Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1986



Since 1981, the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army have designated an annual central theme as a means of focusing attention on those things that are important and necessary to the Army. For 1986 the theme was Values-the fundamental values of the military profession. Most basic among these, the Secretary and the Chief of Staff pointed out, are loyalty, duty, selfless service, and integrity. Beneath these overarching values, they observed, our soldierly and ethical standards and qualities-commitment, competence, candor, and courage-are nurtured and given opportunity for growth. Such nurturing and growth must take place in peacetime because war does not allow time for such processes.

This emphasis on basic values came at a time when the quality of the men and women serving in the Army was extraordinarily excellent. As the Army's leaders contemplated their responsibility to ensure the most thorough possible preparation for any future war or other contingency, they could take satisfaction in knowing that the ideals they championed would reach an audience that was potentially highly receptive. How to maintain that excellence and that level of receptivity was a primary concern as the Army began the year.

Increased recruiting resources and expertise, enlistment bonuses, the new G.I. bill, the new Army College Fund, and "quality-of-life" programs provide incentives that help attract and keep the soldiers that the Army must have. Actions to improve recruiting facilities and lease new ones where needed also contribute to recruiting successes. But erosion of benefits or programs, and changes in demographics, could hamper future recruiting efforts. Therefore, the Chief of Staff at the beginning of fiscal year 1986 stressed the desirability of continuing these programs that aid in attracting and keeping highly qualified people.

Expanding on this point, the Vice Chief of Staff emphasized the importance of retaining noncommissioned officers whose


leadership skills and technical talents make them attractive to employers outside the Army. Should these soldiers leave the Army, increased pressure would be brought to bear on the recruiting market at a time when the national economy is improving and the available pool of 17- to 21-year-olds is decreasing. Therefore, the Vice Chief stated, the Army must pay NCOs competitive wages, reimburse them properly for the moves that the government orders them and their families to make, and provide them with appropriate living and working conditions. These desiderata, he observed, apply equally to young officers.

Within the NCO corps, imbalances in military occupational specialties and pay grades have presented a problem that the Army attacked in earnest in fiscal year 1985. The objective of the corrective program was to reduce to the lowest practicable levels, by the end of 1986, the 29,000 overages and shortages in grades E-5 to E-9 that existed at the beginning of 1985.

In 1986 the Army continued to select outstanding NCOs from all military occupational specialties for formal training at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. Graduates were detailed for single tour assignments as equal opportunity advisers, generally at brigade level. In these positions they could keep track of promotion, punishment, awards, discharge, reenlistment, and indiscipline rates, and thereby help commanders monitor considerations of race and gender. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel cautioned that although the equal opportunity environment remained positive throughout the Army at the start of the year, leaders at all levels must continue to maintain active programs. He noted:

There are many who might argue that the necessity for equal opportunity efforts in the Army is history. Each year, however, the Army recruits about 140,000 new soldiers, all with biases and prejudices. The focus of an equal opportunity catalyst must include these new accessions to shape a positive climate today and for our future Army.

The Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel also discussed, as an integral element of recruitment and retention, the general objective of fostering wholesome families and communities. He projected, for 1986, the introduction of new programs for financial planning assistance and quarters-based child care, and expansion of existing programs, such as child care center construction and child development. He also announced that a program to alleviate financial hardships incurred in permanent change of station moves would be given high priority. This program would provide increases in household goods weight


allowances, travel allowances for dependents of junior enlisted soldiers in the continental United States (CONUS), mileage allowances for dependents under two years of age, and temporary lodging in CONUS. Finally, he stressed accident prevention as a command responsibility, observing that while all accidents are not preventable, an accident-free record is the only acceptable goal for Army leaders at any level.

Amplification of this emphasis on recruitment and retention programs came from the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, who at year's beginning counted among his most important objectives the provision of high quality services to soldiers and their families. He predicted that operational changes in the commissary system would bring continued improvements in levels of service.

Retention in a peacetime army is not a function solely of material considerations. A sense of pride and belonging in the unit is essential in creating an atmosphere conducive to retaining good soldiers. The Chief of Staff expressed his belief that the Army's unit manning system, consisting of the COHORT (cohesion, operational readiness, and training) unit movement system and the regimental system, when fully implemented, would foster such a sense of pride and belonging and produce cohesive, well-bonded, and stable units.

Over the past few years, declining rates of drug abuse have contributed to unit stability. Encouraged by this trend and desirous of maintaining it, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel at the start of the fiscal year exhorted commanders to constantly enforce Army policy on drug abuse and to pursue an aggressive urinalysis program. He also stated his determination to see alcohol deglamorized and to have leaders shape a climate in which alcohol abuse and resulting misconduct would not be tolerated. Further, he cautioned that enrollment in rehabilitation programs should not carry a stigma for problem drinkers, and he urged that those recovering under such programs be totally integrated into units by being returned to jobs for which they are trained.

