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Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the National Guard and Reserves – which comprise nearly half of total U.S. military manpower – have served repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan while simultaneously protecting the homeland against threats ranging from natural disasters to terrorism. Yet America’s need for operational service by its cost-effective Guard and Reserves will last beyond the current conflicts.
In An Indispensable Force: Investing in America’s National Guard and Reserves, report authors John Nagl and Travis Sharp argue that although policymakers have taken great strides in recent years to support the Guard and Reserves, the U.S. government still is not investing sufficiently in the policies, laws, and budgets required for the Guard and Reserves to fulfill their current and future role in U.S. national security. Nagl and Sharp recommend that the Pentagon take advantage of this opportune moment, when the wartime experience of the Guard and Reserves make them more capable than ever before, to make further improvements in roles and missions, readiness, cost, education and the “continuum of service” concept of flexible 21st century personnel management.