The Marine Corps’ Future Hybrid Force: Integrating an Operational Reserve

  • Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan D. Price

This research explores a Hybrid Operational Reserve – reserve units woven into active units over time – as a means to increase readiness and operational capacity at a lower cost. It is predicated on an evolutionary organizational construct based on the previous 12 years of combat - avoiding future reductions in structure, readiness, and modernization. Potential annual Marine Corps manpower savings of $262 million are generated through the more efficient use of full-time support personnel and reducing post-deployment (dwell) active duty costs, while avoiding tiered readiness. The Hybrid Operational Reserve effectively implements 10 U.S.C. §12304b authority by translating force generation and unit life cycle models to involuntarily activate Reserve companies and squadron Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMA) during peacetime. Predictable operational utilization maintains the tactical “edge” of Reserve units and recapitalizes on prior Active Component (AC) experience. Reversibility of OEF/OIF structure is achieved through the retention of AC battalion-level headquarters and IMA augmentation at the regiment/group level.