The Fundamentals of Military Readiness
Reporty by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) October 2, 2020 This report was produced to help Members of Congress, congressional committees, and their staff understand the fundamental aspects of what the United States military and the Department of Defense (DOD) call “readiness.” In the absence of legislation that defines or describes the features of readiness, this report relies largely on existing military doctrine, policies, and public communications to frame and describe readiness and its major components. Although there may be competing points of view of what constitutes military readiness—both in a broad sense and in terms of more narrow definitions—this report does not analyze these other perspectives. Rather, it begins the modern discussion of “what is readiness” by concentrating on the current DOD perspective. The intent is to inform the congressional debate over what constitutes readiness by providing a reference point. As a follow-on to this discussion, future Congressional Research Service reports may focus on readiness management (i.e., how DOD manages the fundamental components of readiness), and the impact of national strategy on readiness requirements (this latter topic focusing on the question “ready for what?”).