The Reserve Forces Policy Board’s January 2013 report entitled: “Eliminating Major Gaps in DoD Data on the Fully-Burdened and Life-Cycle Cost of Military Personnel: Cost Elements Should be Mandated by Policy”, found that the cost of a reserve component (RC) service member when not activated is less than one third that of their active component (AC) counterparts. According to the analysis which used Fiscal Year 2013 budget request figures, the RC per capita cost ranged from 22% to 32% of AC per capita costs.
The cost savings attributed to the community-based, part-time nature of the National Guard include fewer pay days per year, lower medical costs, lower retirement expenditures, significantly lower training costs and virtually no cost for moving families and household goods to new duty stations every two to three years. There are fewer entitlements, including housing and food allowances, base support costs and services such as runways, basing housing, commissaries and child care facilities.
Because the current cost of supporting an all volunteer force is not sustainable, the Defense Department (DoD) is taking a good look at personnel costing in an effort to provide common accounting across DoD components. Total personnel costs are now consuming more than half of the DoD budget. Currently each military service uses different costing models, causing confusion in planning and decision-making both in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. As a result, defense leaders, Congress, and the American people generally only get widely varying “apples and oranges” data upon which to base critically important defense decisions, including a new balanced AC/RC force structure mix that makes operational and fiscal sense for the future.
NGAUS has learned that staff from the office of the DoD Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) briefed House and Senate Committee staffers in April on their forthcoming (and long overdue) Congressionally-mandated report on military costing. Sources who heard the brief say that the CAPE analysis reached similar conclusions on the far lower costs of RC units. With an official release expected in June, the CAPE findings could help to enhance force structure discussions and reviews.
In times of fiscal uncertainty and evolving threats, the solution for a cost-effective, modern defense is adjusting its composition. NGAUS has always known that the National Guard is the cost-effective solution to national security at home and abroad, with capabilities and experience equal to their AC brothers-in-arms. Shifting active component missions and manpower into the National Guard will save money, improve efficiencies and capture the national investment in our active components as they draw down their end strength. Increasing the percentage of Guard within the Total Force will also enhance the Guard’s emergency response capabilities within the United States. A win for America!