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Thread: The Challenge ofAdaptation: The US Army in the Aftermath of Conflict, 1953-2000.

  1. #1
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    DeRidder LA

    Default The Challenge of Adaptation: The US Army in the Aftermath of Conflict, 1953-2000.

    Latest history lesson based on another fine CSI product:

    The Challenge of Adaptation: The US Army in the Aftermath of Conflict, 1953-2000.

    "Within the institutional Army, there were clear trends away from “subtheater” operations in the 1970s. Army Special Forces were reduced from 13,000 men in 1971 to 3,000 men in 1974.26 Counterinsurgency was also waning as part of the Army’s curriculum in the 1970s. At CGSC there were still forty hours of instruction on counterinsurgency as late as 1977, but this fell to eight hours two years later.27 The War College had dropped internal defense and development to two weeks instruction by 1972, and further reductions scaled even this limited instruction back to a mere two days by 1975.28 All this helps explain why little seems to have come of Laird’s suggestion for reorganizing part of the force for “sub-theater” operations."

    Open and active disputes between an administration and a serving military chief of staff? Debate on roles, missions, and money? Do you train to the most dangerous threat or the most likely? Who defines those threats? If all of those questions sound familiar it's because they resonate with the issues of today.

    This BiWeekly History Lesson looks at Occasional Paper #27 The Challenge of Adaptation: The US Army in the Aftermath of Conflict, 1953-2000 by Robert T. Davis II of the Combat Studies Institute. Mr. Davis looks at US Army doctrinal and organizational changes in three post-war periods following Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War as represented by Desert Shield and Storm. Common wisdom holds that militaries always look at their most recent conflict in preparing for future wars. Mr. Davis documents that in these three periods of post-war assessment, the Army sought new approaches to warfare, rejecting the conflict just fought as a template for the next.

    Post Korea saw the US Army as a force oriented toward land power marginalized as the Eisenhower Presidency turned to massive retaliation wrought by air and sea as the dominant arms of military power. It was the brief period of the Army's Pentomic division and battle groups as strategic thought held land warfare irrelevant in the nuclear age.

    Post Vietnam as indicated in the introduction saw the leadership of the US Army turn its back on counterinsurgency and lesser conflicts. Changes in doctrine and strategy were transferred into changes in military organizations under the Total Army concept, which dictated taking the Army to war would require a total commitment of the force including the Army Reserve and the National Guard.

    Post Cold War ended the threat that stimulated the creation of the Total Army and Desert Storm validated its warfighting skills. Yet even before the ground operation began 100 hours of land combat, the Army faced the challenges brought on by the end of the Cold War. The nature of conflict changed as the war in the desert ended; it would take some time for the full extent of those changes to surface.

    The US Army is now engaged in active operations in two primary theaters with secondary operations in Africa and the Pacific. And although the operations are likely to continue for the next several years, the war of ideas concerning the future design and purpose of US military forces is already raging. This study will help you place those discussions in the proper context.

    Last edited by Tom Odom; 06-11-2008 at 06:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Thanks. More later.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.


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