WASHINGTON — Army and Air National Guardsmen nationwide are applauding a new Reserve Forces Policy Board report that recommends the Pentagon account for full life-cycle costs when calculating personnel expenses, especially when comparing the cost of Guardsmen and Reservists with their active-component counterparts.
The RFPB found that the Department of Defense requires its contractors to provide “fully burdened” and life-cycle cost computations before approving equipment purchases, but “does not know, use or track” the same of its most expensive resource—military personnel.
When complete life-cycle costs are considered, the Pentagon advisory board determined the cost of a reserve-component service member, when not activated, is less than one third of his or her active-component counterpart.
Even when activated, the study found, the reserve-component service member costs the nation much less in the long term due to significantly lower housing, health care and retirement costs.
“This report is a real contribution to the ongoing debate about the way forward for the defense budget, ” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president.
“We always knew the Guard was a bargain for the nation, ” he said. “And we knew the Pentagon didn’t have a single policy for calculating personnel costs. Now both are in black and white in a report from inside the Department of Defense.
“Hopefully, this will be the end of Pentagon officials sometimes cherry-picking personnel cost data to justify a larger active-component force. As the report says, current personnel costs are unsustainable. It’s time to look at alternatives such as relying more on the National Guard.”
The report, “Eliminating Major Gaps in DoD Data on the Fully Burdened and Life-Cycle Cost of Military Personnel: Cost Elements Should be Mandated by Policy,” went to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Jan. 7.
It was made public Jan. 14 and is available online on the RFPB website athttp://ra.defense.gov/rfpb/reports.
Submitted by NGAUS, the association that includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers.