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Planning for Employment of the Reserve Components: Army Practice, Past and Present

September 7, 2008

For at least 35 years the Army has struggled with the problems of integrating the reserve components (RC)—the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve—into national contingency planning and maximizing their peacetime preparation for future wartime service. Between 1973 and 2001 the Army sought to accomplish these goals by integrating RC units into wartime contingency plans and by pairing RC units with active component (AC) counterparts from whom RC units would receive training guidance and information on planned wartime missions. These efforts failed to significantly improve RC readiness during the years preceding the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but were notably successful thereafter.

This paper will briefly attempt to shed some light on how these efforts have evolved over time with an eye toward improved understanding of what has worked, what hasn’t and why. (The bulk of what follows applies to both reserve components— the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. Where information pertains to the Army National Guard only, the text so states.