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TTHS Is Not a Four-Letter Word

November 7, 2004

To build and maintain a ready and relevant force, the U.S. Army must invest in its people, equipment and installations. Individual training and leader development form the foundation of the Army's investment in Soldiers. With the Army at war, some would contend that allowing Soldiers to attend schools and training courses means fewer Soldiers are available for units. However, this line of reasoning misses an important point—personnel readiness in units is not based solely on the total number of Soldiers, but also on the number of qualified (trained) Soldiers. To meet current operational requirements and not jeopardize the long-term health of the organization, the Army must continue to find an acceptable mix of Soldiers in units and those not in units for training or other reasons.

The Army uses the term Trainees, Transients, Holdees and Students (TTHS) to represent Soldiers not assigned to units. TTHS often is viewed in a negative light and seen as the reason the Army cannot have more units in the force structure. Although this is technically true, it may be more appropriate to consider TTHS as the investment required for the Army to have trained and educated leaders and Soldiers ready and available to perform their missions. TTHS allows the Army to transition citizens to Soldiers, maintain leader development systems unequaled in any other military force and ensure that trained Soldiers are provided to unit commanders. The active Army’s total strength is divided between the Force Structure Allowance (FSA)—the total of all authorized positions in units— and TTHS. With the Army’s congressionally mandated endstrength of 482,400, the FSA is set at 419,100 and the TTHS target is 63,300. While TTHS is a target and not a limit, Army policy decisions influence its size and composition.

Approximately 13 percent of the active Army is considered to be in the TTHS account. Many factors affect TTHS. For example, Stop-Loss and Stop-Move orders are currently depressing TTHS because Soldiers are not leaving the Army, attending training or moving to other units due to deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The Army’s historical TTHS rate is comparable to those of the other military services—the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps also recognize the “cost of doing business” inherent in having trained and ready forces. As shown in figure 1, the actual number of Soldiers (measured in man years or MYs) in TTHS fluctuates over time. The reasons include the drawdown of overall strength, changes in annual accessions missions, lengthening of Basic Combat Training (BCT), implementation of the Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program (HRAP) and the use of Stop-Loss and Stop-Move policies.