This discussion will focus on the question of equipment on-hand (the S-level) and equipment readiness (the R-level). The time burden shrinks as reporting grows less frequent. Fortunately, organizational theory bypasses these obstacles convincingly. Any system “shall measure in an objective, accurate, and timely manner.”4 The verb of choice in this sliver of code is “measure,” trotted out no fewer than seven times over two paragraphs. With the exception of the T-level, the same basic math governs all: divide what the reporting unit has (whether number of medics or number of serviceable grenade launchers) by what that unit ought to have. Army Command Policy contains guidance on Army Family readiness at para 5-2, page 48 Army Regulation 600-20 (dated 24 July 2020) Across all types of equipment, leadership rushes repair jobs or seeks out the easiest fix, undermining long-term serviceability and sometimes further damaging the equipment in the process. Less frequent reports would reduce the pressure on leaders to prioritize readiness metrics over deliberate training progressions. The Army Regulation that governs all Soldier and Family Readiness Group operations is Army Regulation 608-1, Appendix J. David Barno and Nora Bensahel, “Three Things the Army Chief of Staff Wants You to Know,” War on the Rocks, 23 May 2017, accessed 3 June 2020, Paul Yingling, “A Failure in Generalship,”, George F. Kennan, “America’s Administrative Response to Its World Problems,”. endstream endobj 1636 0 obj <. Decreasing the frequency of USRs to a biannual or even annual iterations would also assuage many of its ill effects. But the price of that due diligence is at times one, if not several, unfavorable USRs, and units are too often unwilling to pay. To reduce goal displacement, one must close the gap between the stated goal of readiness and the metrics used to measure it. Simply put, readiness is the capacity for the armed forces to fulfill assigned missions.3. Leaders must document catastrophic damage, officers investigate it, logisticians review it, and property book officers direct replacements. o Contains extensive information regarding Army Strategic Readiness and how it is reported, prepared, reviewed, and submitted (throughout). Goal displacement in the measured area of equipment readiness (R-level) occurs as battalions grow more concerned with reporting equipment serviceable, such as vehicles, than with fixing equipment. Publication Number: AE REG 600-8-101 Publication Date: 6/9/2008 Title: Army in Europe Soldier Readiness Program Status: CURRENT Unit of Issue (U/I): WEB Security Classification: Agency: USAREUR Proponent: Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G1 Prop Office Symbol: PIN: 1000325 Web Footnote: Authorization for Obsolescence: 6/9/2008 readiness in accordance with the requirements stipulated in Army Regulation (AR) 220-1 (Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration - Consolidated Policies), and the Leader’s Guide to Objective Assessment of Training Proficiency.17 The Army G-3/5/7 published the Leader's Guide in 2017 as the interim authority for CUSR Objective T- Only strict standardization renders the force legible, whether to the Pentagon or to Congress. United States Department of Army Family Morale Welfare and Recreation Command: Lynn McCollum, Director, Family Programs Kathy Quinn Ledbetter, Family Readiness Division Chief Peter Hepp, Social Science Program Specialist Pacer designation is an example. This warping of organizational behavior is the inevitability of Muller’s metric fixation. Reference memorandum, DAMO-0DR, 19 October 1987, SAB. This sanitized approach obfuscates the manipulation that can and does occur to ensure these basic fractions yield figures between .9 and 1.00. Theo Lipsky, U.S. Army, is a student at the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. The system of readiness reporting dismisses individual judgment in favor of metrics so much that all agency, informed by integrity or any other Army value, dissipates. A first step toward this end would be to better incorporate the judgment of reporting leadership, those closest to the capabilities of their formations. SUBJECT: Equipment Readiness Code Rule System 1. But inevitably, well-meaning authors of MTOE at Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) as well as the approval authority at the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 office either include too much or too few of any given item in view of the unit’s assigned mission. This process cuts out the ordering of new parts altogether. This adverse effect of metric fixation runs precisely contrary to the stated 2018 National Defense Strategy, which emphasizes a pivot toward long-term readiness.15. Antiquated encryption tape readers remain while desperately needed high frequency radios or infrared optics disappear. Recall that S-level measures what equipment units