Friday, April 28, 2017

Who is Ready for What?

Over the years, I've noted that indicators of readiness that show a high proportion of our forces as unready for combat are not what people may think they are. I think it is important to provide context given that we spend so much on defense that people can rightly wonder what we are spending money on if only X percent of service Y is capable of going to war.

The fact is, "unready" forces can fight. The Army certainly understands this:

[The] readiness of the Army is key to the security of the Nation. Unfortunately, less than one-third of Army forces are at acceptable readiness levels to conduct sustained ground combat in a full spectrum environment against a highly lethal hybrid threat or near-peer adversary. The risk of deploying unready forces into combat is higher U.S. casualty rates and increased risk to mission success. [emphasis added]

The Army rightly has high standards for measuring readiness. Our soldiers are not cannon fodder and have a right to expect that the goal is to make them ready to fight, survive, and win if sent into battle.

But even our "unready" units are better than the the vast majority of units that a potential foe might deploy to fight us.

Heck, our National Guard combat brigades mobilized without additional training would probably be better than the majority of units that a potential foe might deploy.

But as the Army notes, there is a higher chance of defeat using units that don't match readiness standards. And there is a risk of higher casualties even in a victory.

I'd like to match the Army standards of readiness. You can bet the Russians wish they had our Army standards as they complete 3 years of ground warfare in the Ukrainian Donbas region.

So that's your daily dose of perspective.