What is Military Readiness?

Military readiness is the military’s capacity to engage in combat and fulfill assigned missions and tasks. Within the multiple branches of the military and the Department of Defense (DoD), military readiness is classified as “functional” or “logistical,” as preparation is required to cover both the physical and strategic components of missions. More specifically, the definition of military readiness also can include preparedness in the event of uncertainty. This preparation helps to ensure greater chances of success when faced with challenges. Defense-related organizations can help promote and train military readiness in the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard to increase efficiency and equip troops with the necessary tools to achieve military success.


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. To assume military readiness, it must be guaranteed that all troops undergo appropriate training and possess properly maintained equipment for successful completion of tasks. Even more so, the preparation and foresight involved allows military readiness to become a safety tactic. Military readiness serves a key role in security by mitigating risk and threats in military operations.


Readiness also can be broken into subcategories or looked at from a more broad or narrow lens based on the focus of preparation. More specifically, operational readiness involves more of the equipment side, which would serve as an indicator of industrial readiness in military depots. This involves assessing the capacity of a weapon, technological software, vessel, formation or unit, or other supplies to properly function for their intended uses. On the other hand, structural readiness embodies a wider approach, concerning how prepared the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard are to perform their assigned task or mission. The key difference between operational and structural readiness is that one harnesses ability that is currently available, while the other refers to capabilities that will be applied in the future.


Some of the greatest tools for supplementing and assessing military readiness include the use of continuous process improvement and technology in defense logistics. By constantly evaluating equipment and military logistics through the continuous process improvement cycle of “plan,” “do,” “check” and “act,” the possibility for innovation is always being explored. Whether this entails industrial equipment, personal gear, weapons or software, continuous process improvement creates a more involved approach to military readiness beyond allocations granted by Congress. In a current age that revolves around development and technology, the future of military readiness rests in the fastest, most reliable equipment manned by the most skilled, trained troops in preparation for anything.


To support the military’s objectives and preparation, readiness must be funded to supply proper training and maintenance. Much of this power lies in the hands of Congress and related programs within the DoD. Currently, readiness is mainly financed through annual Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budgets administered by Congress. Additionally, other appropriations are able to provide funding to promote readiness with Congressional supervision. Due to the involved process of creating and maintaining ready sources that concern multiple stakeholders across the DoD, this opens the opportunity of stakeholder involvement in other programs funded by non-O&M budgets. Consequently, military readiness is greatly affected by defense budget cuts because it has not been a protected or guaranteed appropriation like military pay and benefits. To ensure adequate military readiness despite budget status, military personnel and leaders must seek to constantly keep training and equipment maintenance as up to date as possible.


Interested in supplemental training for military readiness? Ensure your unit’s preparedness for both the predicted and unprecedented with the Institute for Defense and Business’ virtual learning programs. The Cyber Risk Management Program in a National Security Context is designed for a variety of career levels and ranks. This course seeks to equip professionals and those in the military with cybersecurity literacy on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, cyber threats and supply chain security.


About the Institute for Defense and Business

The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) delivers educational programs and research to teach, challenge and inspire leaders who work with and within the defense enterprise to achieve next-level results for their organization. IDB features curriculum in Logistics, Supply Chain and Life Cycle Management, Complex Industrial Leadership, Strategic Studies, Global Business and Defense Studies, Continuous Process Improvement, and Stabilization and Economic Reconstruction. Visit www.IDB.org or contact us on our website for more information.




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