The Army's readiness crisis: the cost of doing too much with too little
Wilberding, David J.
McCormick, Gordon H.
Mansager, Bard K.
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To improve its declining combat readiness the Army is requesting a significant budget increase. The Army plans to use the increase for primarily improving quality of. life issues. This thesis argues that this plan is inadequate and will result in only marginal readiness gains. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the underlying causes of the readiness crisis and to offer an alternative framework for reversing the decline. This thesis begins by defining readiness from the perspectives of operational and structural readiness. It then explores the critical readiness questions of: What should be ready? What should it be ready for? and When should it be ready? The thesis also examines the impact of the drawdown and commitments to peace operations (POs) on Army readiness. To illustrate the influence of these variables on readiness, this thesis develops a readiness threshold model that measures the capacity of a given force to participate in POs before its readiness deteriorates. By using the model to analyze the current size of the force in relation to its PO commitments, this thesis finds that the cost of doing too much with too little is a reduction in the Army's combat readiness. The thesis concludes by examining both policy implications and prescriptions derived from this study.
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