have on hand against what the MTOE dictates they should have. Units dedicate time and effort to acquiring items they do not need in order to meet MTOE quotas, even with the knowledge that the obsolete equipment will fall off the MTOE the following fiscal year. To recover from training rotations requires the deliberate deadlining and coding out of equipment, processes that, for a host of good reasons, require time. These tend to report concrete ‘statistics,’ or case examples, rather than intangible achievement.”12 This academy-speak might translate into military-speak by simply saying that the USR makes the Army a self-licking ice cream cone. Such cannibalized vehicles or other pieces of equipment are sometimes used to skew unit readiness reporting requirements and mask unit logistical and materiel deficiencies. Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG). Enlarge the figure. Similar to the tank example above, battalion maintenance sections cannibalize long-suffering vehicles in order to repair newly downed pacers before the reporting windows close, resulting in what the aviation community calls “hangar queens”—sacrificial vehicles used as spare-part trees. Units delay reporting because it reduces the amount of time the vehicle is deadlined, thereby decreasing the likelihood it is deadlined during a USR reporting window. The Army defines readiness as the capability of its forces to conduct the full range of military operations, including the defeat of all enemies regardless of the threats they pose. “Mutual trust” fails. 1 Research has shown the following: 56% of Soldiers in 2017 were diagnosed with a new injury. To view Army Regulation 220-1, Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration—Consolidated Policies, visit https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/r220_1.pdf. The impetus to explore the USR’s shortcomings comes from my experience working twenty-four months as a troop executive officer. Currently, TRADOC, in coordination with the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 office, identifies pacers and accounts little for the nuanced relationship between equipment and units’ assigned missions. Thus, command-and-control vehicles rust in the motor pool while twenty directionless anti-tank trucks roam the battlefield, but as far as the USR is concerned, the unit is combat ready. The U.S. code, having defined readiness, outlines how it ought to be reported. In his previous assignment, he completed a tour in Germany, during which he served twenty-four months as a troop executive officer with 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne). The commanders and staff chase readiness as the USR measures it, often at the cost of actual readiness. A leader with more time in the driver’s seat similarly plans for the longer term. The above temporal fixes reduce short-termism. It provides policies and procedures for private organizations operation on Department of the Army installations. This author acknowledges that the below recommendations are not equally feasible, and if executed improperly, fail to resolve the excesses of metric fixation. (Photo courtesy of J. VanDomelen, https://blogs.mentor.com/jvandomelen/blog/2011/12/28/power-problem-what-now/), From March 2018 to November 2019, the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit of the U.S. Army’s active component readiness. The numerator is what appears on the unit’s property books; it is a digital record of equipment existent for that unit.8, The denominator for equipment readiness is what is on hand, and the numerator is the quantity tracked as “fully mission capable” in the Army’s digital maintenance records. To close this gap, a regular (perhaps biennial) reassessment that solicits division or even brigade input regarding what ought to be considered a pacer would make pacer OR rates more meaningful. A second obvious objection to unit partial authorship of either MTOE or pacer designation might read as follows: every unit setting its own standard reduces the term “ready” to something just shy of meaningless as each unit proffers its own (perhaps self-serving) definition. Military Operations . Subject memorandum directed the U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency to develop an expert system to advise on the assignment of equipment readiness codes (ERC). Its metric fixation asphyxiates several of mission command’s core tenets: disciplined initiative, risk acceptance, mutual trust, and shared understanding. Muller has summarized the damage done by quarterly earnings “hysteria” to long-term strategy in the financial sector, and the same basic critique applies to the Army.25 Less frequent reports would permit units some actual recovery periods between training events without the disincentive of ugly USR reports. 