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

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

that can be found. Forgotten is the fact that most soldiers were placed in the IRR because they originally opted to quit or were fired from their original reserve units. In many cases, the assumption is doubtful that IRR members will willingly reenter a reserve unit, especially one called to active duty. In terms of a competing strategies approach, the state of the U.S. IRR becomes especially significant when it is recognized that the Soviet Army reliably has at its fingertips millions of soldiers in its organizational equivalent of the IRR.

The limitations of a Total Army concept that places so much burden and responsibility on its reserve components must be recognized. Our reserve components must either be improved or our expectations must be lowered. We must experience a glasnost of our own and acknowledge that as currently organized and managed the reserve components contribute little actual strength in many likely scenarios to U.S. Army ability to mass combat troops; those troops that are available should not be considered reserves in the traditional sense but poorly trained soldiers in deep hibernation that are dedicated to active duty Army missions; and that the lower-ranking soldiers and NCOs are, for the most part, drawn from the middle and bottom third of the population in terms of quality and resulting performance. Further, the United States has no system to ensure that the top one-third of its citizens in terms of capability and performance are available to the services through a reserve system with capabilities similar to those of world-class armies such as the Soviet or Israeli armies. Finally, inadequate training, rapid skill decay, no strategy or system for rapid reserve component training in time of war, significant attrition rates, and the questionable capability of the IRR in the event of war all point to the need for a major and open reassessment of Total Army warfighting capabilities.

Many overall problems could be relieved through additional manpower while others could be relieved through organizational change and new policy. As noted earlier, wisdom often involves recognition of what can be changed and what cannot be changed. In this regard it is almost axiomatic that the Army cannot presently expect additional manpower or dollars to improve its warfighting capability. Any change or improvement has to be accomplished with the resources on hand and it is here that significant improvement can be made.


NOTES
1.
Carl Von Clansewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Parent ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976), 195.

-45-

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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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