Essay

The third pillar of a balanced and affordable Army is equipping the force.   The 2011 Army Planning Guidance states that equipping the force is a mid and long-term Army objective that must be accomplished for the Army to be successful in current and future operations.   The 2011 Manning Guidance served as a transitional document that provided interim aim points based on assigned strength for deploying units even though President Barack Obama‚Äôs decision in June 2011 to begin the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan set in motion the first significant reduction in the size of the U.S. military since the 9/11 attacks.  
The Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process is able to mitigate personnel shortages and prioritize personnel assignments to sustain Contingency Expeditionary Force (CEF) units and Deployment Expeditionary Force (DEF) units.   The Reserve Forces role increased over the past ten (10) years and thus increased the dwell time for Regular Army units; enabling time for reset, training, education, and entry back into the force pool.   While the role of the Reserve Component is important for the Army as an operational force, relying too heavily on the Reserve Component (particularly ground combat forces) has often been problematic.   To avoid these mistakes, future planning guidance issued will need revising.
The fiscal year (FY) 2011 Manning Priority Categories and Standards were published, and while during a time of war, I concur with the prioritization of the manning goals.   It makes logical sense to ensure that the units tasked organized to execute planned operational requirement and those currently executing deployed missions (Deployers/DEF-Level Manning) were properly manned first.   Overall, mission dictates how the priority missions/CEF-Level Manning units will posture among the DEF-Level Manning units which will help further accommodate for the percentage goals for both enlisted and officer personnel fill.