communications networks that provide them with awareness of the friendly and enemy situations and orchestrate their individual activities to achieve the commander’s intended objectives. At the same time, they all require support, including transportation, refueling, rearming with ammunition, maintenance, and medical evacuation and care. Joint forces are composed of interdependent “teams” at many different levels that are only as strong as their weakest members. For example, the Army may have great airborne paratrooper units, but they are ineffective unless Air Force transport aircraft can deliver them to the right drop zone. These transports, in turn, may require tanker aircraft to refuel them in flight to reach the drop zone. Therefore, the readiness of a joint force to conduct major combat operations is determined by the readiness of its individual components, in turn a function of their manning, equipping, training, and leadership and the balance among these dimensions. Because of their complexity, combat operations are often vulnerable to single points of failure. The loss to enemy action or equipment failure of a key communications node, radar, or other “low density” but essential capability at a critical point can put an entire operation at risk. The Dimensions of Readiness The readiness of military organizations to execute these complex operations is a function of the personnel, equipment, and training dimensions of combat readiness and an appropriate balance among them. Regardless of service, combat organizations are designed to accomplish a specific range of tasks. For this purpose, they are allocated specific numbers of personnel of appropriate ranks, skills, and skill levels to man and maintain the various types and numbers of equipment that they are authorized to have to accomplish those tasks. They also receive annual budgets to provide the resources (e.g., fuel, ammunition, and replacement parts) to train with their equipment. Personnel. High-quality, well-trained, and motivated personnel in the necessary numbers and ranks are essential to combat readiness. In the U.S. all-volunteer force, the first task is to recruit sufficient numbers of citizens with the required motivation and physical and mental capabilities to perform complex tasks under austere and often dangerous conditions. Here, the services compete with other opportunities afforded by the civilian economy. The challenge, then, is to provide appropriate incentives to make military careers attractive. While patriotism should never be underestimated as a motive for service, the armed forces have found it necessary to provide salaries, educational opportunities, quality of life, retirement benefits, and health care to attract and retain the required numbers of quality recruits. The recent economic recession has reduced civilian opportunities, and the reductions in force size have reduced the number of recruits required to sustain personnel numbers and quality. However, if the economy recovers and generates more civilian opportunities, recruiting and retaining quality personnel may become increasingly more difficult. Once recruited, service personnel must be taught the individual skills unique to their military missions. Teaching all of these required skill sets is a task of immense scale and scope, ranging from teaching rifle proficiency to Army privates to training naval aviators to operate high-
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 178 pages?