Impact of Individual Augmentation Policy on Navy Reserve Force Readiness

Martin, Bradley [Browse]
RAND Corporation 2023


Summary note
Since the United States began its Middle East campaigns in 2001, the joint force has required the assignment of individual augmentees (IAs) who are U.S. military members (such as those assigned to special duty in a military unit) to fill a shortage or provide particular skills. However, personnel assigned for an IA mission become unavailable for any other mission; also, other risks and opportunity costs might emerge, ranging from possible impacts on recruiting and retention to misalignment between force structure and assigned missions. There is a strong likelihood that other contingencies will arise, putting further demand on force structure. The process for assigning reserve units and IAs relies on Joint Staff requests for forces and Navy-specific processes. These assignments were intended to be a means of dealing with a short-term demand and relied on specific funding that was not intended to be a basis for standard budgeting and programming. It is not completely clear when and where the process for requesting support from IAs made a transition from an understandably abbreviated process for dealing with a crisis to a way of working around force structure management and force generation processes. The authors examine the impact of individual augmentation on the Navy Reserve as it relates to recruiting, retention, individual and unit readiness, and ability to maintain a ratio of time deployed to time at home, specifically in mobilization of forces for duty in operations associated with the Global War on Terror and in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
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