The Chief of Staff, mindful that the Army also depends on its civilian work force for essential functions, noted that the Army faces challenges in recruiting, retaining, and motivating an increasingly professional work force, and in ensuring adequate support of civilian personnel. He set as a goal the stabilization of civilian strength at slightly above 400,000 through the substitution of capital for labor and the development of the best possible organizations.


Just as recruiting and retaining people of high quality is important, so too is providing them with the best possible training to prepare them to carry out their missions. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), noted that several years before the Army had

adopted operational art as a separate division of military studies, restoring the study of theater-level operations to doctrine after an absence of almost 30 years. By installing the operational level of war between strategy and tactics, the Army acknowledged that the planning and conduct of campaigns and the linking of military means to political goals merited separate study. So far, this change has stimulated thought and study at Ft. Leavenworth schools and has provoked some discussion in military journals, but the operational level of war has yet to receive critical attention in the forces in the field.

He went on to say that only a deliberate and effective training effort would alter this situation in the field, since neither the Army's senior leaders nor middle-grade officers possessed training or experience in the operational level of war. Over the years, joint training programs, vastly overshadowed by tactical subjects, had slipped almost out of existence. The Army, therefore, would have to recover a lot of ground before it could convert the tenets of the AirLand Battle doctrine of maneuver warfare into a real operational capability. The TRADOC commander declared that efforts under way at the Command and General Staff College and the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth would do much to correct the deficiency by training and educating officers in the operational level of war. These efforts, he stated, would be reinforced by the publication in the fall of 1985 of a revised edition of Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, which would more precisely describe the nature of the operational art, place it in its proper relationship to tactics, and provide considerations for defensive and offensive campaign planning. He also expected the publication at about the same time as the manual for corps operations and the operations of echelons above corps.

More effective training in the execution of AirLand Battle doctrine, the TRADOC commander predicted, would come as the Army made the transition from the current family of manual training simulations to computer-driven simulations. He forecast the increased use of these aids by commanders and battle staffs from battalion through corps. Device-based training, he expected, would continue to grow as an effective alternative to training with major hardware in the field.


Well-trained troops cannot be effective on the modern battlefield without the proper equipment. The Chief of Staff expressed the Army's clear understanding of this truth when he stated at the beginning of the fiscal year that "providing the American soldier with better equipment than his enemy is the Army's goal." His confidence that this goal was being met was implicit in his observation that "superb systems like the M1 Abrams tank, the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle, the multiple-launch rocket system . . . and the Black Hawk helicopter are being fielded with great success despite some growing pains with quality assurance."

At about the same time, the Vice Chief of Staff cautioned that the pace of modernization of close-combat equipment could and should be accelerated. He also emphasized that it is essential to bring in rapidly the deep-attack weapons systems that are an integral part of AirLand Battle doctrine. Even in the face of restrictions imposed by limited funds, he urged that the Army "look ahead to provide the equipment necessary to realize the full promise of AirLand Battle doctrine." A major result of this realization, he observed, would be a raising of the nuclear threshold.

As the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans noted, modernization was continuing as rapidly as funding and production schedules permitted. In his sober appraisal,

More than the other services, the Army's weapons and equipment replacement processes were hindered by the economic requirements of the Vietnam war. We are only now embarked on our first real wave of extensive force modernization; but, with the recent reductions in budget authority, we may be forced to stretch out programs, to slow our efforts markedly and, perhaps, even to eliminate important development and acquisition initiatives.

On a more positive note, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans corrected an erroneous view of the equipment readiness of Army units. In the period 1980-85, equipment-on-hand ratings often showed a decline, even though the Army was fielding new materiel. This anomaly, the Deputy Chief of Staff explained, came about because changes in authorization documents had preceded equipment deliveries in units scheduled for modernization. Unit status reports, which indicate what percentage of its authorized equipment a unit has on hand, therefore had implied that units were not ready for combat, even though they actually still possessed their full authorization of older equipment. The Deputy Chief of Staff reported that the Army is working toward the elimination of


such distortions through improved synchronization of equipment fielding and documentation changes. He also pointed out that the unit status report is not designed to reflect improvements in fighting ability; a battalion equipped with new M1 tanks will report the same unit status as one equipped with older M60 tanks, despite the greater fighting capability of the modernized battalion. As a corrective, the Army has developed a system called "measuring improved capability of Army forces," which shows that the Army's divisional fighting capability increased by 18 percent in the five years ending with fiscal 1985. The Deputy Chief of Staff projected an increase of 55 percent by fiscal year 1988, assuming congressional support of the fiscal 1986 budget and a two-year funded delivery period.

