Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1987



Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh, Jr., and Army Chief of Staff General John A. Wickham, Jr., announced in mid January 1987 that the Army's theme in 1987 would be the Constitution of the United States:

Those of us in the Total Army who take an oath of service have sworn to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." By doing so, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the framers of the Constitution who mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. We do this freely because it is the Constitution which gives the Army its very purpose for being. It is the Constitution which guarantees all citizens the rights and obligations which are the essence of being an American. And it is the Constitution that our Comrades have, in other times and in other places, sacrificed to preserve.

The history of the Army is intertwined with the history of our Constitution. Before our young nation could even be in a position to draft a constitution, her freedom had to be won. It was won with the courage and blood of the first American soldiers. Once our liberty was secured, these same soldiers became the citizens upon whose commitment and hard work a great nation would be built.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. Our entire nation will be celebrating the Bicentennial as we focus on stimulating an appreciation and understanding of our national heritage. We urge each of you to become a better citizen by reading the Constitution and by finding ways to rededicate yourselves, your families, and your fellow professionals to the spirit of that document.

The Constitution was the seventh in a series of annual themes initiated in 1981 by Secretary Marsh to focus attention on issues of vital concern to the Army. A winning spirit, physical fitness, excellence, families, leadership, and values-each of these in turn has been featured as an essential subject for emphasis. Continuing programs and policies developed around each theme have sought to promote the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of the Army, improving its ability to carry out its missions and responsibilities around the world.

Besides emphasizing the individual soldier's as well as the Army's institutional responsibility to support the Constitution of the United States, this year's theme activities stressed the oath of service, the relationship between each soldier or Army civilian and


the Constitution, the close tie between theme activities and official observance of the Bicentennial of the Constitution, and the involvement of the entire Army family in the theme. These activities included incorporating instruction on the Constitution in Army school curricula; publishing articles on the Constitution in journals, newspapers, and newsletters; reaffirming enlistment, commissioning, and government service oaths; promoting the links between the Constitution, the professional Army ethic, and individual values; and supporting state and local Bicentennial events. The U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH), in support of the theme, published Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution, a work containing a five-chapter treatise on the Constitution and biographical essays on each of the twenty-three Army veterans of the Revolutionary War who represented their states at the Constitutional Convention.

Throughout Fiscal Year (FY) 1987, the Army continued to emphasize the Total Army concept, improving all aspects of its many and varied components. Major objectives for the year were to recruit and retain soldiers of high quality in the Active Army, the Army National Guard (ARNG), and the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR); to field balanced, flexible, properly sustained, and modern forces trained to fight across the entire spectrum of conflict; to improve joint and combined efforts among the military services and between U.S. and allied forces; to increase combat capability through the conversion of low priority support forces into combat forces while maintaining stabilized, authorized strength levels; and to exercise strong steward ship over the Army's human and materiel resources.

In 1987 Army leadership continued a management modernization effort, charted in 1986 by the Army Chief of Staff in support of the Total Army concept. This initiative was called the Civilian Personnel Modernization Project (CPMP) and was given the broad mission to "define a civilian personnel system which optimally supports the Army mission and develop a transition plan to achieve that system."

The major thrust of the CPMP included strengthening civilian leadership; empowering leaders with authority commensurate with their responsibility; providing their with the required knowledge of Civilian Personnel Management (CPM) and holding them fully accountable; and ensuring that Army leaders are supported by responsive, understandable personnel systems.

In April 1987 the CPMP published its report documenting the wide range of information required to form a model CPM system and institute a transition plan for achieving an ideal system. The Army worked toward modernizing its CPM system during the year.


Organizational matters loomed large in FY 1987, as the Army, its sister services, and the Department of Defense (DOD) acted to comply with provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. This legislation, which became law on 30 September 1986, mandated significant changes in the nation's joint military command structure. The act planned to correct command and control problems encountered in the Iranian hostage rescue attempt in 1980; the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon; and the 1983 U.S. military intervention in Grenada. In addition to expanding the authority of the chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders-in-chief of the unified and specified commands, the law created a joint specialty for officers who will fill all critical joint billets and who will occupy at least one-half of all joint-duty positions.

