Planning Reserve Mobilization

Inferences from Operation Desert Shield

by Ronald E. Sortor, Thomas F. Lippiatt, J Michael Polich


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This report identifies problems and issues raised by Operation Desert Shield (ODS) that could affect the Army's use of reserves in future contingencies and summarizes issues that deserve further analysis. It argues that ODS departed from past reserve planning because there was little warning and no specific deployment plan for using the reserves in such a contingency. Based on the ODS experience, issues relevant for future operations include reviewing the 200K call-up mechanism, taking measures to reduce assembly and movement time, developing guidelines to specify post-mobilization training activities, examining the role of reserves in sustaining an extended deployment, preparing active and reserve units for a range of scenarios, and conveying the idea that training and unit relationships in peacetime may be changed abruptly in a contingency.

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