Cover: Assessing the Structure and Mix of Future Active and Reserve Forces

Assessing the Structure and Mix of Future Active and Reserve Forces

Assessment of Policies and Practices for Implementing the Total Force Policy

Published 1992

by Leslie Lewis, Charles Robert Roll, Jr., John D. Mayer


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This report examines the Department of Defense (DoD) Base Force decision process. It assesses how the process worked within the framework of the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS), DoD's resource allocation and management framework. It evaluates the quality of information and options presented to key DoD players during the implementation, and it describes the interactions that took place among these players during the force structure debate. During the planning phase of the PPBS, debate focused on risk, mobilization, deployments capability, readiness, and cost and cost-effectiveness issues regarding force structure options. During the programming phase, fiscal constraints were applied to the continued debate. This phase introduced the initial elements of the Base Force. The budgeting phase was driven by costs and resulted in the implementation of the Base Force. The Base Force process involved the Chairman, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the military departments. Each of the military departments responded differently to the possibility of reductions in force structure. The Air Force adapted to the new policy with only minor modifications to its previous program. The Navy accepted the idea of a base force, but argued about what constituted a base force. The Army debated the legitimacy of a base force and the numbers involved. It was the service most affected by the outcome of the decision. However, the debate among all participants, including the military departments, effected changes in the final status of the Base Force. The authors assert in a final assessment of the Base Force decision process that, despite the many challenges of DoD's dynamic environment, the decisionmaking framework functioned successfully in that options were raised and debated by all participants.

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