Assessing the Structure and Mix of Future Active and Reserve Forces

Effectiveness of Total Force Policy in the Persian Gulf

by Marygail K. Brauner, Harry J. Thie, Roger Allen Brown


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The Persian Gulf Conflict provided the first major test of Total Force Policy. Consequently, it affords unique empirical data about calling up, mobilizing, and deploying the reserve military forces that were the products of the Total Force Policy. This paper asks two questions: (1) Did Total Force Policy make the numbers and types of reserve forces needed available to the National Command Authority? (2) Were those forces ready to carry out their assigned missions? To answer these questions, the authors used past studies of Total Force Policy and the reserve components, after-action reports and lessons-learned commentaries, first-hand experiences of various RAND staff members involved with studies during and after the conflict, and interviews with people who were in strategic positions to observe the working of the Total Force Policy during the Persian Gulf Conflict. In addition to the evaluation, the report discusses implications about the Total Force Policy that might help set policy for future conflicts.

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