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What's in Reserve?

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General Powells words, taken from the forward to the 1992 National Military Strategy of the United States, frames a critical debate that is ongoing. The crux of this politically sensitive issue is how to apportion the nations military forces between the active and reserve components. The resultant mix of forces must be able to answer the nations security needs while being responsive to the fiscal realities of present budget limitations. What is clear to all is that the world is rapidly changing. The Warsaw Pact which once so clearly defined our military strategy is no longer a threat and large ground and air forces that were projected to fight a land war in Europe are no longer needed. Yet recent events in the Gulf War have shown that the need for a technology based, highly trained, professional armed force still exists. The challenge is to shape that force against an unknown foe while we cash in the peace dividend and reduce our defense budgets. This paper will examine our reserve structure citing the Gulf War successes and failures of reserve mobilization to examine some basic problems that exist in our present system. These problems as identified in several major studies will be analyzed and a proposal for restructuring our reserve system will be offered. The focus of this approach is the realistic expectation of limited training and achieving a total force that will be ready when called.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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