Wide-ranging changes in the world situation led the United States to plan to dramatically reduce the size of its military forces. A necessary part of that planning in the Army was examining ways to reduce force structure but retain the capability to regenerate units quickly and efficiently in an emergency. On 10 May 1990, the Congressional Budget Office, testifying before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, suggested various alternatives.
One approach the Congressional Budget Office suggested was using "cadre" units or units that served at a reduced strength during peacetime, to expand to full strength during contingencies. The House Committee on Armed Services included a requirement in its 1991 defense authorization bill that the Army place one active component division in a cadre status by 1992. The Department of the Army initiated a Cadre Division Concept Study and tasked TRADOC to develop several cadre division models. On 4 February 1991, the TRADOC Commander proposed three options for review and approval. The Combined Arms Center-Combat Developments (CAC-CD) Force Design Directorate (FDD) at Fort Leavenworth conducted the DA-directed analysis of these options.
The three options for the Cadre Division were a full staff and cadre consisting of 6,000, a robust staff and cadre consisting of 4,500, and a minimum staff and cadre of 3,000. FDD examined the options to determine if the training strategy yielded a cadre division capable of deploying in 12 to 15 months. It attempted to determine whether the cost of the different options correlated to the benefit coming from fielding them. A basic criteria for FDD was the options must provide only acceptable risks.
FDD went further and examined the exact roles of the active Army, the Reserves, and the National Guard. It recommended the Army field the cadre division under the first option with 5,798 people assigned in the active force structure. It further suggested that cadre divisions co-locate with a full up division allowing "shadowing" or using the facilities and equipment of the linked division. The TRADOC Commander recommended to the Department of the Army that it field an Option 1, Full Staff and Cadre division as a part of the active component. CAC was able to send out the final report on the cadre division on 15 June 1992.
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