Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1983
By the close of FY 83, the Army had made notable progress in achieving the goals General Meyer established for it at the beginning of the fiscal year when he stated that the Army was headed "toward a quality Army-well trained, disciplined and combat-ready." The Active Army succeeded in meeting both qualitative and quantitative recruitment and reenlistment goals due in large measure to the combination of bonuses and educational benefits available to enlistees, in addition to pay increases. For the first time in a decade, military pay approached a level of comparability with the private sector. Another step toward excellence was the deployment of COHORT companies overseas as unit replacements. Training had significantly improved in FY 83 and with it combat readiness. Both active and reserve components received realistic training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, and through a variety of programs-video disc, computer generated imagery, and laser systems that provided combat simulation. Selected officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, received an additional course in contingency planning and combined arms integration at the Combined Arms and Services Staff School (CAS3).
As part of its modernization program, the Army developed and fielded top quality weapons and support systems. Among the new weapons introduced in Europe this year were the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Black Hawk helicopter, and improved air defense systems, such as the Patriot, the Stinger, the Improved Hawk, the Chaparral, and the DIVAD gun. Several division units, which used new weapons, converted to new organizational structures. The Army implemented the Air-Land Battle, which exploits the potential inherent in modern weaponry, and thus advanced the development of tactical doctrine. It increased its fighting and sustaining power by activating new combat and combat support units, such as the 1st Special Operations Command and communications and intelligence units. Reserve units received first-line equipment in accordance with their assigned priority for deployment using a "first to fight, first-equipped" philosophy. Mobilization efforts resulted in mobilization master plans and installation support books for mobilization facilities. Negotiations continued for further expansion
of European host-nation support, which is essential to sustaining the combat capability of our land forces. Finally, active participation in a series of initiatives to reduce all but essential expenditures resulted in over $1.4 billion in efficiencies and economies during the FY 81-83 period with a $10.1 billion follow-on effect for the FY 84-89 period. The Army's commitment to excellence had produced striking and tangible improvements.
By the end of the fiscal year, the Army also was aware of its deficiencies and was mindful of the challenges to come. Shortfalls existed in its ability to mobilize quickly adequate manpower with specialized skills. Some Reserve Component forces had not met the desired standard of readiness, especially combat service support units. The strength level of the Individual Ready Reserve, although improving, remained unsatisfactory. Strategic lift was inadequate to deploy Army forces fast enough to meet the expected wartime needs. Pre-positioned unit sets of equipment likewise were not enough to accommodate follow-on forces. War reserve stocks to replace anticipated combat losses were too little. As were highly mobile, light infantry forces and special operations forces. Chemical deterrence was inadequate, chemical retaliatory capability was weak, and decontamination capability sufficient.
Despite its deficiencies, the Army had most of the ingredients it needed for an Army of Excellence. In fiscal year 1984, it will assimilate them and with congressional support tackle its shortfalls and continue to prepare and train itself for the task of defending the nation.
Last updated 9 March 2004