10 U.S.C. This way, the digital database through which parts are ordered reports only one broken tank, instead of five or six per company. As units and their commanders acquire more influence over what the Army deems essential, they may functionally invent mission essential tasks to warrant desired widgets, bringing at times anomalous personal experience in contest with doctrine. Army mobilization is the process of bringing the Army to a state of readiness for war, contingency, or national emergency. So, instead of stacking structural incentives impossibly high, diametrically opposing the integrity of the individual, and then blaming the individual for systemic failure, the resolution lies in structural reform. The resultant percentage is often called the operational readiness rate, or OR rate.9. The Army would thus have to maintain a high but passable bar for what equipment supports only existing mission essential tasks. Army Directive (AD) 2019-17, 1 April 2019. j. HQDA EXORD 233-19 Army-Wide Implementation of the Soldier and Family Readiness Group, 16 December 2019. AR 210-22, Private Organizations on Department of the Army Installations [6/8/2005] This Army Regulation replaces AR 210-1, which was rescinded in 1998. In theory, MTOE captures all that a unit needs to fulfill its mission. Soldiers must inspect equipment, mechanics troubleshoot it, and clerks order repairs. Journal of Military Learning Submission Guide, Future Warfare Writing Program Submission Guidelines, Military History Instruction Support Team, 290 Stimson Ave. This approach enjoys the dual advantages of preempting the defensiveness Wong and Gerras encountered and more credibly promising results. Contact Us | 913-684-2127. According to regulation, for a piece of equipment to be fully mission capable, it must pass a “preventative maintenance checks and services” inspection without failing a single “not ready if” bullet. Army Methodology for Overall Unit Readiness Assessments (Figure from Army Regulation 220-1, Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration—Consolidated Policies, 15 April 2010, https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/r220_1.pdf) AR 525–30 Army Strategic Readiness This new Department of the Army regulation, dated 3 June 2014-- o Institutionalizes the fundamentals of Army Strategic Readiness (throughout). A cannibalized high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) sits next to other HMMWVs awaiting repair. This reporting labyrinth obscures what anyone who has compiled a USR knows: unit status reports are deeply flawed. § 117. Robert K. Merton, a founding father of sociology, defined goal displacement as when “an instrumental value becomes a terminal value.”11 Professors W. Keith Warner and A. Eugene Havens elaborated in a seminal 1968 article that among goal displacement’s chief causes were “records and reports submitted to other echelons of the organization or to the sponsors, the public, or clients. If we take readiness to be the Army’s number one priority (or goal), then goal displacement is the most pernicious consequence of the USR as it definitionally displaces readiness. The denominator for equipment on-hand is what the Army has decided that a reporting unit must have, recorded in what is formally known as the modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE). It starts in the unit area.”16 In doing so, they echoed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, who in 2017 called for mission command’s practice “even on daily administrative tasks you have to do in a unit area.”17 Unfortunately, the USR, perhaps the Army’s most quotidian administrative garrison task, plays something of a perfect foil to mission command. The ranking in each category is uniform and numeric: a level “1” (such as an R-1) indicates the highest readiness level in that measured area, and a “4” the lowest (such as R-4).7, Figure 1. The audit’s resultant report was, on the whole, positive. For example, a battalion may have twenty anti-tank vehicles, all of which are pacers, but only two command-and-control vehicles, neither of which are pacers. This is a revised regulation. Pacers are also often far from the only equipment essential to fulfill a mission, or they are so numerous that each individual pacer has less impact on the mission than scarcer nonpacer equipment types. The purpose of recovery becomes to report it complete, and all the while, units grow weaker. Leaders can increase readiness by talking about the connection of sleep, activity, and nutrition to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Goal displacement abounds in the measured area of equipment on-hand (S-level) as well. In view of the above, Army Regulation (AR) 220-1, Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration—Consolidated Policies, endows the USR with an unsurprisingly quantitative structure. He holds a BS from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Staffs will in turn direct battalions to give away needed