The 1986 DOD Reorganization Act also required the military departments to consolidate certain administrative functions performed by the staffs of military chiefs and civilian secretaries and to reduce the military and civilian strengths of department and major field command headquarters by 10 to 15 percent. In complying with these requirements, the Army on 4 March 1987 announced that headquarters would undergo a "sweeping" reorganization. Army Chief of Staff Wickham described this reorganization as "the largest since the end of World War II."

As a result of the reorganization, Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA), declined by 15 percent, from 3,563 positions to 3,105, representing a loss of 458 positions. Of the two HQDA components, the Army Staff was greatly reduced while the Army Secretariat actually grew, increasing from 11 percent of the total HQDA strength to approximately 30 percent. This reallocation reflected the movement of several key procurement and budgetary functions from the Al my Staff to the Secretariat.

Programs developed and fine-tuned over the last several years to attract and retain highly qualified young men and women successfully enabled the Army to meet its overall manpower goals. At the end of the fiscal year, strength levels stood at 780,815 in the Active Army; 790,400 in the Selected Reserve (462,800 guardsmen and 327,600 reservists); and 336,127 in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The policy of transferring to the IRR those personnel leaving the Active Army and the Selected Reserve with time remaining on their Military Service Obligation (MSO) continued to improve IRR capabilities, as did the program granting reenlistment bonuses to IRR members. Beginning in FY 1990, there will be substantial increases in IRR strength due to congressional action extending the


MSO from six to eight years. The favorable results obtained from the new G.I. bill, a key element in the Army's plan to use educational incentives and bonuses to boost enlistments, prompted Congress to make the law permanent in May 1987. (Without congressional action the bill's education benefits would have expired on 30 June 1988, upon completion of a three-year test.)

A major Army concern during the fiscal year was the reduction of commissioned and warrant officer strength mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1987 without causing undue loss in readiness and combat capabilities. The act called for a 6 percent reduction over a three year period throughout DOD-1 percent in FY 1987, an additional 2 percent in FY 1988, and a final 3 percent in FY 1989. Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger directed the Army to bear a larger part of the 1987 cuts than its proportionate share-1.5 percent, for a total of 1,575 officers. To implement these reductions, the Army is adopting more rigorous screening methods to retain a smaller officer corps of exceptional quality, while infusing the Selected Reserve with additional skilled and experienced officers. Army plans included rescheduling known officer losses from FY 1988 into FY 1987 through an early retirement plan and slightly reduced officer accessions.

The first significant reductions since the end of the Vietnam era in total officer end strength were implemented in FY 1987. From end FY 1986 to end FY 1987 actual officer strength was reduced from 109,757 to 107,964 (-1,793 or 1.6 percent). The reduction was accomplished through a variety of programs to include the following:

1. Early release of captains twice nonselected for promotion (i.e., rescheduling of promotion boards).
2. Early release of first lieutenants twice nonselected for promotion (i.e., early approval of board results).
3. Selective early retirement of Veterinary Corps and Medical Service Corps officers.
4. Reduced accessions (below sustainment level).
5. Other adjustments (deny Conditional, Voluntary, Indefinite status, reduced special branch accessions).

Closely related to the congressionally imposed officer reduction were the Army's ongoing efforts to correct its chronic shortage of available officers needed to fill authorized positions in its staffs and units. The imbalance was particularly severe in the warrant officer structure. As a panacea, the Army Staff and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) identified 10,000 officer and


4,000 warrant officer positions for possible elimination, enlisted conversion, or conversion to civilian positions. In May 1987 General Wickham began the process of determining how many of these positions to eliminate or convert. He announced that 1,071 commissioned officer spaces and 2,010 warrant officer spaces would be cut from FY 1989 manning documents and that eight warrant officer specialties would be dropped. At fiscal year's end, however, final decisions on elimination and conversion had not been reached.

