The Hollow Army: How the U.S. Army Is Oversold and Undermanned

By William Darryl Henderson; Charles Moskos | Go to book overview

1
INTRODUCTION: SELLING A MYTHICAL ARMY

Every day some part of the U.S. Army's leadership "goes to market." They are "selling" a mythical Army to the Congress, the media, the American public, and to the Army itself. The message is that today's quality Army is the best Army ever -- even that today's Army is the best in the world. 1 This theme is promoted by an enduring and widespread public affairs campaign intended to market the volunteer Army as a success. The specific content of the message is that the "Hollow Army" of the late 1970s with its low-quality personnel and related discipline and performance problems no longer exists. Instead, today, even with a slight drop in recruit quality in 1989, about 90 percent of the Army's incoming recruits are high school graduates, with over 60 percent above average (the highest percentage ever) in mental quality. Combined with a claimed 45 percent increase in combat power from a new generation of weapons systems such as the M-1 tank and the M-2 infantry fighting vehicle, the overall impression imparted is that indeed the Army is better than ever.

Not so! The U.S. Army is in the process of creating a myth lacking in substance. Just beneath the gloss of today's quality Army there exists a fault line with a potential fracture that could very quickly return the Army to the darkest days ( 1968-1980) of its recent history. This fracture, existing beneath the organizational surface, has its origin in long-buried and avoided MPT (manpower, personnel, and training) issues. In this context, manpower refers to numbers of soldiers. Personnel refers to soldier characteristics and organizational and policy decisions affecting their assignments and performance. Training refers to standards of combat unit performance.

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The Hollow Army: How the U.S. Army Is Oversold and Undermanned
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Ppreface xv
  • 1 - Introduction: Selling a Mythical Army 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - The Army Mission: A Mismatch for Today's Army 11
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Army Manpower: An Issue with No Constituency 19
  • Notes 45
  • 4 - Training on a Treadmill 49
  • Notes 74
  • 5 - Personnel Turbulence 77
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - Small-Unit Leaders Should Be War Winners 91
  • Notes 104
  • 7 - Why Can't the American Army Create Cohesive Units? 107
  • Notes 125
  • 8 - The Broken Backbone 127
  • Notes 143
  • 9 - It's Broke and Needs to Be Fixed 145
  • Notes 154
  • Bibliography 155
  • Index 161
  • About the Author 165
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