a. The GF has adapted to increasing demands on its capabilities for support to operations through the adoption of a variety of mitigating strategies. Those approaches have had a favorable impact on risk to primary missions, but have not fully eliminated the negative effects of diverted capabilities. The 2008 Army Strategy and Grow the Army campaign plan may exacerbate the situation further if the stated intent to reduce the size of the GF is implemented. In addition, there is no empirical evidence at this point that the implementation of the Army enterprise initiative will free up GF resources or create conditions for more efficient use of existing GF resources.
b. Contractor support will likely remain the most pervasive and responsive means of increasing GF capacity to support operations and respond to new tasks, but its utility will be highly sensitive to declining budgets and policy decisions. Intuitively, if supplemental funding declines at a more rapid rate than the reduction in demand for GF capabilities, it may create additional risk to primary mission performance as contract support is terminated. The CEW program has the potential to provide additional flexibility in how demands are met, but it does not represent additional capacity. Another option not explored in this study, is the potential expansion of the role of the USAR in a more comprehensive way as an "organizational reserve" for the GF – that is, not just as a source of individual augmentees, but of assets designed specifically to backfill, add capacity, or add new capabilities to GF organizations.
a. The scope and volume of the demand for the commitment of GF capabilities in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan represent one of the distinguishing features of those conflicts. In many respects, it also represents a unique episode in the history of the U.S. Army. In fact, although much attention has been given over time to the change in the role of the RC from serving as the strategic reserve to becoming an operational reserve, the same can be said, on a smaller scale, with respect to the GF. Certainly the duration and changing nature of these conflicts must be viewed as major contributing elements to the comprehensive demand for support from GF organizations to Army and joint operating forces. Given the view of the current Army leadership and DOD that the nation is facing an era of persistent conflict, it is reasonable to expect that extended operations may become commonplace in the future. For that reason, this study constitutes a useful reference for anticipating and assisting preparedness for similar future requirements that may be placed on GF resources.
b. It is fair to describe the response of GF organizations to operational requirements as a qualified success. This observation is particularly true with respect to reachback support, which was achieved more easily than other forms of support because of the network capability that enabled easy access by operating forces to the knowledge and analytical base that exists across GF organizations. This study demonstrates that GF organizations proved to be highly sensitive to the needs of operating forces, innovative, and adaptive, including the creation of new, expeditionary capabilities that did not previously exist within the GF. However, because of the diversity of the GF, the approaches taken by individual GF organizations to support operational requirements do not necessarily translate as models for similar action by other GF organizations. In addition, many significant challenges that adversely affected the timeliness or scope of GF responses had to be overcome. The remainder of this chapter revisits and summarizes key observations and conclusions regarding those challenges and offers some suggestions as to how the GF may adapt further in the future to reduce or ameliorate them.
9-2. Observations and conclusions
a. The study confirms an introductory assumption that capacity shortfalls within GF organizations to both accomplish their mandated primary missions and to support operating forces represent the main challenge to expanding and improving GF support to operations. In addition, operational experience confirms a fundamental doctrinal principle stated in FM 1-01, that the GF capabilities emplaced and resourced to perform primary Title 10 missions are also those that are most often needed to support operating forces in theaters of conflict, inherent in their expertise, processes, and functional focus. It is also noteworthy that the non-negotiable commitment of successive administrations to an all-volunteer force operates as a significant constraint regarding the options available to the Army, in a long-duration conflict, in expanding capacity, both in operating forces and in the GF.172 To a certain degree, supplemental funding mitigated the capacity shortfalls and enabled the GF to adapt more quickly to operational requirements through organizational innovation and the expanded use of contractors. By these means and others, GF organizations proved able to create a surge in expansion of capacity, including deployable capabilities, that otherwise would not have been possible.
b. Capacity shortfalls within the GF will likely be exacerbated in the future by the diminishing volume of supplemental funding as deployed forces are drawn down, as well as by the current Grow the Army strategy, which projects reductions in the size of the GF. Collectively, these factors and those mentioned earlier comprise a complex problem set that deserves further study to answer a fundamental question: How does the GF retain capability to surge rapidly to meet operational requirements in future conflicts and avoid having to face the same challenges that impeded the scope and timeliness of responsiveness during the current conflicts?
