After visiting posts around the nation, meeting every geographic combatant command, and hearing from governors and adjutants general, the National Commission on the Future of the Army has gathered much of the information it needs to assess the proper size and force mix for the Army’s three components.

Recently the commission spent two days at the Institute for Defense Analyses conducting its own analytical review with analysts from the commission, the Army and outside experts, Chairman Carter Ham told Defense News.

“The focus of the review was on the size, the balance across components, the deployment and mobilization ratios,” Ham said.

The commission evaluated the Army’s operational plans against a variety of options for organizing the service’s components. “We did include both [continental US] and [outside of the continental US] scenarios and various sequencing to try to get at, inside, to the stresses that were on the force, on the Army, at various force levels and various capability mixes and various other factors … such as deployment length, mobilization to dwell periods and the like,” Ham said.

The review, he said, will provide the analytical foundation for the commission’s findings and recommendations, which are due Feb.1, 2016.

The analysis also looked at the Army’s controversial plan to shift the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the regular Army to illuminate how alternatives to the proposal would affect the operational requirements of combatant commands.

The two-day exercise made it clear that there is “no magic solution,” the retired Army general told Defense News.

“There is no ‘Boy, if we just turn this dial a little bit, all of this stuff gets better,’” Ham said. “These are very, very complex, intertwined matters that if you make even a slight adjustment, whether it’s [boots on the ground] to dwell [time at home], whether it’s mobilization rates or componency, those changes have broad-ranging consequences to the ability of the Army to accomplish these missions.”

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