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Aircraft carriers are one of America’s key power-projection systems. To ensure their continued operational effectiveness and survivability in the future security environment, they need to be equipped with new air platforms with greater range (independent reach), greater persistence (ability to loiter over the target area), and improved stealth (ability to survive in contested airspace).
The 2002 Defense Authorization Act requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the Defense Department’s efforts in counterterrorism and homeland security. The report is due to be released this month. A particular area of Congressional interest is the future use of the Reserve Component.1 Stretching back to their roots as colonial militias, America’s citizen-soldiers have historically played a key part in protecting the homeland. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, many expect the role of the Reserves to be greatly expanded. Several major studies have already called for homeland security to become the Reserve Component’s primary mission.2 Will the Department of Defense heed their call? The department is not approaching the issue with a blank sheet of paper. The 1999 Reserve Component Employment 2005 Study (RCE-05), the Defense Department’s most detailed, wide-ranging analysis of the Reserves’ potential contributions to homeland security, reveals what has been done so far and why the prospects for further change are not bright.