Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2014

Operational Reservations: Considerations for a Total Army Force

John D. Ellis, Laura McKnight Mackenzie

June 2014

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College


As the Army Reserve Components—the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard—assume an “operational” mission as the force drawdowns in overseas contingency operations occur, the Army senior military and civilian leadership should consider the ramifications and realities of such a mission in what is expected to be a relatively peaceful time. This monograph explores some of these considerations regarding the implementation of the Army Total Force Policy, identifies potential obstacles, and makes recommendations to better engage the “three Armies” in a successful and meaningful reform effort. Throughout, the authors call for significant cultural shifts in thinking about how the Reserve Components are used and integrated into a Total Force.