USA — Official Urges Reserve Component Funding, Predictability

WASHINGTON — Empha­siz­ing the crit­i­cal role the reserve com­po­nents play in U.S. nation­al defense, the senior Pen­ta­gon reserve affairs offi­cial empha­sized to Con­gress today the impor­tance of ade­quate­ly fund­ing the force and pro­vid­ing pre­dictabil­i­ty about deploy­ments.

“As we rein­force poli­cies, imple­ment strate­gies and con­tin­ue to call on our reserve com­po­nents, we must remem­ber that ‘judi­cious use’ is still the watch­word,” Den­nis M. McCarthy, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for reserve affairs, said in his pre­pared state­ment to the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vice Committee’s per­son­nel sub­com­mit­tee. McCarthy was joined by the six reserve com­po­nent chiefs at his first hear­ing before the pan­el since his con­fir­ma­tion in June.

He told the pan­el he’s com­mit­ted to imple­ment­ing poli­cies Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates has approved to ensure prop­er use of the Guard and Reserve, reduc­ing the oper­a­tional bur­den on them and ensur­ing ade­quate notice about call-ups. These changes, rec­om­mend­ed by the Com­mis­sion on the Nation­al Guard and Reserves, ulti­mate­ly will help to increase the strate­gic capac­i­ty of the total force, he said.

Defense Depart­ment offi­cials have writ­ten mobi­liza­tion poli­cies that insti­tu­tion­al­ize “judi­cious use” as the core prin­ci­ple of reserve-com­po­nent par­tic­i­pa­tion, McCarthy told the pan­el. These poli­cies also pro­vide the foun­da­tion for pre­dictabil­i­ty with­in the oper­a­tional reserve about upcom­ing deploy­ments, he said. McCarthy also expressed sup­port for the so-called “con­tin­u­um of ser­vice” con­cept that enables ser­vice­mem­bers to trans­fer between com­po­nents – active, Guard, Reserve or civil­ian — dur­ing their mil­i­tary careers.

“The COS pro­gram pro­vides greater flex­i­bil­i­ty and pre­dictabil­i­ty for retain­ing valu­able skills over a life­time of ser­vice to the nation,” he said. “In the future, [the Defense Depart­ment] will seek nec­es­sary leg­isla­tive changes to assist in duty sta­tus reform.” McCarthy cit­ed progress toward that goal as the depart­ment imple­ments 53 rec­om­men­da­tions from the Com­mis­sion on the Nation­al Guard and Reserves that Sec­re­tary Gates approved in Novem­ber 2008.

Among the rec­om­men­da­tions’ high points are improve­ments in the over­sight of equip­ment readi­ness and the trans­paren­cy of reserve com­po­nent pro­cure­ment fund­ing, McCarthy told the pan­el. He also not­ed the estab­lish­ment of the Yel­low Rib­bon GI Enhance­ment Pro­gram that enables col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to sup­ple­ment tuition expens­es paid under the new Post‑9/11 GI Bill.

McCarthy also not­ed that the fis­cal 2011 bud­get request pro­vides about $50 bil­lion for pay, train­ing, equip­ment and facil­i­ties to sup­port the reserve com­po­nents, pro­vid­ing tremen­dous val­ue.

“The funds pro­vide about 43 per­cent of the total mil­i­tary end strength for 9 per­cent of the total base bud­get,” he said. Pro­vid­ing the prop­er fund­ing, poli­cies and sup­port pro­grams is essen­tial to ensur­ing that the Nation­al Guard and Reserve are pos­tured to remain a crit­i­cal, mis­sion-ready ele­ment of U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty strat­e­gy, McCarthy said.

“Work­ing togeth­er, we can ensure that the reserve com­po­nents are trained, ready and con­tin­ue to per­form to the lev­el of excel­lence that they have repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)