Reconstitution: Realistic Strategy or Shell Game?
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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In August 1990, at Aspen, Colorado, President George Bush, contrary to subsequent attacks hurled at him, sought to redefine our security needs within the context of a post-Cold War milieu. Invectives from his Democratic antagonists notwithstanding, President Bush not only appreciated the historic changes confronting our security environment, but, he clearly understood that the security strategy, and rationale for a military force needed to support that strategy, had altered irrevocably. The resulting strategy, stemming from that speech in Aspen, defined a world where the threat, while of less immediacy, was, in some ways, more dangerous because it was far more ambiguous and could no longer be justified by old Cold War paradigms. Consequently, our force changed from one that was forward deployed to one of reduced forward presence which would be reinforced by contingency forces during crisis response and further buttressed by an expansion of that force should mobilization of the Reserves and National Guard be required. The implications for a sizeable reduction in the active force was apparent. However, it was also apparent that we would need to retain a hedge against the birth of a new global threat. That hedge was provided in the fourth pillar of this new security strategy - - Reconstitution. The purpose of this paper is to explore the adequacy of this strategy element, take a look at some salient weaknesses, and propose some remedies that might lend some legitimacy to this pillar.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics