Q: What is DoD's priority in managing this restructuring and drawdown of the Reserve component?
A: The Department has three priorities in this restructuring: -- To enhance force readiness -- with an increased reliance on the Reserve Components, the readiness of the remaining forces must be improved; -- To protect people -- whenever possible, soldiers will be transferred to other units; however, transition benefits authorized by the Congress will take care of Reservists leaving the force; and -- To preserve domestic response capability -- the drawdown is being managed to minimize the impact on the states' ability to respond to domestic emergencies.
Q: Who identified specific units for inactivation?
A: The decision was made by the individual Services.
Q: Why is force structure larger than end strength?
A: The Department's force structure (the force required for wartime operations) has normally been greater than its end strength (the number of military personnel authorized by Congress). It is fiscally and strategically sound during peacetime to "man" the structure at levels which support the National Military Strategy, but at strength levels lower than required for wartime operations. Allocation of end strength within the force is often tied to deployment schedules: the earliest deploying units are resourced and manned at the highest levels. Later deploying units are resourced to maintain a readiness posture consistent with their later deploying mission, and their state or federal domestic missions. When needed, these units will be fully manned to meet wartime requirements.
Q: The number of units to be inactivated seems large compared to the relatively small number of force structure reductions reported. How is this possible?
A: Since 1993, the Department has been adjusting its force structure and end strength to achieve FY 99 targets consistent with the findings of the Bottom-Up Review. The Services' force structure adjustments include inactivating, converting, realigning and relocating units within the increasingly smaller force to achieve optimum readiness. These adjustments are considered and accounted for in the state-by-state force structure gains and losses table, which yields the net force structure reduction figure reported. While this announcement reports units which are being inactivated in FY 96, it does not discuss specifically the myriad of other positive adjustments within the force. Positions within inactivating units may be realigned to remaining units in nearby locations; or units may be inactivated in one location and moved to another location due to equipment conversion requirements or base closure decisions. The decision to select a particular unit for inactivation is influenced by many factors including demographics, unit readiness, personnel readiness, mobilization requirements, training opportunities, and impact on personnel.
Q: What happens to the people who belong to units scheduled for inactivation?
A: The Reserve Chiefs are committed to accommodating people whose units are being inactivated. Wherever possible, personnel from inactivating units will be reassigned to other Reserve component units within a reasonable distance from their residence. If there is no valid position available, the individual will be separated with the appropriate transition benefits. If an individual declines the new assignment, he or she will be involuntarily separated from the Selected Reserve without transition benefits.
Q: How many people will be affected?
A: Reserve component force structure positions will be reduced by 15,963 in FY96, a 1.6% change from FY 95 levels. This is not the same number of personnel that will actually leave the force. There are several reasons for this. When coupled with other force structure activations and realignments, as well as unit relocations resulting from base closures and related activities, many of the positions in inactivated units will be aligned to units in other locations. Many Reserve component personnel assigned to inactivated units will be given the opportunity to join other units within a reasonable distance of where they live; however, it is difficult to predict how many individuals will accept a transfer to another unit.
Q: What kind of transition programs are planned or in place? What benefits or entitlements would a Reservist receive when a unit is inactivated?
A: Transition benefits are available for certain members of the Selected Reserve who are involuntarily separated from their unit or are transferred from the Selected Reserve due to the inactivation or reorganization of their unit. The benefits include: separation pay, special separation pay, early retirement at age 60, continuation of education benefits under the Montgomery GI bill, limited Commissary and Post Exchange privileges and priority placement benefits for those who are involuntarily separated due to inactivation or reorganization of units.
Q: What impact does the inactivation have on an individual's financial commitment for education or commitment to serve a certain number of years?
A: If individuals are enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill program at the time of their involuntary separation due to unit inactivations or reorganizations, they will continue to receive the benefits. If an individual is required to serve a certain number of years in exchange for education benefits, that provision, generally, is waived when the individual is involuntarily separated. If a member of the Selected Reserve has enlisted or re-enlisted for a bonus, or the Student Loan Repayment Program, and then has his or her unit inactivated, the individual is no longer entitled to receive payments.
Q: How will Reservists know if they are affected by the inactivation?
A: The affected personnel will be notified through normal military channels.
Q: Can these Reserve units be reconstituted and activated again if there is a major conflict?
A: No, but remaining forces provide adequate strategic insurance for the reconstitution mission.
Q: How do these inactivations affect readiness?
A: Since the units on the list will no longer receive manpower and equipment, the Services will be able to focus their available resources on higher priority units. This will improve the readiness of the remaining units at a quicker pace than if they had to compete for these resources in a larger arena. Some of the units scheduled for inactivation were determined to be in a lower state of readiness and would require extensive resources to bring their readiness to the level of those units that will remain.
Q: Does this announcement include all force structure decisions announced by the Air Force earlier this fiscal year?
A: No. The announcement includes new information regarding force structure adjustments planned by the Air Force for FY 96 as directed by Congressional language, which restores the Air National Guard fighter force structure to FY 95 levels, and includes force adjustments in Air National Guard mission support functional areas. These include Civil Engineers, Services, Communications, Air Traffic Control, Engineering and Installation, and Air Control Squadrons. The Air Force announces force structure changes periodically, and these changes are consistent with those previously announced for the Air Reserve Forces.
Q: What will happen to the weapons and equipment "owned" by these units?
A: The weapons and equipment of units that inactivate will be redistributed to priority units that need the equipment. Weapons and equipment that are excess to these requirements will be returned to the Services' supply systems for appropriate disposition.
Q: What will happen to the facilities used by these units?
A: Many National Guard armories are the property of the states and they will be returned to the state for use if they are no longer needed. If the facility is leased space, the leases would be terminated if there are no other units in need of the facility. In some cases, other units will use the same facilities. With respect to property owned by DOD, if no DOD agency has a need for the property, it will be transferred to the GSA for disposition.
Q: Did any of these units participate in the recent Haitian and Bosnian peacekeeping operations?
A: The Services (or in the case of National Guard units, respective States) can provide this information.