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Citizen Warriors: America's National Guard and Reserve Forces and the Politics of National Security
     

Citizen Warriors: America's National Guard and Reserve Forces and the Politics of National Security

by Stephen M. Duncan, Duncan (Other)
 
Duncan initiates a provocative debate about the new and grossly misdirected responsibilities of America's National Guard and reserve forces--such as fighting crime in housing projects, supporting anti-drug operations, and aiding victims of national disasters--all important social tasks, but ones that dangerously undermine the combat readiness of all of the armed

Overview

Duncan initiates a provocative debate about the new and grossly misdirected responsibilities of America's National Guard and reserve forces--such as fighting crime in housing projects, supporting anti-drug operations, and aiding victims of national disasters--all important social tasks, but ones that dangerously undermine the combat readiness of all of the armed forces.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs under both Reagan and Bush, Duncan divides his deeply informed report into two sections. The first chronicles in great detail the process by which National Guard units were mobilized and deployed in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Duncan explains regular army antipathy to using reserve forces in combat situations, the congressional and public debate over the use of reserve troops and the step-by-step decision-making process that resulted in the mobilization of over 100,000 reservists to the Persian Gulf. Although most reserve units were trained in essential support services, a few units did engage in combat against Iraq, and Duncan provides examples of their fighting prowess. The book's latter half examines the development of the "Total Force" policy since the Vietnamese War, how reserves fit into this concept, defense budgets and their impact on reserve forces and the arguments for and against reserve units. The author concludes by listing 35 principles upon which future use of reserve forces should be based. He severely criticizes the Clinton administration for not developing a coherent foreign policy that clearly demarcates America's national interests. In like fashion, Duncan criticizes proposed plans to send reserve units to fight crime in housing projects, patrol our borders, aid in natural disasters and assist in other projects that, he claims, would undermine their combat readiness. Duncan makes his case cogently and with vigor, and his book deserves to be considered by every policymaker whose work impinges on our reserve military forces. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
An informative if somewhat self-serving brief for the various militias that augment America's professional soldiery during times of crisis, from a former Pentagon official who knows the territory at firsthand as a political minefield.

In making a persuasive case for greater and more effective use of so-called weekend warriors in brushfire or weightier conflicts, attorney Duncan (an Annapolis graduate and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War) draws on his experience as director of reserve affairs under three secretaries of defense during the eventful Reagan and Bush administrations. While recapitulating in considerable detail the yeoman service organized auxiliaries provided in combat as well as support during the Desert Storm campaign, he reviews the contributions National Guard and ready-reserve units have made to US war efforts throughout history, from the Revolution's Minutemen through those who were called to the colors in two global conflicts. The author goes on to suggest how part-time GIs could better complement active-duty personnel pursuant to the Total Force concept that now constitutes Department of Defense doctrine. Addressed as well are deferments in the wake of unexpected call- ups; recruitment, retention, and resource allocation during a postCold War era in which the all-volunteer military is being downsized; the hesitancy of civilian leaders to activate reservists at times of national peril or need; Washington's concurrent reluctance to demobilize standby units based in politically powerful constituencies; and a host of other touchy issues.

Not one to undervalue his own role in the debates of recent years, Duncan reprints a rather full measure of the memos and testimony he put on the record while helping make policy in office. This cavil apart, an enlightening introduction to an important aspect of America's security.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780891416098
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/18/1996
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.89(w) x 8.81(h) x 1.29(d)

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