equipment that will soon be on their MTOE simply because in that month the item is technically excess. It comprises four measured areas: personnel (the P-level), equipment on-hand (the S-level), equipment readiness (the R-level), and the unit training proficiency (the T-level) (see figure 1 and figure 2). The bedrock of Army morale—the nobility of its mission—crumbles as the mission is reduced to a series of reported fractions. The resultant amalgam of definitions cripples the military bureaucracy’s ability to manage. Enlarge the figure. Implied in the hyperquantification and rigidity of the USR is an organizational distrust of the reporting unit, and therefore the soldiers who constitute it. The DRRS-A readiness data in turn comes from unit status reports (USR) provided by BCTs’ constituent battalions. Even worse, units will not turn in irreparably broken equipment (a process known as “coding out”) for fear that the loss will drop them below the MTOE-prescribed quantity, opting to retain unserviceable property and thereby precluding the fielding or even requisition of a functioning replacement. The following argument represents that single, tactical perspective on the problem, but I derive confidence in it from lengthy discussions and review with tactical and operational leaders across every type of BCT in multiple combatant commands. åܛw眉?+¶œs.µƒ¡£¡ˆ: l&° ”àè #0)‚HÂccMý40A@åfbpH¿fàa`Ú¨3ÁrÚ'Ï-i ¡l÷ŸàÈáVÒ¹Á2@š‡Áñ*XœùªfX±'@€ Úlz The goal of a high S-level displaces the goal of a well-equipped unit. When handled properly, issues identified during recovery take weeks if not months to resolve. Enlarge the figure, Muller explains metric fixation as the overreliance on transparent, quantified measurements to capture and incentivize an organization’s performance; it is also the persistence of this overreliance despite myriad negative consequences. Leadership routinely forgets which widget was ordered for which unreported tank, resulting in redundant orders, lost parts, and inevitably, toothless tank companies. But unless the USR undergoes reform, it will neither ready us nor convey how ready we are, to the public or ourselves. Check it out. The risk of innovation lessens, and innovation’s long-term benefits assert themselves. 1 Mission. Musculoskeletal (MSK) injury is the leading cause of medical non-readiness in the Army. As Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras wrote in the 2015 report Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession (from which this piece draws much), “with such a strong self-image and the reinforcing perspective of a mostly adoring American society,” Army leaders often “respond with indignation at any whiff of deceit.”20 Discussions thus falter before they begin as all retreat to their respective corners. It is not because of the individual but rather because of the devaluation of the individual that such perversions of organizational behavior occur. : Army Readiness Guidance; Subscribe to STAND-TO! Office of the Secretary of Defense, “Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America” (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2018), 7, accessed 24 June 2020, Stephen Townsend et al., “Reinvigorating the Army’s Approach to Command and Control: Leading by Mission Command (Part 2),”. Those leaders would certainly tolerate more programmatic maintenance. Commander’s Unit Status Report Metrics (Figure from Army Regulation 220-1, Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration—Consolidated Policies, 15 April 2010, https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/r220_1.pdf) The USR and its pruning voraciously consumes another resource that serves a battalion’s mission: leaders’ and soldiers’ time. Yes, the Army could use more low bed semitrailers, towed-howitzer telescopes, and electromagnetic spectrum managers. Extending command timelines would force a consideration of long-term effects that are otherwise a problem for the anonymous successor. * Establishes the family readiness group as an official Army program, established in accordance with AR 600-20, to provide activities and support that encourages self … According to The Army Strategy, the Army projects that it will reach its readiness goals by 2022, at which point its priority is expected to shift to modernization. Permitting divisions or brigades some role in the authorship of their MTOEs would better marry MTOE materiel with the needs of the unit. Maybe some units aren’t aware of the regulation because weapons aren’t being transported the right way. It also enjoys a vociferous booster in the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The dearth of innovation at the top of the Army’s food chain has received due attention, perhaps most famously from former Lt. Col. Paul Yingling in a 2007 article.18 But metric fixation so deadens innovation at the tactical level that it is no surprise little rises to the