WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s readiness reporting system, designed to provide a comprehensive overview of a unit’s manpower, skill sets, equipment and capabilities as well as mission requirements, is nearing full operational capability, a top official said.
Development of the Defense Readiness Reporting System began in 2002, and various components of it have been used in military response planning since 2005, even as new capabilities were being added to the system, Army Col. Simon Goerger, director of the Defense Readiness Reporting System Implementation Office, said in a recent Pentagon Channel interview. The system provides information to commands on unit capabilities to ensure commands are prepared to execute the missions they are assigned, Goerger explained. And in addition to troop-readiness data, he added, it also contains readiness information for each servicemember, including medical status, special qualifications and skills.
Pulling from numerous service data sources, DRRS is a “one-stop shop” for information that enables commanders and defense leaders to view readiness data to help plan for and respond to emerging threats in a timely and effective manner, Goerger said.
The system has helped to streamline the decision-making process during deployment, Goerger said. For instance, within days of the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that triggered a major oil spill, National Guard officials were able quickly to identify the readiness of their units to respond, he said.
“Units [from] along the Gulf Coast such as Alabama and Mississippi have reported inside of DRRS what the readiness [statuses] of their units are and the requirements they have from their state authorities to address the situation,” Goerger said. “We then have a good idea what the requirements are, what the [unit] capabilities are, and what the shortfalls may be, so if we are required to go forward and escalate support to the operation, identifying requirement and viable assets to meet those needs is much faster.”
Through the system, readiness data is synthesized, allowing decision makers to prepare for the expected, respond to the unforeseen and effectively mitigate risk, he said.
Goerger said that while activating reserve units remains a requirement of the services and U.S. Joint Forces Command, DRRS provides them with information on which units are most ready to be deployed, along with an outline of the potential risks of choosing certain units based on their locality and overall capability to conduct other missions. Since DRRS’ implementation, feedback has been received from all levels of command.
“There are combatant commands out there that absolutely love the fact they are able to now see apportioned units and the ability of those units to accomplish their missions,” he said. The system has saved U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Northern Command analysts hundreds of hours per month because they don’t have to conduct their own data calls and correlate readiness information, Goerger added. It’s housed in DRRS, allowing them to more quickly assess the command’s ability to conduct missions.
“It is very difficult to be fully capable of doing all missions at one time,” Goerger said. “Understanding which units are ready for [specific] missions drastically reduces the time it takes to find the unit, assign the unit to that mission and get units deployed so they can go out and take care of the situations that are given to the Department of Defense to resolve.”
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