The Army plans to reduce forces to 980,000 down 132,000 from 2011 levels.According to a Government Accountability Office report the Army did not consider mission risk when deciding to cut support forces disproportionately to combat forces. The Army assumed support—a.k.a. enabler units such as transportation units and military police—could deploy more frequently and for longer duration than the Department of Defense policies allow. The GAO report says the planning for force reduction process assessed the risk to the “health” of the Army’s force but not to mission risk.
According to Army guidance, the Army’s planning process should assess mission risk for both combat and enabler units. The Army did not complete this type of assessment for its enabler units during its most recent force planning process because the Army assessed the risk operational demands pose to the health of the Army’s force, not mission risk. Without a mission risk assessment for both the Army’s planned combat and enabler force structure, the Army has an incomplete understanding of mission risk and is not well-positioned to develop mitigation strategies. Furthermore, as currently implemented, its process does not include analyses needed for the Army to routinely prepare a mission risk assessment for both its combat and enabler force structure. Without expanding its force planning process to routinely require a mission risk assessment for the Army’s combat and enabler force structure as part of future planning processes, the Army will not be well-positioned to comprehensively assess risk and develop mitigation strategies.
In a written response included in the report, the Army said it agrees with the GAO’s findings.
“The Army recognizes the need to conduct a mission risk assessment of not only its combat forces, but also its planned enabler force structure as part of Total Army Analysis,” the response says, referring to the process used to identify cuts. “The Army has previously identified this need and now incorporates a comprehensive mission risk assessment and associated assessments of mitigation strategies for identified risk into Total Army Analysis.”
I don’t understand how the “health” of the force could ever be comprehended without including mission risk.