ISS1 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 31 of 55

The last issue of the RESERVIST magazine (Vol. LXIII, Issue 4, 2016) introduced the Reserve Component Force Planning Working Group (RCFPWG) and the Deputy Commandant for Operation's (DCO) Strategic Planning Direction (SPD) describing the processes through which decisions will be made to shape the future Reserve Component (RC). This article expands upon that initial introduction to more fully explain the RCFPWG and the system through which it functions. Additionally, because the work of the RCFPWG is ongoing, future articles will be dedicated to explaining the work performed by the RCFPWG and the future shape of the RC. The purpose of the RC is to provide trained and qualified personnel for active duty in time of war or national emergency. The RC exists to fill the Coast Guard's needs whenever more units or personnel are needed than are available in the Active Component (AC). Over the past 15 years, the RC has been an essential and successful element of Coast Guard response operations to myriad contingencies. For example, over 42,000 sets of Reserve orders were issued to support responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9-11), hurricanes KATRINA, RITA, and GUSTAV, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, ongoing Overseas Contingency Operations, and many other Coast Guard operational support requirements. With global temperatures warming, sea levels rising, weather patterns changing, and regional conflicts erupting, the RC remains as ready and relevant as ever. In fact, the Commandant's Western Hemisphere strategy states that the Coast Guard must be prepared to concurrently respond to a nationally significant response operation (e.g. Deepwater Horizon) and a regional surge operation (e.g. hurricane) while also responding to the highest priority local operations. The RC remains an essential element of this strategy. The push to reduce deficit spending and tightening federal budgets, however, reduces opportunities for priority investment in deserving programs. As a result, the Reserve Training (RT) Appropriation is not currently large enough to provide training for a force of sufficient size and capability to surge across all Coast guard statutory missions. Moreover, despite numerous past successes, available data suggests that the RC is not optimally structured to assist the Coast Guard to carry out its National responsibilities. Accordingly, the structure of the Reserve force is being re-examined and rebalanced to align to priority mission areas, capabilities, and requirements. In August of 2015, the Commandant signed a decision memo prioritizing Reserve mission sets and establishing that the RC would go no lower than 7,000 billets, which is the number of RC billets on the Coast Guard's personnel allowance list (PAL) today. (The PAL is the list of billets, both active and reserve, distributed throughout the Coast Guard.) The Commandant also approved the creation of a permanent, cross-functional DCO and DCMS team to develop an annual process to review and validate RC workforce employment and capabilities and to ensure that the structure, composition, and capabilities of the RC are aligned with Coast Guard strategy and doctrine. In October of 2015, the Vice Commandant chartered a permanent cross-functional team and called it the Reserve 30 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2017

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