Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1975
Progress was evident throughout the Army during the year. A sixteen-division, all-volunteer active ground force was fast becoming a reality. The affiliation program was forging a common bond among active, reserve, and guard units and improving the ability of the reserve components to perform their responsibilities in the event of mobilization. More efficient organization and better management helped to achieve savings that were reinvested to strengthen the Army's fighting potential. Gains were made in other areas—materiel acquisition, force planning, education and training, tactics and doctrine, and readiness.
There were problems also. Congressional concern over high personnel costs threatened a number of programs that had helped retain careerists and attract new people. The mismatch of job requirements and individuals trained in specific military occupational specialties continued. Obtaining new recruits for the reserve components became a cause of concern, with the replenishment of the Individual Ready Reserve in an all-volunteer environment becoming particularly vexing. High rates of inflation made it difficult to fund operations and maintain facilities, equipment, and weapons.
These were but a few of the problems that the Army faced at the end of fiscal year 1975—the beginning of a third century of service. In solving them and in meeting international commitments and the demands of national security, the Army has two hundred years of experience to draw upon. No doubt some of that experience was reflected in General Abram's final statement on the status of the Army, which was prepared for publication shortly before his death.
We are, at root, an Army of people, not of machines nor policies nor structures. We cannot substitute organizational efficiency for human concern; they are mutually supportive, not interchangeable. Organizational efficiency and effectiveness are necessary for the Army, but human concerns are vital.
A leaner, more capable organization can make it possible for people to do their part more easily or more efficiently, but no organizational arrangement can lessen the need for strong and compassionate leadership. More precisely tailored force structures
may enable people to contribute more effectively, but in no way can improved structures diminish or supplant the need for excellence in individual skills and abilities. Sound management policies can help soldiers to do the job, but in the end it is motivation, discipline, and morale that create the spirit that makes them want to do the job better.
Concern for functions and organizations is right and proper and can help us achieve a better Army, but we should not allow these managerial concerns to obscure the fundamental strength of the Army—the people who comprise it.
Last updated 21 September 2004