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This Note describes a new approach for identifying and meeting the need to improve combat readiness. That approach rests on three basic ideas. (1) Readiness can be assessed only within the context of explicit wartime scenarios, a requirement that renders most popular characterizations of readiness (e.g., availability rates) inappropriate and misleading. (2) Readiness is the product of many factors, including the weapon system's characteristics, the expected stocks of support resources in wartime, and the performance of support systems. (3) Sophisticated equipment is not inconsistent with the goal of high levels of readiness, even in the face of increasingly demanding and stressful combat environments. Achieving that goal, however, will require new, effective support policies, and will require major changes in the customary subsystem and full-system acquisition process.

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