During the year Army training activities continued to emphasize the use of technologically advanced training devices and simulators in an integrated training strategy that also relied on maneuvers, live fire exercises, and other traditional methods of preparing soldiers and units for combat. TOW (tube launched, optically tracked, wire command-link guided) and Dragon missile simulators were fielded to the reserve components, with the Active Army scheduled to receive them in FY 1989. In National Guard armories throughout the United States, installation of Guard Fist I began a training program to improve tank gunnery skills used in conjunction with the Mobile Conduct of Fire Trainer. Fielding of the Tank Weapons Gunnery Simulation System (TWGSS) continued, as did expansion of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) to all components of combined arms training. The Army also moved forward with development of the Electronic Information Delivery System (EIDS) to provide complex, real-time, video-simulation testing at a fraction of the cost of more expensive graphic simulators.

Other Army training initiatives taken during the year focused on improving the structure and curricula of Army schools, implementing a vigorous field training and command post exercise program in cooperation with other U.S. And allied forces, expanding the Advanced Collective Training Facilities program to cover low and mid-intensity conflicts, and establishing more stringent physical training and fitness standards. Major milestones included the successful completion of Operation KEEN EDGE, the first combined air, sea, and ground exercise involving U.S. And Japanese self-defense forces; the opening of the Chemical Decontamination and Training Facility at Fort McClellan, Alabama, in March 1987; and the participation of a U.S. counterterrorism unit, with its British and West German counterparts, in a combined exercise designed to promote the possibility of multinational responses to future terrorist acts.

In the area of force structure, the Army continued to mold its heavy, light, special operations, and support units into the optimum balance required to execute AirLand Battle doctrine in Europe; to meet contingencies along a broad spectrum of potential conflicts in


other parts of the world; and to employ the technologically advanced weapon and support systems resulting from current modernization programs. In the Active Army, armored and mechanized heavy divisions continued their conversion and the organization of two new divisions, the 6th Infantry Division and the 10th Mountain Division, proceeded according to plan. The 82d Airborne Division began conversion to a lighter, more modern design, and the 25th Infantry Division completed conversion to a light infantry design. The Army pursued the support structure reorganization and transferred additional nondivisional support missions to the ARNG and the USAR in 1987. Among the units transferred were a combat support hospital, two ambulance companies, a medical clearing company, two personnel and administration battalion headquarters detachments, and a single cable company.

Emphasis on Special Operations Forces (SOF) continued in 1987. The Army formed a new SOF aviation brigade, established a Special Forces branch, and made plans to organize several more SOF units in FY 1988. At a higher level, Congress mandated the creation of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a new unified command that would include special operations forces of the armed forces. Congress also provided for the establishment of the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.

While Active Army strength remained stable, an increase of almost 30,000 in Ready Reserve strength heightened the Army's reliance on reserve forces to meet wartime needs. As of September 1987, the Army force authorizations mixture, by percentage of combat function, was programmed as indicated in Table 1.



   Active Army    National Guard    Army Reserve    Total
Combat    49    44    7    100
Support    48    19    33    100


By percentage of function within each component:

  Active Army National Guard Army Reserve
Combat    52    71    19
Support    48    29    81
Total    100    100    100


Reserve component force structure changes carried out in FY 1987 supported the ongoing organization of a new ARNG light division, conversion of heavy divisions to new tables of organization and equipment (TOE), transfer of nondivisional support missions from the Active Army to the reserve components, and expansion of the round-out program. Programmed conversions during the year involved 12 reserve brigade or division headquarters, 22 infantry and armor battalions, 6 attack helicopter battalions, 6 maintenance battalions, and 6 combat support battalions.

The Army's request of $24.2 billion to fund procurement, research, development, testing, and evaluation activities for FY 1987 sufficed to improve near-term readiness and total force modernization, support near- and long-term research and development efforts, and sustain continued progress toward the goal of equipping the Total Army with the weapons and support systems it needs to maintain a qualitative edge over probable opponents. Although budgetary constraints continued to force the Army to slow its modernization efforts, it made significant progress toward long-range objectives. By the end of the fiscal year, for example, the Army expected to have fielded more than one-half of the combat systems initiated in the late 1970s. These included such advanced weapons as the Ml Abrams tank, the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle (BFV), the Stinger missile, the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, and the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

Details of the year's highlights described above, and other important events for the Army in FY 1987, are presented in the chapters that follow.



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Last updated 17 November 2003