Rely more on National Guard, reserve, report recommends

December 21, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- A landmark report commissioned by Congress to help shape the debate over how to revamp the United States' armed forces says that the Army will have to rely more on combat units from the National Guard and reserve in coming years and calls for integrating both more fully with active-duty forces.

The year-long review, conducted by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rand Corp., also recommends that the Army become responsible for making Guard and reserve units combat-ready once they are mobilized for deployment and that it set up a series of special new training commands to carry out that job.

The long-awaited document, sent to lawmakers privately over the weekend, is certain to spark controversy on Capitol Hill, where lobbyists for the National Guard and reserves have been fighting to keep their organizations intact amid growing pressures for further cuts in defense spending.

Guard officials have been arguing that Congress should concentrate any cuts on the active-duty forces and should shift more of the responsibility for the nation's defense to Guard and reserve units, which are less expensive to operate. The Army contends that active-duty forces should be left as they are.

The 336-page study is expected to be used by the House and Senate Armed Services committees as a basis for restructuring the U.S. military for the post-Cold War era. Both panels have served notice that they expect to begin that job in earnest next year.

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