Fighting capability is of the utmost importance at a time when a rough parity with the Soviet Union at a strategic nuclear level has increasingly shifted the burden of deterrence toward conventional forces. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans stressed the need for forces in being that are capable of rapid response to the signals of aggression. These forces must be able to react during the critical pre-conflict stage or to arrive in threatened regions in sufficient time to gain a tactical edge for following forces. In the succinct expression of the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army, "Readiness is our number one mission."

Readiness obviously includes preparation not only for the early stages of conflict, but also for large-scale conventional war. For that reason the Secretary and the Chief of Staff, in the Army's posture statement for fiscal 1986, emphasized continued support for improvements in full-time reserve component manning and other aspects of reserve component readiness. With a mandated end-strength of 780,800 for the active component, the need for increased reliance on the reserve components is patent.

Writing at the start of the fiscal year, the Chief of Staff showed his concern with another crucial aspect of readiness-strategic sealift. He stated the Army's need to support programs that respond to the decline of the Merchant Marine fleet and to industry containerization trends that move away from more militarily useful breakbulk cargo sealift programs. The Army, he noted, is supporting the Navy's programmed increases to the Ready Reserve Force (part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet) and programs to allow modification of container ships to meet unit equipment movement require-


ments. To complement increased Navy sealift while holding the line on personnel strength, the Army has programmed increases in its ability to participate in joint logistics-over-the-shore operations-in other words, to better unload equipment from ships in areas with austere or nonexistent port facilities.

Once in the area of operations, troops must be sustained, and the nation's ability to do that has long been an object of concern. The Secretary and the Chief of Staff, describing the Army's posture for fiscal 1986, judged that while significant gains have been made in our ability to sustain our fighting forces, much work remains. In the fall of 1985, the Chief of Staff pointed to the pre-positioning of materiel configured to unit sets (POMCUS) as an important area requiring more increases to improve readiness. Under POMCUS, the Army stores organizational equipment in company- and battalion-sized packages at locations near where conflict may occur. The Chief of Staff also commented on the state of the Army's physical plant, which would be a vital element in the sustainment of forces in combat. Past underfunding for the maintenance of facilities has led to a massive backlog of work needed to maintain aging real property assets. Progress is being made, however, and the Chief of Staff hopes to be able to continue to partially offset growing annual maintenance requirements while reducing the maintenance backlog to a manageable level.

Another aspect of sustainment extends into the force structure because the Army places heavy reliance on the reserve components to perform vital combat service support functions in time of conflict. Maintenance is an especially significant area in this regard. Over 70 percent of the Army's nondivisional maintenance companies are assigned to the reserve components. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics stated that the Army must ensure that the reserve component maintenance force is equipped with the tools and test equipment necessary to maintain newly fielded equipment for the active and reserve component units that they would be supporting in wartime. He focused on the Regional Maintenance Training Site program as one among several initiatives designed to provide qualified soldiers for combat service support units. This program brings together facilities, instructors, training devices, equipment, test sets, and special tools to support training at twenty-one proposed regional maintenance training sites geographically dispersed within the continental United States. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics projected that in 1986 the Army would establish


maintenance training sites at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Production of equipment is also a matter of great concern to those charged with responsibilities related to sustainment of the forces in time of combat. Plans for mobilization of the manufacturing capacity of U.S. industry involve billions of dollars; but as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Acquisition noted at the start of the year, these plans have not been well supported in the past. He declared the Army's intention to focus on this issue in the future, but he added that it would have to be done within the constraints of a limited budget.

What forces might need to be sustained, and where, are questions that the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans addressed when he stated that "the ability to respond across the spectrum of conflict, on varied terrains and in differing environments, requires a total force posture that is flexible, effective and balanced." For the Chief of Staff, there is an "important challenge" in achieving the optimum balance between heavy and light forces, the active and reserve components, combat and support forces, and forward-deployed and U.S.-based forces. And all this must be done while modernizing the force structure.

To achieve this balance, the Army has embarked on an evolutionary process involving both the active and the reserve components. As related by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, the midterm goal is a 28-division land force that will provide strategic flexibility, broad utility, and joint fighting capability. In addition to several initiatives already in train involving the 7th Infantry Division (Light), the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), a third Ranger battalion and a Ranger regimental headquarters, and an expanded aviation structure, the Deputy Chief of Staff noted at year's beginning that programs were taking shape to activate the 6th and the 29th (an Army National Guard division) Infantry Divisions (Light) and to convert the 25th Infantry Division to the new design. He expected the light infantry division structuring process to conclude by 1989, as the challenges of building facilities for stationing the new units are overcome.

In addition, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans cited the redesigning of the 82d Airborne, 101st Airborne (Air Assault), and 2d Infantry Divisions, and the 9th Infantry Division (Motorized). Also, he noted that the Army was continuing to streamline the "Division 86" design, with all


fourteen heavy divisions being so modified. Most of the space savings from these modifications are being applied to improving corps fighting capabilities, in line with the renewed emphasis on the operational level of war.

