Military Mobilization

Military mobilization involves the assembling and organizing of national military resources — that is, active or reserve forces — to support a nation's defense or strategic objectives. RAND provides civilian and military decisionmakers with critical recommendations on all aspects of defense expenditures to maximize the effectiveness, support, and readiness of a nation's military force.

  • Wrecks of Russian military vehicles on the front line as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, near Kyiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Will to Fight, Lessons from Ukraine

    In Ukraine, ferocious defense has stalled the invaders. Even if Kyiv falls, continued resistance seems likely. Ukraine has reminded the world that national unity in the face of existential threats, self-reliance strengthened by collective defense, and courage coupled with compassion can help underdog populations resist the mightiest military forces.

    Mar 29, 2022

  • A woman from Ukraine listens to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's speech on a phone, at a refugee shelter after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Beregsurany, Hungary, February 28, 2022, photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Will to Fight in the Age of Social Media

    Social media messaging has played a decisive role in strengthening Ukraine's will to fight—arguably the single most important factor in war—against Russia.

    Mar 22, 2022

  • People load a State Emergency Service boat with food for a community stranded after severe flooding, in western Sydney, Australia, March 24, 2021, photo by Loren Elliott/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Definition of Mobilisation

    In Australia, the prevailing view of mobilisation is that it is an activity associated with going to war. But it should also include preparing for, and where possible, preventing a range of potential hazards, as well as supporting subsequent recovery efforts.

    Oct 21, 2021

  • A convoy of U.S. military vehicles

    Report

    Measuring Strategic Readiness

    The U.S. Department of Defense asked RAND to provide a method and specific metrics to enable the defense community to more fully answer questions about the nation's readiness to execute the National Defense Strategy. A new report examines the what metrics are needed to assess the nation's ability to respond to conflicts.

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Australian soldiers from Battlegroup War Horse take part in the final assault on Williamson Airfield in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Rockhampton, Queensland, during Exercise Hamel, June 27, 2018, photo by U.S. Army

    Report

    Defence Mobilisation Planning Comparative Study: An Examination of Overseas Planning

    Against the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, the authors use evidence from several countries to highlight the merits of a 'total defence' approach to mobilisation planning for Australia with the goal of meeting contemporary threats.

    May 3, 2021

  • Riflemen compete in the Lithuanian Best Infantry Squad Competition at Rukla Training Area, Lithuania, August 24, 2017, photo by Lithuanian Land Forces

    Research Brief

    Why Understanding 'Will to Fight' Is Crucial

    Arguably, will to fight is the most important factor in war. The best technology in the world is useless without the force of will to use it and to keep using it even as casualties mount and unexpected calamities arise. Ignoring will to fight can contribute to tactical or even strategic defeat.

    Sep 13, 2019

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy soldiers patrol in the Spratly Islands, February 9, 2016, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is the Chinese Military's Preferred Warm-Up Fight

    China's last major war experience gave it virtually zero lessons to apply to future armed conflict. At some point the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA's crosshairs.

    May 15, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    A Throughput-Based Analysis of Army Active Component/Reserve Component Mix for Major Contingency Surge Operations

    This report examines how changing the way in which the Army executes mobilization and contingency planning can affect the ratio of reserve component to active component units deploying in the early weeks of a major crisis.

    May 8, 2019

  • Bridge stretching across the Vistula River during the joint NATO exercise Anakonda 2016, near Chelmno, Poland, June 7-17, 2016

    Commentary

    Exploring the Allied Decisions on Military Mobility in Europe

    Debates about defense expenditure and concerns over NATO unity overshadowed decisions on defense and deterrence in Europe made during the recent NATO summit and European Council meetings. Both events brought significant and tangible conclusions with potential impacts on defense, deterrence, and readiness in Europe.

