The Army Reserve and Homeland Security Support

by Lieutenant Colonel Michael T. Snyder, USAR

    The Army, the Army Reserve, and the Nation are becoming more aware of the issue of homeland security. The reason is that we live in a world in which multipolar political and economic centers, failed states, and non-state international actors like Osama bin Laden have proliferated, and many of them see the United States as a barrier or threat to their ambitions and goals. These international players seek asymmetrical means to counter the overwhelming conventional military, political, and economic power of the United States. Among these means are terrorist actions, both physical and technological, within the United States that seek to undermine our resolve or influence our response to situations that concern them. The consequences of these actions can range from the trivial to the catastrophic.

    In this environment, the Army Reserve stands ready, as it has since its inception, to accomplish the tasks assigned to it by the Army and the Nation. Let me present the Army Reserve's vision of its capabilities and missions in providing logistics support to the national strategy for homeland security.

Expertise in Military Support

    The Army Reserve is the primary provider of echelons above corps combat support (CS) and combat service support (CSS) to the Army. It plans, manages, and executes support to joint customers as a daily mission, both within and outside of the continental United States. It also plans, manages, and executes, under the direction of Army and joint headquarters and in coordination with other Army and joint service partners, support to numerous exercises in and outside of the continental United States each year. It continues to support the Army's missions by deploying Army Reserve units to small-scale contingencies, both as a part of the initial response forces and as a part of the force backfill, to help reduce active component operational and personnel tempo.

    The Army Reserve represents a major part of the Army's generating force. It supports and augments the Army's ability to prepare forces for deployment, helps deploy them through the Nation's internal transportation network to surface ports of embarkation, and sustains deployments by reinforcing the Army's institutional force structure and supporting installations. The Army Reserve provides a significant portion of the forces needed to open a theater of operations, which it accomplishes by opening, managing, and sustaining ports of debarkation and by planning, managing, and executing the reception, staging, and onward movement of deploying forces. Finally, it provides a majority of the forces that plan, manage, and execute CS and CSS at the theater level, sustaining the combat force in the area of operations, and a major part of the Army's capabilities for planning, managing, and executing wartime executive agency responsibilities (WEAR) and Army support to other services (ASOS).

    In executing these missions, the Army Reserve looks outward to the theaters of operations. All of its deployable forces are tasked to the warfighter as its primary mission. The Reserve's nondeployable forces are linked directly to the institutional and installation Army, so they can augment and support the projection and sustainment of Army and joint forces. The Army Reserve has created as its core competencies the projection and sustainment of the Army, and of the other armed services, at the national, strategic, and operational levels of conflict. Yet the Army Reserve does have a secondary mission, one that has become more visible over the last few years.

Support During Natural Disasters

    During times of natural disaster, when Federal aid is extended to state and local governments, the Army Reserve is a resource provider. It provides such assets as federally controlled manpower and equipment to Federal authorities, which then provide assistance in those functional areas that state and local governments or locally available commercial assets cannot fulfill, even if their inability is only temporary. The core competency of the Army Reserve—the projection and sustainment of Army forces—lends itself readily to such missions.

    Among the missions planned, managed, and executed by the Army Reserve on a daily basis are ground, air, and waterborne transportation; medical services; local security; traffic management; field services such as water purification and distribution and laundry and bath services; the establishment and sustainment of temporary housing; and the handling and preparation of subsistence—all in support of a variety of customers and undertaken in coordination with civil and military authorities. The Army Reserve is a reserve Federal asset to which civil authorities can turn when state or local resources are exhausted or unavailable.

    Natural disasters are not the only events that draw Federal, state, and local authorities to seek assistance from the Army Reserve. The Reserve is involved continually in peacetime support of Federal agencies executing similar missions throughout the Nation.

The Army Reserve's ability to provide medical and other support during military deployments makes it a ready source of support to which civil authorities can turn in homeland security situations.

The Army Reserve's ability to provide medical and other support during military deployments makes it a ready source of support to which civil authorities can turn in homeland security situations.

Reserve Expertise in Homeland Security

    The Army Reserve is reviewing its capabilities in coordination with the Army and other Federal agencies to identify and task its forces with the dual missions of support to the warfighter and to homeland security. In many cases, support to homeland security merely involves a change in the intended customer and operational location for an established mission, such as medical or field services. In other cases, the Army Reserve will add a mission within the parameters of a unit's functional area, such as having decontamination units conduct nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance. The Army Reserve also will add new missions, such as information and technology assurance and protection, that its blend of civilian skills and military expertise can address effectively and efficiently.

