In today’s post, I’d like to educate you on unit readiness in the Army. This information is designed for Company Commanders and First Sergeants serving in the Army Reserve and National Guard but will benefit all small unit leaders serving at the company level and below.
The Army eats, breathes, and sleeps READINESS. Your biggest responsibility as a small unit leader is to ensure your unit is prepared to accomplish its wartime mission.
Whether you lead a team of 100 or a team of 10, you must be ready to deploy at moment’s notice. Everything else is secondary. The best way to do that is to conduct tough, realistic training while maintaining an elevated level of unit readiness.
The National Defense Strategy is specific about what the joint force needs to be ready for: “defeating aggression by a major power; deterring opportunistic aggression elsewhere; and disrupting imminent terrorist and WMD threats”—while also defending the homeland. ~ Modern War Institute
What is Unit Readiness in the Army?
What is unit readiness? In my own words, unit readiness is your unit’s ability to perform its wartime mission. It consists of personnel readiness, training readiness, and equipment readiness. In addition, it’s a key indicator to whether you are doing your job effectively.
If you are a Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Platoon Leader, or Company Commander, one of your top priorities is to assess (and maintain) your unit’s readiness. To do this, you should evaluate your unit in the following four categories.
Personnel – Do you have your authorized personnel? Are they deployable? Are they MOS qualified? If you have personnel shortages, is there a game-plan in place to fix the problem?
Equipment on Hand – Do you have the 100% of the equipment your unit is authorized on its MTOE and/or property book? Is it physically on hand? If there are shortages, when do you expect to receive the equipment?
Equipment Readiness – Is your unit’s equipment operational? Could you deploy with it in the next 48-hours? If any equipment is damaged or inoperable, what is the game plan to fix it?
Training – Can your unit accomplish its wartime mission? In other words, can your unit accomplish its mission essential tasks (METL) and perform successfully as a unit? Also, can your Soldiers perform their MOS and warrior tasks?
Once you conduct your initial assessment, and have a starting point, your next step is to establish goals and create an action plan to improve your unit readiness. You must prioritize. Decide which area you need to improve the most and focus on that area first. You can also delegate parts of your game-plan to different leaders in your unit, so you can work together and be productive.
Military readiness is an extremely important aspect of defense logistics because personnel must be sufficiently prepared to respond to orders or attacks at any time. “Readiness” in different situations is typically judged by senior leaders within each branch, depending on global allegiances and objectives, which is then enacted by DoD policymakers. ~ Institute for Defense & Business
How to Improve Your Unit’s Readiness
Here are some simple things you can do to improve your unit readiness.
# 1: Review Your UMR for Quick Fixes
Sometimes the UMR has people assigned in the wrong positions. If you see a Soldier who is slotted in the wrong position (or is non-DMOSQ), move them to a position where they would be MOSQ.
In addition, check for Soldiers who might be double slotted (excess), to see if they could transition to a vacant slot in your unit with the same MOS. In most units, there are at least two to three Soldiers you could do this with.
# 2: MOSQ
Make sure your soldiers are MOSQ. Sit down with each of your Soldiers and counsel them on the importance of DMOSQ. Find a slot in ATTRS and get them enrolled immediately. It can be challenging in the USAR and ARNG, because of scheduling conflicts, but with distance learning, and online courses, anything is possible.
# 3: Maintenance Program
You must have an effective maintenance program in your unit. This includes PMCS and scheduled services. Everything starts with you, the leader.
You must make maintenance a top priority in your unit. During Motor Stables put on your overalls and work in the motor pool. Spot-check your soldiers to make sure they are using the right TM to conduct PMCS. Take your Maintenance Sergeant or Warrant Officer out to lunch to pick their brain and get help.
Here are some other things you can do:
- Schedule Motor Stables on the training schedule
- Update your Maintenance SOP
- Ensure all Unit Leaders have an updated copy of the 026 report
- Provide maintenance training to all personnel in your unit
# 4: Meet with Property Book Officer
If your unit has equipment shortages, you should find out why. You should sit down with your Supply Sergeant and Property Book Officer to find out what the game-plan is to fill those shortages. If there is no available equipment, find out if there are authorized substitutions.
Here are some additional things you can do:
- Review the MTOE once per month to identify discrepancies
- Talk with senior leaders above you in the chain of command about equipment shortages
- Find out if it is possible to modify your MTOE
# 5: Validate METL
This tip is for the Company Commanders. Review your company METL. Validate the METL tasks and assess your unit in each task. Refer to your ARTEP and ensure that your METL hasn’t changed. If you make revisions, submit those changes to your supervisor for approval.
Here are some other things you can do:
- Every drill weekend, train on minimum one METL task
- Seek input from your subordinate leaders about ideas for improvement
- Develop a game-plan to fix shortcomings and schedule it on training calendar
Readiness is therefore the result of training and maintenance, and for forces, the fill of personnel and equipment. This definition distinguishes readiness from modernization—the procurement of new equipment and capabilities—and force structure—the size and composition of forces. ~ CSIS
# 6: Conduct Warrior Task Training
Whenever possible, incorporate Warrior Task Training into your training schedule. When time permits, schedule Warrior Task Training as hip-pocket training. The Warrior Tasks are some of the most important things a Soldier needs to know how to do: shoot, move, and communicate.
Here are a few additional tips:
- Ensure Team Leaders and Squad Leaders lead the charge
- Have contests and competitions within your unit
- Every drill weekend, train on at least two Warrior Tasks, even if it’s informal training
# 7: Track Your Progress
Finally, you should create a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that you can update each month. This spreadsheet will be utilized to track your unit readiness. Your spreadsheet should include:
- APFT Results
- Soldier Profiles
- Individual Weapons Qual (IWQ) %
- Warrior Task Training (WTT)%
- Eligible for Promotion
- Dead-lined Equipment
- Company METL status
- Equipment on Hand
- Anything Else That is Important to You!
On the last day of each month, you should update your spreadsheet. That way, you can track your unit readiness progress each month. You can identify trends and see where you are making improvements. In addition, when your evaluation report is due, you can record the improvements you made during your time in command.
In conclusion, if you are a small unit leader, specifically the Company Commander, your responsibility is unit readiness. It’s a big task to take on, but if you empower your subordinate leaders, develop a game-plan, and keep unit readiness a top priority, there is no doubt in my mind you will succeed.
If you need additional information about unit readiness, you should refer to Army Regulation 220-1.
Do you have any questions? If so, leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.