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To assess the utilization of Army active and reserve forces and to analyze policy options that would improve the utilization of reserve forces, the authors reviewed Department of Defense policy for managing the active and reserve components, identified different measures of utilization, examined the variation in utilization of capabilities across Army components, and considered ways in which the Army could adjust the balance of capabilities to rebalance the burden of deployment and mobilization on Army personnel. Converting billets from low-use to high-use career fields within a component could partially, but not completely, rebalance the reserve components. Converting billets from a low-use career field in one component to a high-use career field in another component is unlikely in the near term, but an option in the long run. In addition, there are unlikely to be significant cost savings from placing operational capabilities in the reserve components instead of the active component. Thus, any rebalancing of operational units should be done for reasons other than cost.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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