    Overall, the Army Reserve views itself as being in the same position for assisting in homeland security and consequence management of security-related events as for responding to national disasters. Reservists stand ready to respond immediately when called on to provide Federal military assistance to civil and military authorities in events that threaten imminent danger to life and limb.

    The Army Reserve exercises peacetime command and control of Army Reserve organizations and units through the Reserve Support Commands (RSCs), which are aligned geographically to correspond to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's regions. Though it currently is not tasked to do so, the Reserve can provide Federal authorities a locally based Army component command structure to support the Federal response to homeland security requirements, when, as, and where required and directed. Its CS and CSS commands and units are dispersed throughout the Nation, and that dispersion increases both their survivability and responsiveness. Through proper planning, Army Reserve assets can be mobilized quickly as individuals and as units and commands that are task-organized to meet the requirements of assigned missions.

    The Army Reserve is prepared to support the civil authorities and those Federal and state military assets already engaged in responding to a homeland security requirement or event. It can augment where possible, and replace when necessary, local and state capabilities in these areas—

Value of Reservist Experience

    The reservists performing these missions often have extensive experience gained in their civilian occupations to supplement their military credentials. They and their units are trained and have performed their assigned military tasks and missions under field conditions. They thus are prepared to employ their capabilities in the environments that could be expected to exist in the area of a significant homeland security event, including NBC situations. Their sense of personal duty and mission, combined with their military pride and discipline, will hold them to their mission when others might be dismayed or distracted.

    The Army Reserve is exploring with its Active Army and Army National Guard counterparts, and in coordination with other Government agencies, what changes to CS and CSS doctrine, training, and equipment are needed to meet the homeland security mission. In most functional areas, there will be little need to change the current doctrine, training, and equipment designed to support combat operations. By responding to major natural disasters and providing support to small-scale contingencies in operations other than war throughout the world in the last 50 years, the Army Reserve has gained a body of experience and documentation on what modifications to current CS and CSS doctrine and training are needed to execute support of homeland security successfully.

    Reservists' experiences in responding to consequence management and CS and CSS support requirements for nation-building and peacekeeping operations as part of multinational forces and in responding to civilian populations distressed by natural and manmade disasters will pay dividends. These actions provide the experience reservists need to manage and execute CS and CSS in support of homeland security.

Strategic Storage Sites

    One initiative the Army Reserve is developing within its Army Logistics Plan XXI is the use of strategic storage sites. These controlled-humidity facilities will be located near surface ports, from which the equipment sets stored in them can be shipped quickly to a theater of operations. The equipment in storage will be drawn from Army Reserve units; to maintain their training readiness, these units will retain sufficient equipment at their home stations or will have access to equipment at centrally located regional sites. 

    The strategic storage sites are designed to accelerate the deployment of the Army Reserve to the warfight. But many of these sites will be located near major urban centers, so they also can provide readily accessible equipment sets maintained at high readiness to meet civil support or homeland security missions.

Making Reserve Support Even Better

    There are two significant issues that need to be addressed. First, those national military and civilian command authorities tasked with the mission of homeland security must understand that effective use of the Army Reserve requires proper planning. The actions needed to access the Reserves must be identified and planned for execution when required. Much of the delay in bringing Army Reserve units to active duty to respond to homeland security events would be eliminated if the authority to mobilize these units was planned and coordinated in advance with the relevant authorities.

    Second, there is insufficient force structure to meet all the requirements that will be created by adding the homeland security mission to the existing requirement to fight two near-simultaneous major wars. The requirements to respond to and manage a major homeland security event essentially are equivalent to those needed to support a major war theater. Currently, the Army Reserve can meet the deployment and sustainment requirements for power projection and strategic- and
operational-level CS and CSS within a theater for one major war immediately and for a second major war after a reasonable length of time. However, neither the Army Reserve nor the Army as a whole can meet the force requirements for three major theaters and continue to meet military-oriented treaty obligations.

    The Army Reserve stands ready to respond to its assigned missions as a part of the Army and working with the other services, both active and reserve. These missions will effectively support the National Military Strategy and the defense of the Nation and its people. It is from them that the Army Reserve and all the Armed Forces derive their strength and reason for existence.                     ALOG

    Lieutenant Colonel Michael T. Snyder, USAR, is an Active Guard/Reserve officer assigned as Chief of the Plans and Programs Branch, Logistics Division, Office of the Chief, Army Reserve. Commissioned in the Quartermaster Corps, he has been detailed to the Transportation and Medical Service Corps.