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DEFENSE DEPARTMENT INTERIM ACTIONS WILL JEOPARDIZE READINESS, RESERVE OFFICERS TESTIFY

 WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite common understanding that roles of the military reserves are expected to increase, Congress today was told by the Reserve Officers Association that Defense Department interim actions will jeopardize their readiness.
 In testimony prepared for delivery to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Maj. Gen. Evan L. Hultman, AUS (Ret.), Reserve Officers Association executive director, said that reductions already are taking place before the completion of the analysis of active/reserve force mix alternatives directed by Congress in 1991.
 He said that ROA "applauds the recognition being given to the reserve components. We look forward to the completion of any analysis which will adequately factor in the capabilities and cost-effectiveness of reserve forces. ROA is concerned, however, that interim actions may jeopardize reserve component readiness."
 He criticized "some base closure actions and proposed end-strength reductions of roughly 15 percent for the Naval and Marine Corps reserve components" in a single year.
 He said that these "will have significant, negative short-term and long-term effects. Unless reserve component programs are adequately and timely funded, some reserve capabilities will be lost forever."
 "Unlike the active components, whose mission during times of peace is that of full-time training, reserve forces cannot be generated or reconstituted as rapidly," he added. "The reserve forces rely heavily on the active components to provide the initial training and qualification of their members. Much more time is required to train a reservist who has not had active-duty experience."
 "Demographics are critical to reserve component readiness," Hultman emphasized. "Units must be located to provide ready access to its members and potential members. Unlike their active-duty counterparts who can be readily moved to new locations, reservists are tied to their civilian employment and are thus often unable to make a move.
 "There is a limit to how far they can afford to commute to meet training and other service requirements. The closing of facilities or unit movements or consolidations can thus deprive the reserve components of populations of quality, experienced personnel and thus eliminate capabilities or greatly increase training costs."
 Hultman reminded the committee that serving in the guard and reserve "must be subordinate to the daily demands of a reservist's civilian occupation, and the effects of change and turbulence can be more devastating to reserve component readiness than to the readiness of the active components. Stability is critical to reserve readiness. Base closure actions and end-strength reductions, which translate into personnel separations, not only deprive reserve components access to trained and experienced personnel, they discourage and drive away reservists who might otherwise serve.
 "The turbulence or uncertainty currently being experienced by reservists is affecting both retention and recruitment. The reserve components can benefit from the relatively large experienced pool of personnel who are being separated from the active components, but unless the reserve components can provide some promise of a rewarding continuing career they will be unable to attract quality personnel."
 -0- 5/6/93
 /CONTACT: Herbert M. Hart of the Reserve Officers Association, 202-479-2258


CO: Reserve Officers Association ST: District of Columbia IN: ARO SU:

DC-TW -- DC022 -- 5504 05/06/93 13:24 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 6, 1993
Words:518
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