level of strategy. Army AL&T editors discussed readiness with Dillard and Jones in a July 11 phone interview.Dillard referred to "Army Regulation [AR] 220-1, Army Unit … 2. The massive effort units expend to reach the highest levels of readiness on USRs would therefore more efficiently ready them. Lastly, lengthening the periods that commanders command to thirty-six months or longer has the potential to preempt the short-termism USRs engender. Most obviously, the fragility and frequency of the USR discourages innovation, or “disciplined initiative,” and its twin, “risk acceptance,” that might otherwise increase readiness. The top priority for Army leadership is readiness. It importantly also reduces the opacity of the military to oversight entities like the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness. All repair parts for all tanks are then ordered under that single tank’s serial number. Of the negative consequences Muller inventories, the USR most obviously induces the following in reporting battalions across the Army: goal displacement, short-termism, time burdens, innovation aversion, and degradation of work.10. This regulation applies to all directorates, special staff sections, major subordinate commands, tenants, and tional Guard are governed by regulations issued by the Chief, National Guard Bu-reau consistent with Chief, National Guard Bureau’s authorities under 32 USC 110, 10 USC 10503, and DoDD 5105.77. Just as reporting units have unique insight into what equipment most contributes to their mission in the case of pacers, so too do they have a strong understanding of what type and quantity of equipment they use to fulfill their missions. The perversion of maintenance that results is a familiar story to anyone who has worked in an Army motor pool. Not only does this produce an inaccurate report, but it also confuses maintenance. A less frequent USR disrupts long-term planning less frequently. Put another way, it promises a reinvigoration of mission command. The Army measures readiness by evaluating tactical units and their ability to execute predictable deployments against irregular threats. Army Regulation 525–93 . As the metrics employed by USR gravitate closer to actual drivers of readiness, the risk of the former displacing the latter would necessarily decrease. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027 The unfortunate truth of the report, and others like it, is that it substantiates its findings with data from the Department of Defense Readiness Reporting System-Army (DRRS-A). The frequency and high stakes of USRs demand of battalion and brigade staffs days of data compilation that might otherwise be spent planning training. Some units go even further to avoid an unbecoming R-level, displacing maintenance (and therefore readiness) in the process. 23 October 2019 . These materials were developed based on Army regulation and guidance, and research on separation and combat deployments. Lastly, least measurable (and therefore, from a metric-intensive perspective, least credible) but just as tragic is what Muller calls the degradation of the work. A 2016 GAO report typifies its argument for hard numbers and the tongue-clicking that ensues when results are insufficiently quantified: “The services have not fully established metrics that the department can use to oversee readiness rebuilding efforts and evaluate progress toward achieving the identified goals.”5 Testimony from the GAO in February 2020 sustains this tone, lauding the Department of Defense’s progress as it develops “metrics to assess progress toward readiness recovery goals that include quantifiable deliverables at specific milestones [emphasis added].”6, In view of the above, Army Regulation (AR) 220-1, Army Unit Status Reporting and Force Registration—Consolidated Policies, endows the USR with an unsurprisingly quantitative structure. Army Deployment and Redeployment : Headquarters : Department of the Army . The pacer OR rate is therefore in theory a reliable measurement of a unit’s ability to fulfill its mission, and it enjoys weight in the overall R-level calculus. Army OneSource is a single web portal providing important, credible and up-to-date information in one location for Army Soldiers and Family Members to access at any time of day, regardless of component or geographical location. But to understand the scope of the harm, one must first understand the desired end (in this case, readiness) and the metrics used to measure it—the USR and its components. Muller defines short-termism in The Tyranny of Metrics as “diverting resources away from their best long-term uses to achieve measured short-term goals.”14 And because USR reports recur for battalions monthly, they disrupt long-term strategies for the maintenance, acquisition, and retention of equipment in pursuit of a good monthly read. 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