AN INSTITUTION IN CRISIS: THE ARMY RESERVE OFFICER CORPS
Lieutenant Colonel Ernest ErlandsonUSAWC Class of 2009
US Army Reserve
The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
The officer shortage in the United States Army Reserve has reached critical levels and the overall impact threatens the longterm
health of the organization. Insufficient recruiting, low accessions, and increased officer attrition driven by a multitude of
internal and external factors have all contributed to these shortages. Significantly, the shortage of junior and mid-grade
officers can derail current efforts to transform the US Army Reserve from its traditional role as a strategic reserve into
its current use as an operational reserve. Unfortunately, corrective measures have done little to mitigate this problem. These
short-term expedient measures have satisfied deploying unit requirements but failed to address the underlying management
issues causing these shortages.
This AY-09 USAWC USAWC Resident Student author examines the background leading to current shortage of junior and midgrade
officers in the USAR; he then evaluates the officer manning challenges and highlights the related contributing factors in
recruiting, accessions, and retention. His paper proposes several long-term policies and process changes to help resolve
officer shortages and concludes with an assessment of the ability of the US Army Reserve to meet continued Contingency Operations' readiness
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