An Institution in Crisis
1st Lt. Christopher Jarvis, a nurse with the U.S. Army Reserve's 256th Combat Support Hospital, electronically captures data on a mass casualty 'victim' during pre-deployment training (Photo: US Army)  



Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Erlandson
US Army Reserve

USAWC Class of 2009

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 requirements.

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This page last updated on 15 March 2011.

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