c. Because of the absence of a surge capacity for most GF organizations, ad hoc measures based largely on redirecting resources from primary missions characterized the great majority of GF initiatives to adapt to requirements to support operations. While admittedly unavoidable in many circumstances, the management challenges associated with ad hoc approaches and the diversion of capabilities, even temporarily, can often be detrimental to primary missions. A negative driver of ad hoc solutions is the lack of anticipation that exists within the Army overall regarding requirements for GF support. In some cases examined within this study, action could have started sooner to apply GF capabilities in support of operations if the Army had a more effective means of early identification or prediction of requirements. The development and promulgation of FM 1-01 may have a favorable impact on this issue in that it provides a reliable framework and guide for the kinds of support that GF organizations should expect to have available to commit in the future.
d. Decisions and effective action to institutionalize changes to GF organizations – that is, to place them on a firm, sustainable foundation to better support operations – as a result of recurring requirements for support to operations, almost always require an inordinate period of time, owing to the requirement to establish FDUs, manpower authorizations, and funding lines. Notable examples surfaced in the study include the REF, FEST, engineer districts, and Army contracting organizations. Until those steps are taken, GF organizations have no recourse other than to rely on supplemental funding and to divert resources and borrow personnel in some fashion to maintain the capability needed to support operating forces. A partial solution to this challenge is for GF organizations to maintain on-the-shelf TDAs or MTOEs that have been reviewed previously and can be approved and implemented more quickly when the need arises. Ultimately, however, HQDA needs to examine its existing processes for standing up new force structure so as to develop a means to accelerate the institutionalization of GF capabilities to meet urgent needs that can be expected in operations of extended duration. Simultaneously, additional fundamental policy questions arise that are connected to end-strength and budget constraints.
(1) How many of the current innovations and new capabilities created within the GF should be institutionalized in order to ensure and improve responsiveness to operational needs for GF capabilities in the future?
(2) Of those capabilities that have been institutionalized, how long can the Army afford to maintain them in the structure in the absence of a pressing, enduring need?
(3) As a subset of these, which of these institutionalized capabilities are particularly critical not just for long-duration campaigns, but in support of crisis response operations, which will also demand short-notice support?
e. Historical experience suggests strongly that organizations are not long kept in place in the absence of pressing need or with sponsorship by senior leadership. For this reason, the long-term existence of expeditionary capability created to meet operational requirements remains in question. Thus, these considerations point toward the need for an approach that is scalable; that permits the maintenance of at least skeletal organizations that can be quickly expanded as need increases.
f. Because GF capabilities generally are not fully incorporated into the GFM process, the commitment of GF capabilities to support operating forces suffers from a lack of visibility, with concomitant negative impacts on resourcing and management of the driving requirements. To add to this challenge, neither the Army nor even many GF organizations themselves can accurately quantify either the demand signal for GF capabilities to support operating forces, or the full scope and volume of the response. Deliberately incorporating GF capabilities from all services and from joint organizations would ameliorate this shortfall to a significant degree and provide other benefits with respect to operational planning and burden-sharing across the joint force. It would also provide a more empirical basis for right-sizing the GF. Clearly, the Army can only implement this kind of initiative through a joint approach.
g. The commitment of operating forces to the execution of GF tasks, particularly with respect to training functions, is one of the means that the Army has used to expand GF capacity quickly. It is not an optimal approach, but it may be unavoidable, given GF capacity constraints, particularly for activities that the Army considers not to be enduring or for tasks requiring rapid attention.
h. The Army's ability to employ contractors, often through supplemental funding, in support of the GF and to accomplish in-theater GF activities associated with construction, maintenance, system support, basing, reconstruction, infrastructure development, life support, and sustainment has been and continues to be an indispensable component of operational success. It is the most flexible means to support rapid response and adaptation and to maintain the viability of GF organizations to perform primary missions, plus it can be terminated when the need abates.
i. The Army has not been able to exploit its large contingent of general service civilians effectively in expeditionary operations, from either an organizational perspective to meet specific GF requirements, or as a means of reducing the burden on uniformed Soldiers to fill validated individual augmentation requirements. Current initiatives to establish a CEW are moving slowly. In addition, questions exist with respect to how the Army will manage a CEW contingent over an extended period of time, particularly during future periods when force deployments have diminished.
