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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 472-97
September 11, 1997

SECRETARY COHEN SIGNS MEMORANDUM EMPHASIZING INCREASED RELIANCE ON THE RESERVE COMPONENTS

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has sent a policy memorandum to the civilian and military leadership of the Department of Defense, calling upon them to eliminate "all residual barriers structural and cultural" to effective integration of the Reserve and Active components into a "seamless Total Force."

Recognizing the increased reliance on the nation's reserve forces, Cohen defined "integration" as the "conditions of readiness and trust needed for the leadership of all levels to have well-justified confidence that Reserve component units are trained and equipped to serve as an effective part of the joint and combined force within whatever timelines are set for the unit -in peace and war."

"This memorandum is significant because it sets the tone for how we must work as a Total Force as we move into the 21st century. It recognizes that in the post-Cold War world, we are having to rely on our Reserves more and more," Secretary Cohen said. "During the Cold War, our objective was easier to state -- deter an attack by Soviet forces, and prevent a nuclear holocaust. Today's problems are more complex and our Total Force must be seamless. We cannot achieve this as separate Active and Reserve components."

The Cohen memorandum builds on the Total Force policy of previous Secretaries of Defense dating back to Secretary Melvin Laird who coined the phrase "Total Force," initiating the integration of Active and Reserve components in the 1970s during the height of the Cold War.

"Secretary Cohen has brought the concept of Total Force integration to its natural conclusion," Deborah R. Lee, assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, said.

"His guidance provides the platform to work with our colleagues in the Department of Defense and in the military services to identify any remaining barriers -- structural or cultural and develop an action plan to create an environment to eliminate those barriers."

The Cohen "integration" memorandum delineates four principles that must be achieved throughout the Department of Defense for total integration of Active and Reserve forces to be a reality.

• Clearly understood responsibility for and ownership of the Total Force by the senior leaders throughout the Total Force;
• Clear and mutual understanding on the mission of each unit Active, Guard and Reserve in service and joint/combined operations, during peace and war;
• Commitment to provide the resources needed to accomplish assigned missions;
• Leadership by senior commanders Active, Guard and Reserve to ensure the readiness of the Total Force..

"In order to ensure readiness and face the threats of tomorrow and beyond, our Total Force must work together. We can no longer achieve our operational goals as separate Active and Reserve components. I am confident that DoD's leaders will move quickly to create the necessary environment for effective integration," Cohen said.

For news media representatives who want more information, contact the office of the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs - Glenda Kendrick at (703) 693-8617 or

Lt. Col. Terry Jones at (703) 695-3620.

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The text of the September 4 memorandum follows.

SUBJECT: Integration of the Reserve and Active Components

I want to emphasize the increasing reliance on Reserve components which has occurred since the end of the Cold War and request that DoD leaders recognize and address any remaining barriers to achieving a fully integrated Force. Department policies attempting to integrate the Reserve and Active Components have existed since 1970.

• In August 1970, then Secretary Melvin Laird set this Department on the right course when he directed concurrent consideration of the Total Force, Active and Reserve, in planning, programming, manning, equipping and employing Guard and Reserve Forces. He recognized that the lower peacetime sustaining costs of Reserve force units can result in a larger total force for a given budget. These insights will continue to guide each Service in its planning, programming, budgeting and execution processes.
• In August 1973, then Secretary James Schlesinger directed each Service Secretary to provide the manning, equipping, training, facilities, construction and maintenance necessary to assure that the Selected Reserve units meet deployment times and readiness required by contingency plans. This designation of responsibility continues to be DoD policy. Inherent in this responsibility is setting a common readiness standard for the Active and Reserve components tailored to the assigned mission and testing both regularly to this standard.
• In June 1982, then Secretary Caspar Weinberger addressed equipment, reiterating that "units that fight first shall be equipped first regardless of component," and that Active and Reserve units planned for deployment at the same time should have equal claim on modern equipment inventories. Clearly, units that fight together should be equipped compatibly, regardless of component. And so, Active and Reserve component units which have similar contingency missions, and which are planned to be deployed in the same phase of a contingency, should have similar claims to compatible equipment.
• In April 1995, then Secretary William Perry reemphasized that we could make increased use of Reserve components to perform operational missions given "better identification of and planning for requirements, flexibility in the training and employment of Reservists, and programming the funding to meet these requirements." He noted that, "Increased reliance on the Reserve Components is prudent and necessary in future policy, planning and budget decisions." Implicit in this statement is the need to work together as a team toward achieving a seamless Total Force.

Today, I ask each of you to create an environment that eliminates all residual barriers structural and cultural for effective integration within our Total Force. By integration I mean the conditions of readiness and trust needed for the leadership at all levels to have well-justified confidence that Reserve Component units are trained and equipped to serve as an effective part of the joint and combined force within whatever timelines are set for the unit in peace and war. Only when the following four basic principles are achieved throughout the Department will Total Force integration be a reality.

• Clearly understood responsibility for and ownership of the Total Force by the senior leaders throughout the Total Force;
• Clear and mutual understanding on the mission for each unit Active, Guard and Reserve in service and joint/combined operations, during peace and war;
• Commitment to provide the resources needed to accomplish assigned missions;
• Leadership by senior commanders Active, Guard and Reserve to ensure the readiness of the Total Force.

Our goal, as we move into the 21st century, must be a seamless Total Force that provides the National Command Authorities the flexibility and interoperability necessary for the full range of military operations. We cannot achieve this as separate components. Much progress has already been made. We must continue to work towards the principles of Total Force and achieve full integration of the Reserve and Active components.

William S. Cohen