Aisle R – Readiness

Disclaimer: The inclusion of resources here is for informational, historical, and research purposes only and is provided as a service for US Army War College faculty, students, and graduates to support their educational and professional requirements. These may include outdated or superseded materials. The inclusion of these materials does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Readiness is foundational to our success as a military, and to our national security policy and decision making apparatus. Assessing and reporting readiness at various levels within the DoD is not only a statutory requirement, but also a fundamental obligation for the profession of arms. But the term “readiness” is sometimes ill-defined at the enterprise level.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3100.01E states that “comprehensive joint readiness is the ability of the Joint Force to meet immediate contingency and warfighting challenges while preparing for future challenges.” Other portions of doctrine define readiness as “the ability of U.S. military forces to fight and meet the demands of the NMS.” At the strategic level, traditional definitions of readiness start to bleed into a broader understanding of national preparedness. Inherent to the discussion of preparedness and readiness is the understanding and articulation of risk. Ultimately, a sound understanding of strategic readiness creates a means for policymakers, senior military officials, and other interagency and international partners to communicate and translate policy into preparedness.

The resources in this aisle include concepts, frameworks, and tools for assessing national preparedness and readiness at the enterprise and national level in a way that best informs resourcing decisions and the use of our military forces. Most pertain to readiness from an operational and structural perspective — measuring, reporting, and prioritizing the flows of resources to address problem areas.

​​​​​​​– Rick Sheffe

Faculty Publications:
  • ​​​​​​​Galvin, Thomas P. “‘Just in Case’ versus ‘Just in Time’: Answering the Question of ‘Readiness for When’?” DM Faculty Paper #R-001.
  • Crane, Conrad, Michael E. Lynch, Jessica J. Sheets, and Shane P. Reilly. “Come as You Are” War: U.S. Readiness for the Korean Conflict (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 2017). Available on Request.
  • Galvin, Thomas P. National Preparedness & Military Readiness: An Introduction (faculty paper, Carlisle, PA: Department of Command, Leadership, and Management, 2021). Available on Request.
    • ​​​​​​​Earlier versions — Galvin, Thomas P. Military Preparedness (faculty paper, Carlisle, PA: Department of Command, Leadership, and Management):  2015 | 2018
Commentaries (inclusion does not imply endorsement):
Racks in this Aisle:
Rack RA – Readiness Frameworks & Strategies - This rack addresses the definition of readiness from DoD and the service perspectives. These are less about the tools of readiness but about the concept of readiness itself Continue Reading
Rack RC – Defense Service Contracts & Operational Contract Support - This rack covers a contentious issue regarding the use of contractors on the battlefield, whether as base support or as contracted security details. The resources here provide both the official guidance and insights from a long-standing and active strategic dialogue Continue Reading
Rack RE – Force Equipping & Sustaining - This rack ​​​​​provides resources on the equipping and sustaining functions assigned to the services, such as in U.S. Code Title 10 Continue Reading
Rack RG – Force Generation - Force Generation is about the processes and systems used to manage the potential readiness of the force, what Ken Betts’ referred to as structural readiness. This answers part of Betts' question concerning "readiness for when" -- which forces could be held at lowered readiness but brought to full readiness and deployed to the fight “just in time.” Continue Reading
Rack RI – Force Integration - This rack contains resources pertaining to the integration and onward movement of personnel and materiel into trained and ready forces for combatant commanders Continue Reading
Rack RN – National Mobilization - This rack provides resources related to national mobilization in the event of large-scale conflict, and the preparedness of the nation to nationalize industries and other resources Continue Reading
Rack RO – Organic Industrial Base - ​​​​​​​This rack provides resources related to the definition and conditions of the military's organic industrial and sustaining bases that provide vital sustainment support to the warfighter Continue Reading
Rack RP – Power Projection & Installation Readiness - This rack provides resources related to the readiness of power projection capabilities and infrastructure needed to establish and utilize lines of communication Continue Reading
Rack RR – Readiness Reporting Systems - Readiness reporting is about the processes and systems used to assess and communicate the current, or "operational," readiness of the force. This answers half of Ken Betts’ central question of readiness for when -- which forces have to be ready now, or “just in case" Continue Reading
Rack RS – Defense Sustainment - This rack provides resources related to defense sustainment from the acquisition of raw materials to the production of goods and services to the sustainment of those goods and services along with the establishment and protection of lines of communication Continue Reading

Title image credit:  U.S. Army photo, public domain.