j. Interoperability challenges often arise when GF elements are deployed in support of operating forces. Although life support and security can be obtained from supported operating forces without imposing a significant burden, the requirement for supported organizations to provide mobility and communications gear is significant. Communications interoperability is an imperative. As such, it will often create a requirement for GF government agency elements to have training on systems that they routinely do not operate. Thus, deployable GF capabilities will most often benefit from having organic mobility and communications equipment, pointing toward the development or modification of MTOE organizations as the most effective organizational solution, as well as augmentation TDAs with appropriate equipment for those TDA assets that might be deployed.
k. The RSG structure described in chapter 2 to accommodate the IMCOM base operations concept may prove to be a feasible candidate as a means to provide similar support and services to assets from other GF organizations that are deployed to support operations on an intermittent or temporary basis.
l. The Army's current approach to BPC and SFA is incomplete and does not account for all the variations of support that will be required in these areas in the future.173 It is noteworthy that most SFA tasks from tactical to ministerial level are GF functions. The deliberate reliance on GPF to perform SFA activities within a BCT construct does not yet include a thorough examination of the future conditions under which GF force organizations may have to play a wider role than currently envisioned, nor how those GF capabilities will be sourced. Moreover, as noted in chapter 4, the Army lacks an intellectual institution at this time that can fully integrate all the disparate efforts required within a global approach to SFA requirements. CAC is the nexus for joint and Army assets focused on SFA, most colocated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, but a true integrating body does not yet exist.
m. With respect to the ability of the GF to meet urgent materiel requirements, the Army needs to continue ongoing efforts to investigate and institutionalize accelerated processes in a number of areas, including test and evaluation, equipping, fielding, training and sustainment packages, and establishing funding lines for acquisition. Similarly, a broader effort already initiated within TRADOC to create an institutional capability for accelerated capability development across all DOTMLPF domains should be continued and accompanied by metrics based on operational significance.
n. A GF concept. This study was also charged to assess the need for a separate GF concept, focused on support to operations. Under the emerging Army Concept Framework and the fact that Army warfighting challenges are based upon the warfighting functions, it is assessed that developing a GF concept for support to operations is not appropriate at this time. The challenge, however, is to incorporate critical aspects of GF support capability requirements into TRADOC's process to generate required capabilities. The reality is that, given the inextricable relationship between GF primary Title 10 missions (outside the purview of the TRADOC requirements process) and support to operations, this task must reside at HQDA, which remains the echelon charged with overseeing GF organizations. Thus a more appropriate approach might be HQDA developing a strategy for GF support to operations. The AETF could be the executive agent for this. A significant component would be the GF's role in enabling Army executive agent responsibilities and support to other services. With GF support to operations crossing all warfighting functions, ranging across all DOTMLPF domains, and affecting all budget management areas, an overarching strategy will be a challenge.
o. Updating doctrine on GF support to operations. CAC is the proponent for FM 1-01 and should determine if there is a need to update the FM based on the results of TRADOC Pam 525-8-1 and other inputs. Note that the current version of FM 1-01 was designed to present a snapshot of GF support to operations to ongoing operations at the time of publication, with the intent to inform the field on capabilities and opportunities presented by GF organizations. The FM will become outdated over time, especially given the rapid changes taking place in GF organizations, in part driven by the desire to improve the effectiveness of support to operations. However, it is not recommended by this study to update the FM at this time. It is recommended that the proponent consider establishing an online forum to post documentation from all stakeholders on GF support to operations, allowing for more current information to supplement FM 1-01. This can be done in concert with HQDA. CAC could also encourage case studies and other independent reviews by students and faculty of the Command and General Staff College, to include the School of Advanced Military Studies, as well as encouraging similar efforts at the U.S. Army War College, to include the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, at USMA, and at ASCC HQs.
p. Additional applications of GF study results include those below:
(1) Provide to the HQDA enterprise TF a detailed and integrated perspective on this aspect of GF organizations, as this may influence the processes being applied to the four Army core enterprises.
(2) Support the TRADOC leads for the warfighting functions in the conduct of their CBA. As discussed, GF support to operations impacts all warfighting functions from the national strategic to the tactical levels, and should not be treated in isolation from operating forces. One challenge is in deconflicting these demands on GF organizations that are also performing primary Title 10 missions and are overseen in the conduct of these missions by HQDA.
(3) Inform TRADOC during the CNA process for FY2014-19 (and beyond) in determining required capabilities provided by GF organizations outside of those required to perform their primary missions.