The Chief of Staff pointed to the Army's success in increasing the number of active Army combat battalions while maintaining a constant, active duty military strength. Manpower to form these battalions has been freed through internal restructuring efforts, along with unit productivity improvements, civilian substitution, and increased reliance on host-nation support and the reserve components. More new battalions will be formed in the future, the Chief of Staff promised.

A challenge articulated by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans is the need, on the one hand, to increase opportunities for leaders at all levels to receive full-time schooling and specialized training commensurate with new doctrine and equipment, while on the other hand continuing to man active component units at an appropriate level of strength. "Within a necessarily constrained end strength," the Deputy Chief of Staff observed, "we face some difficult compromises in balancing professional development requirements with the need to keep adequate numbers of leaders in our units." Speaking in general of force balancing and modernization, he declared that "we will proceed on our current course, perhaps at a slower rate, but with the eventual realization of our major objective-a modern, quality Total Force, designed and equipped to perform its mission."

In line with this aim, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at the start of the fiscal year declared his intention to continue a review of the structure of logistical units. The aim is to make these units less manpower intensive and more equipment intensive, with a focus on commercial equipment. He also discussed a civilian logistics manpower study, under way, which is to identify potentially significant improvements in productivity as well as areas for potential savings in civilian manpower.

Saving manpower and money was also a result sought in the pooling of resources stemming from an Army-Air Force memorandum of agreement signed in May 1984. That agreement established thirty-one initiatives (several more were added later), of which fifteen had been implemented by the end of fiscal year 1985; the remainder were to be completed in 1986.

An important Army management initiative was inaugurated with the appointment in fiscal year 1985 of a Competition Ad-


vocate General, whose function is to reduce obstacles to the competitive acquisition of high quality goods and services. As enunciated by the Chief of Staff, the Army sought to achieve the following goals through the Competition Advocate General and a variety of other means of managing the research, development, and acquisition process: better planning, improved management information systems, greater use of multiyear contracting, improved risk analysis, and better quality assurance management.

The Army Materiel Command is overhauling the way the Army develops and buys weapons, improving quality and accelerating the equipment development and fielding cycles. As stated by the Chief of Staff, the goal is to limit development to four years (two years for product improvement) and to test technology in the field with troops in order to identify and hasten the development of promising concepts. The Chief of Staff also declared that the Army must increase its use of state-of-the-art, commercial items produced in existing commercial facilities.

By the summer of 1986, the Army expected to establish at the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, its first network of supercomputers. This increase in computer power promised to give the Army Materiel Command's designers their first opportunity to analyze complete weapons systems-an analysis that the Chief of Staff predicted would ultimately reduce development and life cycle system costs, shorten development time, conserve scarce materials, and provide optimum weapons systems performance.

The Chief of Staff enumerated several other series of management challenges that the Army faces in equipment modernization and integration. First, the successful integration of new equipment and the transfer or rehabilitation of displaced equipment will require the application of a variety of management skills. (In a related matter, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics expected property disposal operations to improve further in 1986, when all policies on materiel returns and excess management issues were to be consolidated into a single publication.) Second, to prepare for the 1990s and beyond, the Army must place greater emphasis on "leverage" technologies that offer the potential for innovative, revolutionary change in military systems. Third, the Army is committed to exploring all opportunities to save weight, reduce cost, and improve performance through the use of advanced materials in Army equipment.


In resource management, the Chief of Staff stated, Army commanders must use innovative approaches to meet the challenges associated with fixed active military and civilian strengths and limited funds. He cited as an example a new concept of financing the construction of facilities to support the stationing of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. The Army's objective here is to gain high quality facilities more quickly at the least cost through increased state and local government participation and through private sector involvement in raising and operating a division post.

One of the most crucial fields in Army management is that involving information; thus the Chief of Staff in 1984 created the information mission area, which encompasses all major areas of Army information: strategic, tactical, and sustaining base. The Army's goal, as stated by the Assistant Chief of Staff for Information Management, is to deemphasize these three areas' boundaries by creating a single, comprehensive, fully integrated Army information architecture-to have one completely interoperable information base. This base is to include various computer systems for information processing, the communication links to interconnect information flow at all echelons, and the standardization essential for common language and functional support. In an era of rapidly expanding information technology, the Assistant Chief of Staff observed, the Army seeks to maintain technological currency, avoid obsolescence, and provide a method for incorporating improved technology into existing systems without disrupting information support to the Army in peacetime, during transition to war, or in wartime. The information management program designed to achieve this goal, he noted, is in place; the challenge is to ensure its smooth execution.



Go to:

Next Chapter

Return to Table of Contents

Search CMH Online
Last updated 17 November 2003