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

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

8
THE BROKEN BACKBONE
The negative impact of the Enlisted Personnel Management System (EPMS) on the NCO Corps since the early 1970s has been profound, but generally unrecognized or at least unacknowledged publicly. The U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps used to be referred to as "the backbone of the Army"; no more -- the backbone is broken. Much of the cause for this change in the nature of the NCO Corps can be attributed to EPMS because EPMS has effected a subtle yet profound change in the basic function served by the NCO Corps for the U.S. Army.Some of the policies and process through which the NCO Corps is currently managed (EPMS) and their deleterious effects on Army warfighting capability are:
The three functions of an NCO Corps in any top professional army are generally: to train soldiers, to lead soldiers in small units in war, and to provide specialized technical expertise.
Through the creation of a huge centralized bureaucracy to perform many functions not previously performed or previously performed at unit level, the U.S. Army has created a fourth but ill-defined NCO functional area: that of junior staff officer.
The force structure supporting this fourth functional area has mushroomed with overall strength assigned to this centralized function now greater than the combined soldier and NCO strength for the three major combat arms: infantry, artillery, and armor.
A significant portion of the quality NCO force structure is now dedicated to this fourth functional area. Only 17 percent of NCO strength, generally of low quality, is now dedicated toward combat units.

-127-

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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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