Researchers identify the effects of the Main Command Post–Operational Detachment on division headquarters (HQ) readiness. The authors reviewed Army history, doctrine, and documents to assess HQ deployment; interviewed participants in multicomponent HQs; analyzed how staffs prepare combined forces for employment as a single HQ; and developed a model to illustrate when a division HQ will experience increased risk as it tries to meet requirements.
Main Command Post-Operational Detachments (MCP-ODs) and Division Headquarters Readiness
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- How does this design affect division HQ readiness to respond rapidly to contingencies and their ability to conduct mission command from alert through completed deployment in theater?
- Are there significant risks with FARG II that were not identified during the design process and thus unknowingly accepted by Army leadership?
- What additional steps might be taken to further mitigate both anticipated and unanticipated risks?
To effect reductions in institutional and operational headquarters (HQ), Focus Area Review Group II (FARG II) HQ design was developed and included a new unit type — the Main Command Post–Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) — through which reserve component (RC) personnel augment active component (AC) staffs. This report identifies the effects of this design on division HQ readiness and develops potential mitigation strategies.
The authors reviewed Army history, doctrine, and force structure documents to define when a division HQ deploys and the missions it might be assigned. They visited several AC divisions to interview participants in a multicomponent HQ and conducted telephone interviews with other units. The authors then analyzed how AC and RC staffs have prepared their combined forces for employment as a single HQ and where their efforts have been challenged. Last, the authors developed a model to illustrate when a division HQ will experience increased risk as it tries to meet requirements.
MCP-ODs have demonstrated that, if they are given at least 270 days of notice, they can successfully deploy with an AC division HQ and accomplish their missions. However, without substantial notification, MCP-OD personnel will not be able to deploy as quickly as the AC soldiers in a division's command posts. Many of the risks found in the research were adequately anticipated by FARG II designers. Nonetheless, room for improvement exists in both design and execution. The model showed that the new structure should be able to meet a range of rotational and small-scale contingencies.
MCP-ODs have demonstrated that, if they are given at least 270 days of advance notice, they can successfully deploy with an AC division HQ and accomplish their missions
- MCP-ODs affect the capacity rather than the capabilities of division HQ.
- Without substantial advanced notification of sourcing, MCP-OD personnel will not be able to deploy as quickly as the AC soldiers in a division's command posts.
- This limitation was known when FARG II was designed and explicitly accepted as a risk by the Chief of Staff of the Army.
The instances of risks found in the research were adequately anticipated by the FARG II designers
- The FARG II and MCP-OD designs successfully mitigate the FARG I risks they were intended to address.
- Nonetheless, several implications of MCP-OD readiness and availability limitations might need further mitigation.
- Requirements to accomplish in-garrison tasks were inadequately considered in the FARG II design.
After applying various levels of MCP-OD readiness, mission requirements, and deployment time lines, the model showed that the new structure should be able to meet a range of contingencies
- MCP-OD personnel are unlikely to be fully deployable for short-notice missions, such as those in response to Global Response Force orders.
- In the worst-case scenario of a full HQ deployment on less than 90 days' notice, a main command post shortfall emerged.
- The Army should consider two different division designs: one fully manned by the AC, focused on short-notice deployments across the spectrum of conflict and without a MCP-OD; and one that accepts the risks of the FARG II design (as mitigated by the MCP-OD).
- The Army should reconsider creating division HQ as true multicomponent units and integrating the MCP-ODs accordingly, versus the current designation as partner units.
- Each division should develop a command post contingency staffing plan for filling critical position shortfalls if they are not sufficiently mitigated by their partnered MCP-ODs.
- U.S. Army Forces Command should consider promulgating an information paper or other communication on Army decisionmaking and division HQ force structure trade-offs.
- Training and Doctrine Command should consider including division HQ design in the curriculum for intermediate-level professional military education courses.
- The Army should consider designating one or more MCP-ODs as Focused Readiness Units and resourcing them to enable deployment within 60 days of notification.
- Division Chiefs of Staff and MCP-OD commanders should collaborate closely to synchronize AC and RC training management cycles to optimize MCP-OD readiness and integration into the division HQ.
Table of Contents
The Division Headquarters: History, Organization, and Roles
History of the Focus Area Review Group II Design and Intent/Limitations
DOTMLPF-P Analysis of Focus Area Review Group II Impacts
Impact of Focus Area Review Group II Changes on Short-Notice Readiness
Conclusion and Recommendations
Aligning Active Component and Reserve Component Training Management
Division Headquarters Fill Rate Tables
A Short History of U.S. Division Headquarters Deployments Since the End of the Cold War