Demystifying the Citizen Soldier
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
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In his General Ronald R. Fogleman Award-winning essay, Air National Guard Colonel MarkMeyer claimed, With a strong National Guard and its membership of citizen soldiers, nationalsecurity policy will remain consistent with the will of the people-the ultimate requirement ofour democracy. For Meyer and others, the Guards importance to American society runs fardeeper than the missions it conducts or the money it saves the U.S. Department of Defense.These advocates argue that the Guard historically has served as the linchpin for Americannational security, prevented the United States from fighting controversial foreign wars, and-most important of all-embodied the ideals of citizen soldier. While most of todays debateabout the active-reserve component mix rightly focuses on cost or utility, these historical andsociological claims also need to be critically evaluated.This analysis, conducted in RAND Project AIR FORCEs Strategy and Doctrine Program,evaluates these claims and examines the Guards centrality to American national security ability to prevent the United States from fighting controversial foreign wars embodiment of the ideals of the citizen soldier.