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DoD Defers Decision to Cut Reserve Components

By Paul Stone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 1999 – Defense Secretary William Cohen has deferred plans that would have cut another 25,000 personnel from the Army National Guard and Reserve.

The 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review had recommended reserve component cuts of up to 45,000 personnel. Reductions of 17,000 in the Army National Guard and 3,000 in the Army Reserve have already been completed.

Charles Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, said three factors prompted deferment of the cuts. First the Army is currently conducting a redesign of Army National Guard divisions and is developing a new vision of how the Army will work and fight in the next century.

Secretary Cohen did not want to do anything at this time that would hinder those plans, Cragin said.

Second, DoD will begin the process of conducting another QDR in January 2001, which will provide another opportunity to analyze existing force structures and future requirements.

Third, and perhaps most important Cragin said, DoD is highly dependent on reserve component forces for operations throughout the world.

We couldnt do it without them, he said. They are critically important, and in many instances they have at least a majority of core competencies needed in ongoing operations. He cited civil affairs and medical specialties as examples.

Cragin said current missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait and over Iraq are heavily dependent on reserve forces, and pointed out that a total of 32,000 reserve component service members have supported the Bosnia mission during the past four years.

This is not just an Army issue, its a total force issue, the reserve chief said. Theres been a dramatic change in the way were using the force today compared to when the decision to make the cuts was made.

For example, Cragin said that several years ago DoD was using reserve component personnel at a rate of about one million duty days a year. In the last three years, with a guard and reserve force that is about 25 percent smaller than a decade ago, we are using reserve component personnel at a rate of about 13 million duty days a year.

This change, Cragin said, is the equivalent of adding 35,000 men and women to the active end strength of the total force.

We really cant sustain any operations anywhere in the world today without calling on the reserve components.

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