Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1982
Fiscal year 1982 witnessed the most comprehensive military modernization program undertaken since World War II. The program's magnitude, diversity, and degree of technological complexity had ramifications affecting both the military forces and American civilian society. Presidential commitment, public consensus, and congressional funding made possible this long overdue upgrading of U.S. military forces. With its share of the increased defense funding, the Army could plan and program the development of modern, well-equipped, adequately supported, and fully trained forces capable of meeting worldwide military contingencies. Although stating a quantitative need for additional divisions, the Army concentrated on the qualitative improvement of its personnel, equipment, training, and readiness. This policy included the goal of fully manning all field units with well-trained personnel equipped with high-quality, modern weapons and materiel.
The active Army exceeded both its qualitative and quantitative recruitment goals. The percentage of high school graduates among enlistees increased during the year. The Army also reached its recruitment objective three months before the close of fiscal year 1982, making it the best recruiting year since the draft ended in 1973. The Army was in the enviable position of being able to select the best people for recruitment and retention. Bonus incentives, generous educational benefits, and increased pay contributed to the attractiveness of Army service. The Army made a similar improvement in the retention of officers. In order to reduce personnel turbulence and to improve readiness, the Army also began to implement major elements of the New Manning System.
Budget and strength figures of the reserve forces surpassed those of fiscal year 1981. Greater incentives, flexible enlistment and training options, as well as aggressive efforts to enlist and keep high-quality personnel contributed to their success in recruitment and retention. The nation's depressed economic state along with increased international tensions that created a patriotic groundswell were favorable influences on reserve forces as well as on active Army enlistment and retention goals.
The Army made considerable progress in meeting the mate-
riel goal of a "Total Army equipped and sustained to win any land battle," which Secretary Marsh and General Meyer established in December 1981. Furthermore, the Army had numerous new weapons systems either in production or being fielded. Among the more important were the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the AH-64 and CH-47D helicopters, and the Patriot air defense missile system. Several previously distributed systems were now entering field units in quantity. Eventually, the Army will field more than 500 new systems.
Although fiscal year 1982 was a successful one for the Army, problems remained. Severe equipment shortages still existed and only a long-term investment in the modernization and production of Army materiel could alleviate these deficiencies. In addition to many units having shortages of authorized equipment, war reserve stocks were also insufficient for the Army's needs. Moreover, airlift and sealift capabilities were inadequate to transport Army forces to meet global requirements and commitments.
The reserve forces, even with improved equipment and manpower, still did not meet all requirements to fulfill Total Army commitments. In particular, the strength level of the pretrained individual manpower pool (Individual Ready Reserve, Inactive National Guard, Standby Reserve, and military retirees) remained unsatisfactorily low. A numerical imbalance also existed among the enlisted specialties of the reserve components, with a shortage of personnel in the combat arms, but a surplus in several noncombat specialties. Moreover, serious deficiencies in wartime equipment requirements remained unresolved.
The pressures of inflation, deficit spending, and increased public demand for reduced defense funding and for expanded expenditures for social programs probably will affect future Army budgets. Faced with these constraints, the Army nevertheless must plan and program for improved modernization, sustainment, readiness, and training in the future.
Last updated 24 May 2004