The Future of the Citizen-Soldier Force

The Future of the Citizen-Soldier Force: Issues and Answers

JEFFREY A. JACOBS
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hp2t
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  • Book Info
    The Future of the Citizen-Soldier Force
    Book Description:

    One of the most significant post-Cold War issues is the future of the U.S. Army's reserve components. Although National Guard and Army Reserve units fought well in the first Persian Gulf war, Jeffrey Jacobs warns that Americans should not be sanguine about their ability to perform effectively in future conflicts.

    Having served in the active Army as well as both the Guard and the Reserve, Jacobs offers a unique perspective on the current missions, structure, and policies of the Army and the impact of the reserve system on its readiness for combat.

    From both active and reserve points of view, Jacobs describes the current limitations and deficiencies inherent in the separate structures of the Army's three disparate components. He finds the roots of many of the reserves' problems in their strong ties to traditions and politics. The solutions he proposes focus on integrating the three components into a true Total Army -- in fact as well as in rhetoric. Such reforms will affect several sacred cows, including state control of the National Guard, the weekend drill system, and the geography-based reserve system.

    Much has been written about the reserves, but few recent writers have proposed such far-reaching reforms. Jacobs's controversial proposals will interest those who make, influence, and study military policy. Here is a stimulating and thought-provoking consideration of a vital aspect of America's defense posture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6178-5
    Subjects: History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. 1. THE THREE-ARMY SYSTEM
    (pp. 1-25)

    THE defense policy of the United States is at a crucial crossroads. The Soviet Union, the threat for which the military has trained since World War II, has imploded. Domestic budgetary constraints, although they have always been an essential consideration in the formulation of defense policy, recently have assumed even greater importance. Given the changed threat and the reality of less money, defense policy makers face significant decisions concerning many issues—roles, missions, force structure, and procurement, to name but a few.

    This book is about one of those issues: the future shape of the reserve components of the United...

  6. 2. THE EVOLUTION OF THREE ARMIES
    (pp. 26-49)

    HOW has our nation, with an army that is the most technologically advanced in the world and that has developed the world’s most innovative warfighting doctrine, managed to end up with such a cumbersome reserve system? The answer is simple: history and politics. Tradition and politics are the bedrock of the components. Without an understanding of these factors, we cannot see beyond the tip of the iceberg.

    A historical sketch of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve illuminates several interesting points for today’s analysts, planners, and would-be reformers. Many recent “innovations” and “revolutionary ideas” are not really new....

  7. 3. SYSTEMIC DISCONNECTS IN THE TOTAL ARMY CIRCUIT
    (pp. 50-67)

    THE Army’s mission is to provide combat-ready units to the unified and specified commands.¹ Under the Total Force Policy, many of these Army units will be from the reserve components. Thus, because they must deploy quickly, many reserve units must be as ready in peacetime as active units. Although the Soviet threat has faded, the Army’s reliance on the reserve components likely will increase as the active component shrinks, especially the reserves, in light of increasing fiscal constraints, assume even more missions now performed by the active Army. The effect the three-army system on the Army’s ability to provide those...

  8. 4. GEOGRAPHY, TIME, AND OTHER READINESS DETRACTORS
    (pp. 68-87)

    THE reserves’ problems run deeper than organization and structure. Indeed, many of the impediments to reserve readiness be traced back two centuries.

    The first colonists brought the citizen-soldier concept with them to America from England in the seventeenth century. A feature of the citizen-soldier force in colonial times was its geographic organization, a throwback to feudal England. This characteristic continues to pervade the reserve components today, and geography is a major impediment to reserve unit training, key ingredient of readiness.

    Most reserve component units are located significant distances from suitable collective training areas. On the average, reserve unit must travel...

  9. 5. LESSONS LEARNED FROM DESERT STORM
    (pp. 88-103)

    OPERATION Desert Storm was the first—and only—true test of the Total Force Policy; never before have the reserve components been mobilized on such a scale and thrust into action so quickly. The reserves played a key role in Desert Storm, and the operation proved that some facets of the Total Force Policy worked well. Other facets, however, did not work at all. Because Desert Storm was both short and unique, we must not be lulled into a false sense of security by the generally successful performance of the reserve component support units and personnel who were deployed to...

  10. 6. REALIZING THE POTENTIAL OF THE RESERVE COMPONENTS
    (pp. 104-135)

    HISTORY and politics maintain a stranglehold on the Army’s reserve components, impairing their ability to function effectively as integral parts of the Total Army. Notwithstanding the rhetoric of the Total Force Policy, the active and reserve components not mesh; rather, according to a former chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, there exists a wall between the active component and the reserve components.¹ This wall inhibits the readiness the reserves, a situation that, according to Binkin and Kaufmann, “would be less worrisome if many reserve units were not counted on as equivalents of active-duty units, to be deployed early in a...

  11. 7. THROUGH THE POLITICAL MINEFIELD
    (pp. 136-146)

    HISTORY and politics are the roots of virtually everything that is wrong with our reserve system. They are also formidable obstacles in the path of true reform. In the words of a former White House staffer, “These citizen soldiers are so solidly entrenched politically that no one in Washington dares challenge them frontally.”¹ When we had a 780,000-member active Army, such challenge was unnecessary. Cutting that force to 535,000 sounds a call to arms.

    Historically, the reserves have vehemently opposed any change that would diminish their status within the military community. The National Guard in particular has adamantly stood on...

  12. APPENDIX
    (pp. 147-158)
  13. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 159-162)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 163-174)
  15. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 175-180)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 181-186)