. Specialties such as Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Military Police will figure more prominently in the active component force structure, while the reserve components may find themselves fielding additional heavier forces.

Complementing the AC/RC rebalancing effort are a series of wholesale structural changes that, collectively, fall under a new initiative called "modularity." This concept is a cornerstone of the Army's overall Transformation strategy. It will transform Army forces into organizations that are more flexible, sustainable and strategically responsive. One very visible aspect of the modularity effort will be an increase in active component combat brigades from 33 to 43 in the coming years, an effort that is already under way, with three new brigade combat teams forming in fiscal year (FY) 2004. The authorized temporary increase in Army strength from 482,400 to 512,400 will provide the needed flexibility to make this new force structure vision a reality. The result will be an expanded force, well on the way to transforming in both function and in nomenclature. A less visible outcome will be greater cohesion among military personnel, among their families and in the communities in which they serve.

Another important initiative, force stabilization, promises to shift the Army's historical approach to manpower management from a system based on individuals to one focused on units. This initiative will dramatically increase the effectiveness and cohesion of the force through unitcentric manning. …