New Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday in a joint press briefing with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the Administration’s new Iraq plan that he was implementing several changes to reserve component management, following several months of assessment within the department. The changes are directed primarily toward resolving problems experienced by the National Guard and Army Reserve, particularly concerning scheduling. (The Congressional newspaper The Hill reports Guard officials are gearing up to press for their own changes.) The Pentagon changes, in brief, are:
• Manage mobilizations by units rather than by individuals.
• Limit involuntary mobilization to a maximum of one year instead of 16 to 24 months.
• Sustain a planning objective of one year mobilized, five demobilized; recognize that today’s demands may require more frequent mobilizations.
• Create a compensation program for both active and reserve members who must serve beyond the established rotation policy goals.