'Old Army' 1898-1941: A Blueprint for the Future?   [open pdf - 548KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The U.S. Army faces a challenge of maintaining a force able to meet global commitments and in an era of shrinking budgets when no immediate peer competitor justifies a large standing army. Additionally, the focus of military strategy has shifted to the Pacific. This is not a new situation. The Army faced a similar dilemma during the period of 1898 to 1941. During this time the Army had to maintain a continuous presence in the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Panama Canal Zone while simultaneously mobilizing for World War I, deploying expeditions to China, Russia, and Siberia, fighting a border skirmish against Mexican bandits, conducting peace keeping operations in Cuba and maintaining stateside garrisons. In a country traditionally wary of maintaining a large standing Army, and with no direct threat to justify having one, this required the Army of the period to have several characteristics: It had to be relatively small, but able to expand rapidly through the use of reserves; it had to be highly selective, professional and well trained to accomplish much with a small force, as well as provide a skilled cadre for mobilization; finally, it had to rely on native soldiers overseas to expand its capabilities and to augment its forces. These same characteristics and competencies may serve as an effective blueprint for guiding current reform initiatives as the Army transitions to meet contemporary security challenges."

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