Commission's Final Report to Call for Major Restructuring of Laws and Policies Governing National Guard and Reserves

Recommendations Based on There Being 'No Reasonable Alternative' to Increased Reliance on Reserve Components and to Sustaining an Operational Reserve

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The final report of the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves will be released to news organizations on Thursday, January 31 , at 10:00 a.m. in a "Newsmaker" event at the National Press Club. The release of the report will follow its delivery that morning to Congress and the Secretary of Defense.

The report documents the results of a congressionally-mandated examination, nearly two years long, of the seven reserve components of the U.S. military. The product of the most comprehensive review in 60 years, it includes the Commission's assessment of:

-- the necessity, feasibility, and sustainability of the so-called operational reserve--a force significantly different from the strategic reserve of the Cold War;

-- the role of the Department of Defense, and the reserve components in particular, in the homeland, and whether it is sufficiently well defined and the forces involved sufficiently well resourced to protect the nation from new and emerging threats;

-- those reforms needed to enable DOD to better manage its most valuable resource -- its people -- by establishing a true continuum of service and an integrated personnel management system;

-- the reforms needed to develop an operational reserve that is ready and accessible for its array of overseas and homeland missions, particularly those changes aimed at improving readiness and updating antiquated mobilization policies;

-- ways to improve current programs and organizations that support service members, their families, and their employers; and

-- organizational and structural changes--to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the military services, and the categories of reserve component service--that are required to support a truly operational reserve force.

The Commission sees "no reasonable alternative to the nation's continuing increased reliance on its reserve components" as an operational force for missions at home and abroad. The reserve components are under significant stress from ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan , and the Commission believes that Congress and the Department of Defense must make major changes in laws, rules, regulations, personnel, and funding systems in order to sustain an operational reserve--an essential contributor to the health of the nation's all-volunteer military force--in the years to come.

The Newsmaker briefing on the report, to be held in the Zenger Room of the National Press Club, will be conducted by:

-- Commission Chairman Arnold L. Punaro , a retired Marine Corps major general and the former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee;

-- Commissioner Patricia L. Lewis, a former senior staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; and

-- Commissioner Wade Rowley , a homeland security specialist who served more than 23 years in the California Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

SOURCE Commission on National Guard & Reserves