    Jul 27, 2018

  • A U.S. Army Soldier guides an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, off the ramp of the ARC vessel Endurance May 20 at the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, May 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Military Mobility Returns to the Forefront in Europe

    The importance of military mobility has returned only recently to the international high-level agenda, specifically NATO and the European Union. The EU is expected to tackle the issue of military mobility during a European Council meeting in late June, and NATO will convene a summit in July.

    Jun 25, 2018

  • An M1A1 Abrams tank from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division rolls out of a motor pool during a convoy operation during exercise Allied Spirit VIII at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Jan. 25, 2018

    Commentary

    Why Military Mobility Should Be at the Top of NATO's Agenda

    Improving military mobility in Europe has recently gathered momentum. But due to the complexity of the issue, it remains to be seen what specific progress will be made by the NATO summit in July. The same goes for how new EU initiatives will complement NATO requirements.

    Feb 26, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Estimating Air Force Deployment Requirements for Lean Force Packages: A Methodology and Decision Support Tool Prototype

    This report describes a methodology and prototype tool -- the Lean Strategic Tool for the Analysis of Required Transportation (Lean-START) -- that can explore trade-offs among capability (or risk), speed, and cost to create force packages for deployment.

    Nov 15, 2017

  • Belgian army Special Forces during a military exercise organised by the European Defence Agency at Florennes airbase, Belgium, November 30, 2016

    Commentary

    The Lack of Clarity Over Medical Support for Light Footprint Operations and How It Could Be Solved

    Early identification and planning for medical support for EU-led military operations are vital to saving lives, treating injuries and keeping personnel healthy. Common standards would ensure high-quality and consistent medical support regardless of which country is providing it.

    Sep 19, 2017

  • First Sgt. Raquel Steckman, with the 374th Engineer Company (Sapper), headquartered in Concord, California, jokes with her Soldiers before the start of formation.

    Commentary

    Military Power Is All About People: A Return to Personnel Policy

    Ensuring the strength of U.S. armed forces is critical to U.S. national security and the key source of strength is its people. True investment in personnel is a long-term legacy and an investment worthy of attention and policy debate to ensure the United States continues to recruit and retain the most effective fighting force in the world.

    Jul 27, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    Medical Support to Light Footprint Operations: Why smaller operations require a different approach to medical support

    Traditional military medical support is designed for larger formations and draws on a heavier supporting infrastructure. Recent EU operations have a smaller number of personnel, shorter duration and seek to have a lighter infrastructure footprint.

    Jun 9, 2017

  • The Australian Coat of Arms in metal hangs on the glass wall of a building

    Report

    Organising for Peace Operations: Lessons Learned from Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands

    This report examines the governmental organizational structures that were used in three Australian-led interventions that commenced in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the Southwest Pacific regions: Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.

    Sep 20, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Active Component Responsibility in Reserve Component Pre- and Postmobilization Training

    This report examines historical readiness problems for the Army reserve component and ways in which Congress and the Army have addressed these, including active component support to RC units, and recommends changes to support future RC training.

    Apr 29, 2015

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Army's Active-Reserve Component Force Mix

    Active-reserve force mix decisions should consider both capability and cost. This report examines two critical considerations: the time needed to make forces ready to deploy and the relative cost to sustain the same level of deployed output.

    Sep 10, 2014

  • commander of JTF-Haiti asks a few Haitians about the living conditions at the internally displaced persons camp

    Report

    The U.S. Military Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

    Luck, serendipity, and longtime relationships fostered success in Haiti relief efforts, though actual performance is impossible to measure because metrics and plans were not in place before the earthquake hit. U.S. Department of Defense policy on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief needs to be updated.

    Oct 29, 2013

  • IEA

    Report

    Developing and Assessing Options for the Global SOF Network

    U.S. Special Operations Command's Global SOF Network vision calls for a distributed overseas posture for Special Operations Forces (SOF) as part of a new approach to respond to and deter threats. RAND researchers developed implementation options by creating and applying an analytically rigorous methodology.

    Sep 27, 2013

  • Topic Synonyms:
  • MOB