Commission Urges Total Force Approach for Future Army

January 29, 2016

The National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA) announced recommendations this week that would balance missions and resources between the Army's Regular and Reserve components.

The recommendations offer a compromise that could ease past budget, equipment, and mission disagreements between the Army components.

But for its recommendations to succeed, Commissioners said the Defense Department and the services must receive relief from the sequestration law that was the source of most of the budget differences of the past.

Those tensions led Congress to create the 9-person commission, chaired by General Carter F. Ham, USA (Ret). Its charge was to conduct a comprehensive study of the roles, structure, and size of the Army to:

  1. Assess the size and force mixture of the active component of the Army and the reserve components of the Army.
  2. Recommend any changes to the structure and missions of the Army in light of anticipated mission requirements and future resources.
  3. Assess an Army proposal to transfer AH-64 Apache helicopters from Army National Guard to the Regular Army.

The Commission report offers 63 specific recommendations for action, including:

  • An Army of 980,000 is the minimally sufficient force to meet current and anticipated missions at an acceptable level of national risk.

  • A Regular Army of 450,000, an Army National Guard of 335,000 and an Army Reserve of 195,000 represent the right mix of forces and the absolute minimum personnel levels to meet America's national security objectives.

  • A compromise that would maintain 24 manned Apache helicopter battalions-20 in the Regular army and four in the Army National Guard - rejecting the original Army proposal to take all of the AH-64 Apaches away from the Guard. The Commission goal is to achieve one Army that works and trains together in peacetime and fights together in war.

  • The All-Volunteer Force is a national treasure that must be sustained vs. going to a conscription model.

  • Development of a true “one Army” Total Army culture is essential.

  • Funding at the president's FY16 level provides the minimum resources necessary to meet mission requirements at acceptable risk.

  • Army education infrastructure and its recruiting and marketing must be streamlined and consolidated.

So far, the Commission recommendations have been well received by both the Active component and the Army Guard. It remains to be determined whether all the recommendations will be adopted by the Army. But MOAA is pleased at the Commission's sincere efforts to understand and accommodate the mission and budget needs of the Total Army.


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